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!
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.