Jared and I got engaged in 2012 in Bergama, Turkey. After our trip we became friends with a cyclist from Bergama on Facebook. He told us that if we were ever in the area again we had a place to stay. We appreciated the gesture and assured him if we were ever there again we would look him up, we just didn’t think it would be two short years later.
The mans name was Erdal and has been following our adventures since 2012. Once he saw we were coming to Turkey, he immediately got in touch with Jared. We had planned to end this trip the way our last trip started and go back to Bergama.
We told Erdal of our plans and he did us one better than just a place to stay, he gave us his vacation home to use for a few days. It was in a small little sea side town called Dikili and a perfect place to relax for a few days. We got there after five days of cycling from Bursa and were ready for a few days off. We met Erdal and his wife, Gulay, at a real estate office close to the vacation home and he led us there. It was small but brand new and a nice place to relax. That night Gulay made us some amazing Turkish food for dinner and we had wonderful chats about their kids, traveling, cycling, and life.
After dinner Jared, Erdal, and Gulay went for an evening walk but I was half asleep by the time they left so I passed. But Jared enjoyed the time with them as they walked along the water front, had çay, bargained with fish sellers, and did a little shopping. The next morning Erdal and Gulay went for a morning swim while we relaxed. They returned and put on a full Turkish breakfast for us which included olives from their own personal olive grove. And Jared got his fill of those!
After breakfast we had Turkish coffee and Gulay showed us how to read the coffee grinds, something we had heard about but never experienced.
They left us that afternoon and instructed us to eat all the food we wanted and to treat the home like it was our own. We had two days to ourselves, something we hadn’t had since China. We spent the two days relaxing, napping, eating, swimming, and just enjoying our own time. We were once again amazed at the kindness of people, to cook us amazing food, treat us to breakfast, and then just give us their vacation home for the weekend, it was a wonderful way to spend our last weekend as cycle tourists.
On Sunday we packed up and headed for Bergama. Erdal was putting on a celebration for us with the local cycle groups at the place Jared proposed two and a half years ago. A great way to celebrate that anniversary and the end of our trip.