Greeted in Gurun

Little did we know as we left the campsite that morning that this was to be one of the most special days of our trip so far. We did not know exactly where we would stay because the guidebook had a hole in the area and so did the map. There did not seem to be any big cities on our way up to Matalya.

We did well because we left early. The roads were empty and in fairly good condition, plus it was fairly cool and we were making good progress. Towards the second half of the day we had strong crosswinds but continued on to around 250 miles when we came to a small town called Gurun, population 10,000.

At the start the town did not look promising and I wondered if we would have to try to continue all the way to Matalya to find somewhere to stay. There were only a couple of houses and I wondered how it could have 10000 inhabitants. The first sign things were starting to get populated was a market shop so we pulled in for some chai. Kids materialised out of nowhere, still wearing school uniforms since it was around 3pm. keen to practise English they were saying who they were and asking where we were from. I enjoyed the friendly banter and nobody was asking for Lira. I had a warm feeling about the place already and the people seemed more genuine.

We asked about Hotels nearby and the owner with the help of some kids translating had a chat with a woman (who turned out to be his wife) and we managed to figure out there was a place around 2km down the road but the wife looked concerned. She made the fingers rubbing together sign that indicated money and seemed to suggest it was expensive. From what we could discern they offered to let us stay in the tree-house type building beside their shop.

The wife left on a bus with the kids as we drained our tea, still unsure if we had understood correctly. Asking the owner again I pointed to the tent on the bike and to the field to see if they meant to set it up. With the aid of an English phrasebook he seemed to be happy enough for us to do that but said we could stay in the tree-house (making the universal hand signals for steps) if we wanted. I went to pay for the tea and some food and made clear I wanted to give something for the camping too though in the end the bill seemed very reasonable.

We cooked some pasta on the stove after I figured out the venturi type thing that lets air in was blocked. Later the wife of the owner came back and we were introduced to everyone and invited into the house for some tea. Bread rolls were offered, as were apples picked locally, figs, walnuts and some sort of bean that looked like an olive but with a sugary powder inside. We managed to chat about life in our countries (via an enterprising son and Google Translation) and looked at all our photos and all theirs. It transpired the owner had built the tree-house himself as well as some miniature wooden furniture and was interested in antiques. Overall they seemed quite happy in their lives together and it was fantastic to be welcomed in here.

We went to bed much happier with the world and truly humbled by the hospitality. I considered how we could have easily driven right by if we had arranged another hotel/campsite on the way and what a great loss that would have been. To quote someone โ€œthese are the days that must happen to youโ€œ.

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22 Responses to Greeted in Gurun

  1. Fayezo says:

    The red line on the map poster is getting longer! Helen fell asleep on the back on the bike?! Don’t tell me the Turkish have found mum’s secret meatball recepie?! Lots of love. F.

  2. Vincent and Brucie says:

    Great to sit and catch up on all your recent adventures, even better excuse not to be writing up my appraisal documents! The cats are well. C and E slept at Mum’s on Fri, when we got in they were wandering in and out of their rooms, as if looking for them, strangely out of sorts until the children were home the next am! Rx

  3. Matt W says:

    Hey there,
    I’m currently catching up on your travels as I make the equally treacherous but altogether less exciting train journey from London to Essex this evening. Loving hearing all about it. Once you’re back you’re very welcome to come and stay in Chelmsford…..although I should mention I don’t have a treehouse.
    Matt

  4. Brian says:

    Great to hear from you 2 again.
    Hope bikes are goin ok. Sounds like they are.
    You are certianly meeting some characters.
    Take good care.
    Daddyman

  5. Davd Bird says:

    Cor blimey! It’s all gone noisy again. Sounds as though you guys are having a hoot. Great write up, loving the story.

    All the best.

    David and Juliet

  6. Big Sis says:

    Thank you so much for the lovely tiffany necklace & also received your card.

    Thanks again Les.

    Ps Went to see Financial Advisor – who i ended up knowing! Ive been approved for a mortgage – im allowed 90K ! Viewing a house tonight ! sooo exciting !!!

    • Helen says:

      You’re welcome Les, hope you had a great day! Good news about the mortgage, take your time though, no rush! ove to you and Mum as aways xx

  7. Stuart says:

    Glad it’s going well guys! And glad the Tiger is performing to expectations. Your friend Erik is busy rolling his bikes out and may even show them at the Birmingham show this November. As for me, well, I wish I was with you guys. I’ve fixed up the Ducati for an MOT, jus done the head gasket on my Diesel 106 and only just replaced the iPhone screen. All repairs this end and I need a break!
    Stay safe.

  8. wendy says:

    Hi , To you both , You look like you are having a great time weather is bloody awful gales blowing at the minute. House is fine she not there to often seem just to come at weekends,everyone ok emma’s getting big keep safe till we speak again xxxx

  9. Michael says:

    Hi folks – good to catch up with your latest travels and adventures. We were in Derry at the weekend and travelled over the Glenshane pass. Sort of pales into insignificance when reading about your moutain crossings!
    Daniel is in Turkey this week with family and his mum. His dad backed out due to health worries. Got a text saying that they had sunny weather but pool was cold.
    All well at Ballywalter. Had Katharine Crowe in doing a locum this week. Phil has done his AKT (says it was tough). He is heading over to Glasgow this weekend for a short break.
    Halloween tomorrow night – do they have fireworks in Turkey?
    Take care, Michael

    • Helen says:

      Hi Michael!
      No fireworks sadly, we’re now in Iran! It’s a wonderful country, everywhere we go people invite us to their homes and give us tea! Yesterday my water pump broke so we pulled in to a garage and Neil helped 2 young guys fix it. They were fascinated as bikes over 200cc are banned here and they probably have never had a woman in their garage! I have to wear a headscarf and long clothing by law here but I think I’m getting used to it.

      I’m sure Phil will do fine in his AKT. Give Everyone my best!
      Helen

  10. Mum says:

    Helen you are both in my thoughts everyday, but particularly so today. Happy Birthday Helen have a wonderday day. All my love Mum.

  11. Neil's Mum says:

    (I’m singing again)
    “Happy birthday to youuu
    Happy birthday to youuu
    Happy birthday dear HELEN
    Happy birthday to youuu”

    Have a great birthday Helen. Make sure Neil buys you something nice!! A large diamond wouldn’t take up much room in the paniers….

  12. Big Sis says:

    Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo, you look like a monkey and you smell like one too

    ha ha………………….. Hope you have a good day ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Fayezo says:

    (sing this out loud!) Happy birthday to you, save that toilet paper for the loo, happy birthday dear Helen, we’re all missing you!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Matthew says:

    Happy Birthday Helen ๐Ÿ™‚ Another cheap birthday for me!

  15. Brian says:

    Happy Birthday Helen.
    Thats one I owe you! I wont ask what age you, are being a gent!
    We have all these birthdays to catch up on.
    See you have been winding the beemer on a bit then. Hope you caught the pump in time.
    Hope you got it fixed ok also Neil. Best of luck to you and Neil.
    Glad you are liking Iran.
    Be good.
    Daddyman

  16. lucy says:

    Oh look!!

    I can type a comment.
    Duh me.

    Happy Birthday Helers.
    Hope there are tea and buns wherever you are.

    Love lots ,

    Lucy xxxxx

  17. Vincent and Brucie says:

    Happy Birthday Mum, we’re celebrating with a new bag of food! Yumm! Hope you’re having a good time, we are! Piglet has gone missing, but there’s loads of other toys so no worries! Lots of love Vincent and Brucie [sending lots of nose licks for a belated happy birthday]