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From Frustration to Fulfillment: Riding to Sagalassos

Today was terrible. I made two completely idiotic mistakes, which forced me to give up visiting one of the key places I had planned to see from the beginning. At that moment, it was the right decision; otherwise, it would have disrupted everything else in the chain.

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As the first rays of sunlight began to pierce through the darkness, I found myself, as promised, on the rooftop of my hotel in Göreme, eagerly awaiting the breathtaking spectacle of the sunrise. The sky slowly transformed into a canvas of vibrant colors, painting the horizon in hues of pink and gold. In fact, the whole view paired with Cappadocia’s famed hot air balloons floating gracefully in the sky, transported the scenery to a whole different level of beauty. That being said, I suspect it also made me more relaxed than I should have been…

Hello everyone, and welcome back to our motorcycle adventure. Today was particularly testing, perhaps due to the number 13, or maybe it’s just that point in every ride where you want to reach so many places in one day that frustration sets in. Who am I kidding… it was all about mistakes… Sometimes, you just have to suck it up and deal with it.

Morning Mishaps and Misguided Routes

By lunchtime, I was ready to call it a day. My summary would have gone something like this:

“Today was terrible. I made two completely idiotic mistakes, which forced me to give up visiting one of the key places I had planned to see from the beginning…”

It was the right decision at the moment; otherwise, it would have disrupted everything else. It’s the downside of pre-planning. You can account for some unplanned occurrences, but when they pile up, the room for error vanishes. And believe me, it happens.

It was a blunder because I kept adjusting my route based on suggestions and tips. At that moment, I wasn’t following my pre-made track. Instead, I was navigating with Google Maps, which, with its penchant for finding the fastest route, changes the course unless you specifically tell it not to. Here’s the real mistake: since I wasn’t always looking at it, I ended up on a different path.

Bear in mind, I’m not blaming Google Maps or its undisputed utility. From a motorcycle traveler’s perspective, if you are not navigating with a pre-planned route and aren’t focusing 100% on its auto adjustments, you will miss either the ride or the route.

In this case, I altered the track because I wanted to visit Sagalassos Ancient City. I had seen a solo rider I follow—Nomad Katia—talking highly about it and showing photos that made it a must-visit for me.

So I set off, but the worst part was that when I realized my mistake, I tried to correct it but then made another error, ending up several kilometers away from Lake Tuz.

Eventually, I realized the error, but going there and back would have cost me around 3 hours…

Oh well, there are other lakes. They won’t be the same, but that doesn’t matter now!

A Challenging Afternoon

I had lunch feeling pretty down, to say the least. After lunch, I endured an hour on one of the worst roads I’ve encountered here, which only added to my frustration until I reached the mountains again. And what mountains they were, taking me back to ancient times.

Discovering Sagalassos

Sagalassos, located 7 kilometers north of Ağlasun and perched 1,700 meters above sea level on the slopes of Akdağ, is a historical treasure trove. Known in ancient times as Pisidia, its first inhabitants were from a branch of the Luwian tribes who settled in Western and Southern Anatolia at the end of the third millennium BC. When Alexander the Great conquered Sagalassos, it was one of the wealthiest cities in the region. The ruins of this ancient city, high in the mountains, offer a fascinating glimpse into the Roman, Byzantine, and Hellenic periods.

Walking through the ruins of Sagalassos, I was struck by the grandeur and historical depth of the city. Among the highlights were the Nymphaeum of Antoninus Pius, a beautifully ornate fountain house that still flows with water, and the ancient Roman theater, carved into the hillside, which must have been as impressive to ancient audiences as it is to modern visitors today.

The lower and upper agoras, which served as the city’s marketplaces and public spaces, were equally fascinating. These areas were bustling hubs of activity in their time, and exploring them gave me a sense of the city’s vibrant social life. Additionally, the Imperial Baths provided a glimpse into the daily lives and luxury enjoyed by the city’s inhabitants. The scale and sophistication of these baths highlighted the importance of public bathing and socializing in Roman culture.

Despite the day’s earlier frustrations, my time in Sagalassos was a highlight of the journey. The serene environment, combined with the awe-inspiring ruins, provided a much-needed moment of tranquility and appreciation.

Riding Into the Evening

After the visit, I decided to continue for a few more kilometers. My bad mood had lifted, and after that climb, all I wanted to do was ride more and more… I set a goal: the city of Antalya.

Upon reaching the city at rush hour, I thought, well, I’m not a fan of chaos. What if I set a goal along the coastline but away from the hustle and bustle? After all, I still felt good and really wanted to ride my bike… I hadn’t ridden enough yet.

Final Destination: Beldibi

New goal: Beldibi – Antalya. And why? Because once again, there were no campgrounds, so I looked for hotels at camping prices. This one was 500 Turkish Lira, about €15, including breakfast and a pool! That seemed like a good motivational factor to ride a few more kilometers.

Here I am! I’ll skip the pool, but I won’t miss the breakfast!

Thank you for following along on this adventure. Until next time!

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