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End of leg 2: Turkey

Whilst waiting for visas in Georgia, we’ve managed to put together a short video of our trip across Turkey…. hope you like it!

Leg 2 statistics are:
[Cycled 1983km in 50 days]
[Camped: 34 Hotel/Hostel: 12 Sofa-Surfed: 4]
[Total spend £12 each per day]


Turkey Tale

Leaving behind the statues of Nemrut-Dagi and not wanting to re-cross the mountain range we hopped on a coach and returned north, back to Malatya where we’d stayed a few days earlier. After a nights rest we were back on the bikes and continuing north, following a river and railway, so it had to be flat and easy going… right? But that afternoon, with a strong headwind building, progress was painfully slow. Unfortunately the immediate landscape offered little in the way of shelter or hiding spots for the nights camp, however we did find some flat ground on a farm track, and it was decided that a night under the tarp would be the best option…. after a restless night being bitten by bugs, the jury is still out!

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Leaving the valley floor in search of a quieter road we went “off the map” and after taking in more hills than we’d intended we called it a day in Hekimhan. Hoping to find somewhere to camp, we cycled into the centre and picked a cafe for a cup of cay whilst waiting for a plan to develop. In broken English, the cafe owner suggested “no camping” but that we should stay in the “Teacher House”, we were confused but he instructed a nephew to show us the way. “Teacher House” turned out to be dormitory accommodation for government workers…. which is also open to the public if they have room…. at a bargain price too! Random places to sleep #1

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Turkey Rock

Pedalling out of Konya we made the most of a very strong tail wind, and despite setting off late in the afternoon we were able to clock up a whopping 76kms in just a couple of hours. As the sun was setting we came across a petrol station so stopped, camped behind it’s restaurant and ordered a kebap to celebrate our progress! We were now travelling east along one of the ancient ‘Silk Road’ trading routes, and the next day we visited the Caravanserai (motel for camels) in Sultanhani. The building was the size if a football pitch, half open and half covered with and incredible detailing on the stonework, it was very impressive. That nights camping was at a picnic spot just outside Akasary. Whilst inspecting the grass for a pitch, we were invited to drink cay, and eat with Yakup and his family. So kind and very generous!

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The following day we’d stopped to take photos when another cycle tourist appeared over the hill. With his pointy beard and decorations all over his bike, Baptiste looks like a proper nomad! From first impressions it was difficult to tell if he was friend or foe, but after a quick chat we discovered he’d started cycling from his home in Switzerland, seemed pretty normal and speaks great english! We were heading on similar routes so have joined forces for a while. Our specialities are: Baptiste – languages, Rebecca – chef, Tim – Bosun! Continue reading


From Sea to Summit

Maybe we’re overstating our altitude, as we still haven’t reached our highest point in Turkey, but when its 35degC, they definitely feel like mountains! The combination of slight headwind, poor surface and humid weather are a killer for progress!! From Istanbul we took a 2 hour catamaran ferry across the Sea of Mermara to Bandrima. As this was our first ride in over a week, we took it easy with a short pedal to a nearby campsite for our overnight stop, before properly getting back on the saddles the next day and heading South up and over the previously mentioned hills. That evening we were looking for somewhere to stop when we spotted some locals having a picnic so headed across to ask if they thought we would be okay to camp… Turkish hospitality meant that as we pitched our tent  we were invited to join their fish supper, despite having full stomachs (having just eaten at a cafe in the nearby town) we spent an enjoyable evening in their company as more and more cay was poured!

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A day on, and up in the hills and far away we stopped to ask a Shepard if we could camp ‘over there’ (using international language of mime). As we were pitching our tent he came over and showed us to a more hidden spot, so we took his advice and relocated, he even came back in the morning to check that we were okay. Thank you Mr Shepard!  Through more hills and beautiful scenery we got our third puncture of the trip (not bad for over 2000km),  we stopped under a canopy to hide from the rainstorm and patch the tube, as Tim was putting the tyre back on, the fire station crew came over and insisted that they start up one of their trucks to re-inflate our tyre with its air compressor! It probably would have been faster to pump it by hand but they insisted that they wanted to help. With the wheel back on, the rain had eased, so we continued.

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Istanbul: end of leg 1

The route into Istanbul isn’t easy on a bike, this is how we did it: The road from the northern border was smooth and very quiet with a wide shoulder, perfect for cycling! Heading east from Kirklareli on the D020 it turned into a weaving twisty road through hills and forests, mostly quiet but with the odd busier section. However, closer to Istanbul the road was being converted into a dual carriageway and later a motorway, with the odd dirt section, just to keep you on your toes!  Most of the traffic was heavy construction/quarry lorries which were later joined by more cars, but there are no alternative routes. This was endured until Kemerburgaz where there is a lower speed, smaller road into the centre of Istanbul with it’s chaos and traffic jams. Honk! Honk! Beeeeeeeep! The roads East from Istanbul look even worse so we’ll be taking a ferry….

caymore caycay cay?

We have learnt that in Turkey, it is impossible to refuse a gift, in the 3 days to Istanbul we were given 12 cays (Turkish tea), in a picnic area, a park,  a mosque, and at multiple petrol stations! Often we had just stopped for water or to rest but sometimes we had to move on to avoid a tea headache!!! We were also given 2 cokes, 2 cucumbers, a handful of strawberries and some bread by friendly locals. We’ve also gained 2x mega-led torches from a Turkish cyclist who stopped for a chat.

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Once in Istanbul we took time out to relax, holiday with friends, repair the bikes, catch up with admin and plan the route for leg 2: across Turkey.

Leg 1 statistics:
[Cycled: 2063km in 38 days]
[Camped: 19 / Hotel/Hostel: 13 / Sofa surfed: 6]
[Total spend: £13 each per day]

Here is our video from leg 1.