“The Turkish people are very hospitable of course, but also quite effusive, so sometimes we felt we needed to stay away from populated areas just to get a bit of peace, be able to practice a bit of juggling, or just to work out. Otherwise, we were always being observed, it wasn’t easy. From Ankara onwards there was also a TV station that followed our trip, so we were often expected in a village square, sometimes even with the chairs all arranged! It was very nice. We soon entered into a sort of routine: In the morning we cycled for about 60/80/90 km, then in the afternoon we did the show, and before night it was necessary to find a place to sleep and then have dinner, keep your diary, do some stretching or whatever in front of a fire or in some house. The roads in general were quite challenging, Turkish traffic is not easy. But having said that, the streets are not packed with cars, and many areas are quite deserted.”
A break in Eskiseir
“I remember this new city, just like Pescara (Piero’s city of origin), a place with no history… I don’t remember how we ended up there, but it was terrible, with lots of kids who circled around us handling our things. It was quite stressful. We sheltered in a small house which was being built outside of town, and some of us went back and forth from the town with two “regular” bikes (the others were Tall Bikes) to carry out daily activities. We didn’t think it was appropriate to make any shows. You could smell a sort of negative euphoria in that place. But that was an isolated case, and in general I have fond memories of those five months in Turkey. After a while I started understanding quite well what I was told, and I picked up a little Turkish too. ‘
One of the variables to consider when traveling and being so exposed to the elements is the arrival of winter and the cold. So the group soon had to find suitable accommodation to weather the approaching winter months.” We found accommodation for the winter in Mersin, a city on the Mediterranean shores, right at the tip of the tourist area in the south. Some guy whom we had met offered to accommodate us in his family apartment.” To reach Mersin the group had to cross Cappadocia, where, for a few days, they even had to shelter in a cave.
“Sleeping in Cappadocia was beautiful, but in general it was not easy. Those days were a sort of retreat, to train and try out new things. We did shows in a neighboring village, full of European, Americans, Chinese, and Japanese tourists… But we soon started to feel the cold. “
“We had to flee with snow pursuing us, looking for a train to take us as far away as possible. One day we covered 80 Km almost all downhill. We pedaled fast, the threatening snow right behind us. One of us got a flat tire and that forced us to stop and we ended up with snow falling on our heads, without being in the least prepared for it. It was hard. ”
“We finally got to the town from which we could take a train. It had a tiny little station where we started to cook with a camping stove. Then a railroad worker approached and we asked him about the train, because there was only one way to arrive to Mersin, with a mountain pass at 1400 meters in altitude. But he told us there were no trains, and he also warned us that the next day we would have to move out of the station. The next day, divided into groups of two to four people, self-sufficient and able to do shows, we hitchhiked. My group was picked up in an empty truck and the driver, who was mad and drove like a madman, was actually directed to Mersin. He drank a lot and also offered us lunch. “