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49 degrees celsius

Thursday, July 4, 2013

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I was riding in the midday heat on the vast Turkish roads and reflecting that it had not been this hot (49°) when I crossed the Sahara.

But first, let’s bring you up to date with how I got here. Myself and Buggi had ridden down the Bulgarian coast road to the small town of Priseltsi, just a few kilometers past the port town of Varna. Here we were warmly welcomed by Bridget, an English lady I had contacted through WarmShowers who shared her house with 8 delightful women with mild learning difficulties. It was a little busy in the upper floor flat as Bridget’s friend (Helen) was also visiting from the UK and her other lodger (Nikoleta) kindly gave up her room to accommodate us.

Bridget and friends

In the evening the five of us (Bridget, Helen, Nikoleta, Buggi & myself) piled into the car with our canine companion and were driven to a lovely coastal restaurant for a meal, where I sampled the local dish. It was a very memorable evening.

Dogs seem to like me, can’t think why!

As we returned back to the house, Nikoleta showed me some of her impressive photography and Bridget welcomed us to stay a few days. Had I been solo I would have done so, but Buggi had just had a rest period and wanted to move on, so we said our goodbyes the next morning. By now Bridget will be on her own tour of the Danube and I hope the maps and guides I gave her come in useful, please keep in touch!!

The next part of my route involved turning inland at Burgas and heading for the border town of Svilengrad, before crossing into Greece. This was more a case of ‘ticking off’ another country, as Greece was not really on the itinery at the moment but I saw no reason not to stop by along the way.

Not the first time we’ve seen a plane on a roundabout!

Traveling by bike you see so much more. My thanks to one of my followers, Matthew Teeter for providing the link to EH’s words.

No caption needed

And some examples…

The hay maker

Filling his bottle

Wellington & Ratz help this turtle cross the road safely.

Maybe the best roundabout so far?

We will return to the subject of sweating up hills in another post, but meanwhile crossing into Greece was a quick affair as we were not allowed to take photographs until beyond the controls, as there was a noticeable military presence. The temperature had climbed into the high 40’s and we took every opportunity to have a break.

Beyond the Greek border

Although our stay in Greece was short, there was reasoning in our choice of route. We had both decided to skip Istanbul in Turkey, as every blog we’d read about cyclists tackling the roads into the city told of how dangerous and unpleasant they were. We would take a much prettier route which involved traveling south from the Greek border and taking a ferry from Gallipoli to Lapseki, then make our way inland.

To the ferry…

A pleasant surprise awaited us when we inquired about the ferry, the cost was just 5tl (about 2 euro) for both our bikes and we traveled for free – gobsmacked I was.

The ferry port at Gallipoli

The ferries ran every 25 minutes and were huge for such a short crossing, although I expect it is a very busy tourist destination.

The ferry taking us to Lapseki, Turkey

So here I am in Turkey, sweating profusely in the heat. In my next post I’ll tell you all about the roads and my impressions of the country so far…

Just before I go a word about the blog. I intend changing the way I update my progress and using Facebook more to tell you where I am and what I’m doing, as internet access has been so difficult this past few weeks and trying to keep up takes too much time. This should mean I can use the blog to wax lyrical sometimes, something I have to practice if I’m to write my book.

Oh and a plea for those that haven’t already done so – please like my Facebook page if you enjoy it, as I need to reach 100 for extras from Facebook.

More soon…

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