We departed our enchanted forest and enjoyed an amazingly flattish 40 km of stopping off at beaches for Lucy to dig holes and for me to stretch out in the sand. It was a hot day but I was wearing leggings under my skirt as I had been victim to the strong gusts of wind one too many times that morning. Better to melt than give cheap thrills I say.
I was in need of such a glorious and easy day of cycling and felt the rejuvenation of my hopes, dreams and inspirations. Reaching Antalya was a big deal for me. Many times when questioning whether I’d reach Hatay I admitted to myself I’d struggle to even make the 185 mile marker point, which was the coastal city of Antalya.
I had a huge smile plastered across my face certainly worthy of a place on the Glee show. The only thing happening around us at that point which was not consistent with our displays of joy was the queue of vehicles lined behind Lucy’s DoggyRide trailer. Traffic cones prohibited them the space to overtake us. I wasn’t caring in the slightest and kept on celebrating oblivious.
That night we pitched our tent in a field just outside the city. I was cooking Lucy’s chicken when the small gas burner caught fire to itself!
Lucky Lucy got her dinner. I was to go hungry. But of course, being a guest of Turkey, hungry was not an option. A farmer and his wife appeared by my tent to offer me back to their home for dinner. To be more precise the wife appeared by my tent. The farmer was 10 meters back with Lucy looking rather ferocious. Lucy will not allow any man to approach me, tent or bike when in a field. Perhaps it had been a farmer in a field who shot her.
All was well after my acceptance and apologies. My excitement was building as I entered their home whilst Lucy played with the farm dogs.
I was handed a towel and clean clothes and shown to the shower room. When the shampoo was being pointed out to me I did attempt explaining to the woman who spoke no English, that I didn’t want to wash my hair. That I was in the middle of an experiment for my blog to see when it starts cleaning itself. But there was absolutely no comprehension of what I was saying and I couldn’t think of any charades in this situation to help me out. So I gave up.
We enjoyed a feast of traditional Turkish food, after which I made many attempts to leave to go camp with Lucy. The family were having none of it and gave me and Lucy a room downstairs in an unused apartment to sleep in. Most people in Turkey believe it is not correct to bring a dog into the home and I respect this completely. When we went outside to fetch Lucy, the wife looked panicked that Lucy was gone. I wasn’t worried at all as I knew Lucy would be back in the field guarding her tent and bike.
Lucy is half Kangal and they are known to be the best guardians in the world for flocks of sheep. Kangals never leave the sheep they are protecting and fight off wolves. This is why their ears are cut short so the wolves cannot hang onto them. There was once a sudden and violent storm hitting a village in Turkey and the sheep were rounded into a shed for protection. The villagers noticed their Kangal was not there and knew immediately something was wrong because a Kangal never leaves its flock. They went out in search of the dog. They saw it lying in a field and at first they thought it was dead. But as they got closer they saw it breathing and its eyes wide open. Still it didn’t move. They had to lift the dog and underneath they found a new born baby lamb which the dog had been keeping warm and sheltering from the storm.
Lucy’s flock is myself, the tent and the bike and she protects us. It melts my heart. Sure enough there was Lucy lying beside my tent. She came running over with her tail doing helicopter circles causing me wonder whether she’d actually take off with her excitement and happiness one of these days.
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Love WBG & Lucy xxx
Ishbel, creator of World Bike Girl, has spent her life on bicycles, from road racing, to velodrome sprinting to cycling the world. She has pedalled across 20 countries solo and promotes commuting by bicycle. Much to the dismay of her friends, she is an avid wearer of socks and sandals.