Go with the flow
I will combine Lesvos and Turkey here and make it short. You probably don’t mind keeping it short but just so you know I can’t find the time to translate all stories.
The Greek island of Lesvos formed the stage of a extraordinairy cycling trip. A trip about what can go right instead of wrong, about hope and a positive signal to refugees and the residents of an island that has gone through a lot. A gorgious island that is depending on tourism and needs foreigners to visit. .
- 2 refugees from the middle east, 1 volunteer, the founder of a refugee foundation and a world cyclist
- 3 days
- Local cyclists
- A supercool island
- Route: Mytilini – Plomari – Molivos – Mytilini
- Goal: Connecting and developing a cycling trip that might generate income for the NGO and local residents
Refugee or redbearded cheeshead, in this trip there were no nationalities, stereotypes or borders. Five people, locals from the island and the strength of cycling together, traveling together and exploring together.
Great guy and founder of Movement on the Ground (MOTG). MOTG is a Dutch and Lesvos based foundation aiming to help refugees. Adil is the force behind this growing NGO and cycled his ass off in the Greek heat.
A volunteer and a self empowered woman. Like Adil and myself also from the Netherlands. She was tough and cycled like one of the guys.
Refugee from Iraq and the fastest cyclist we had in the group. Great sense of humor despite the fact he has been in the ‘process’ for four years. A man who has had a lot to handle, a man who was positive all the way.
Refugee from Syrië. Quiet and the girls liked him because he was so sweet. Could be right because that’s also the way he cycles, like he’s dreaming. He did well cycling, especially if you consider he had never cycled before..
The wizard and local guide. He knew everything, did everything, new the best spots for foodies and took care of all our gear. Great man and a good representantive for people on the island. An island that is awesome by the way. The scenery, food and people. .
Cycling through Turkey has been like a small ferry tale. It started with a 175 km detour I cycled in a day (40+ degrees) to Izmir where a Turkish family was waiting for me. They heard about my trip from Turkish people in Holland. As it turned out the whole family was invited for the cycling guest of honor.
We had the best food, there were beers and they offered me to help me make my route through Turkey. Say what? That’s my part, nobody tells me where to go. But then I thought I’d should let things go. That’s what I did before and that’s what I could do now as well. Let it happen.
And so I let it happen. They got involved and a small whatsapp group was formed. ‘Mark on the way’ it was called and it got bigger and bigger as the route took place. In short: no wild camping and no canned food. No no no, it was all good beds, families helping me, feeding me, hotel rooms and small family excursions. At some point it went so fast, like a roller coaster, that I couldn’t absorb all the goodness that was happening. Everybody was so nice to me!
When I said goodbye to the first family, the one in Izmir, they threw water at me: Be like water on this trip, adapt and go with the flow. I guess an advice not only for travelling through Turkey.
Gökhan (first stop after Izmir)
- 3 guys
- Good bed
- Lot of laughs
- The whatsapp group is growing
Gulay from Usak
- She and her aunt were too sweet
- Too much food, good food
- Talks with the family
- She wanted me to stay and I ewanted to but had to go
- King size bed
Abdallah & Ibrahim from Afyon
- Afyon is a really nice place
- Two young guys
- Very chill
- Whatsapp group keeps on growing
Ali from Aksehir
- In Aksehir
- Intelligent man
- Hotel 3-star
- Old politician
- Owned a restaurant :)
- A meeting with the local mayor
- Lots of media
Ali from Konya
- Konya is a religous and historical city
- Stayed a day extra
- Frsh food, too much food, great food
- Culture visit ‘Rumi’
- Loved this place
Kerime & Bayram
- In Aksaray
- They got back from their holidsay one day earlier to see me
- Sweet family
- Ate lots of meat (I’m a vegetarian)
- Huge bed
- Slept early, was tired
Ramazin, Faruk (in Cappadocia)
- 4-star hotel
- Including buffet food
- Spent 3 days
- Local mayor wanted to meet me and gave me a balloon flight
- Also cycling with the local cycling heroes
- So great :)
Kasim in Kayseri
On my way to Malatja Kasim wanted to meet me and take me to a local restaurant. It was just a stop for me because I was in a hurry but he helped me, fed me and we talked some. Would have loved to have some beers with him.
- He ownes a bike shop
- Sleeping in a 4 star hotel again
- Local food, again lots
- Cycled with a group of 32 cyclists
- Lots of media again
- Cool guy
Grateful seems to be good for you. That’s cool because grateful I am and I already know that I will be more gratefull as time passes by and I have absorbed everything that has happened. I know from experience so much happens that it is difficult to take it all in. The video below I made will help me remind me all the good things that happened. So in the next months and when I reach the mountains I will practce my gratitude. Also for that I should thank the Turkish people.
Lots of media coverage in the end. They all loved that crazy Dutchy on a bike cycling to ‘connect’