(David) I had never been to student Robot Competition until this morning (or indeed any other type of Robot competition come to that). So it was a no-brainer for us to accept Aziz’s kind offer to see him and his student at work.
He teaches at a Gifted and Talented school – and the children between the ages of 8 and 16 who made, coded and created the robots certainly lived up to the billing. The competition was in a basketball tournament stadium, with children cheering on their friends as the robots attempted to navigate a labyrinth or defeat each other on the Sumo mat. Technical skill was on display in abundance and then the enthusiasm of the victor and the gutted looks on the faces of the losers. It was a privilege to be there.
At about 10.30 we dragged ourselves away and began the ride to Pinarbasi, which is 90km East of the city of Kayseri along the main road. Lots of climbing to begin as we went from 1100m to 1500m, but of course it was up and down, then more up and a bit down and then more up..
Half way along we stopped at a magnificent caravanserai, which had been done up inside for weddings but operated as a cafe between nuptials. Well kept albeit surly staff (who sold us a soft drink and then said it was closing in 5 minutes). They were far more interested in the glamorous couple who, we suspected, we sussing it out for their wedding.
50km more and a few ups and downs. The landscape got prettier and the mountains ahed looked bigger before we got to the village of Pinarbasi. We contemplated getting a hotel – until Bernie saw the room and, given its state of cleanliness, we opted to camp. A few km outside the town we found an idyllic spot next to avriver to camp and set up our tent. The farmers all saw us, waved in a friendly way and let us get on with using a corner of the field.
No one appears to be proprietorial about land when we camp we just find a corner and make sure we leave it as we found it. The weather is much warmer and for the first time we weren’t rushing into warm clothes and could enjoy sitting out in the evening sun.