Around the world by bike
(881km - 18days)
27 August Bulgarian Border Kirklareli 50 km
We arrived in Turkey at the end of August once across the border we headed for the nearest town as Eddy's bicycle rim was buckled to such an extent that he could not cycle. Turkish people are some of the kindest people in the world, and while waiting, we were offered tea, watermelon and coffee. The rim took longer than expected to repair and as it was raining by them, we found a room for the night.
28 August - Karklareli Safalan 96 km
Turkey is not flat, and most days were up and down hills as we headed to Istanbul. By 16h30 we reached a picnic site with restaurant and toilets and decided to set up camp for the night as one never knows whether a campsite will be available further along the road.
29 - 30 August - Safalan Istanbul 137 km
Cycling into Istanbul was a nightmare as the traffic was heavy and we had no idea where we were going. None of the campsites indicated on the map still existed and by 21h00 it was time to give up and find a hotel room. At least I had my first glimpse of the Mediterranean.
31 August - Istanbul
The following day we moved to one of the budget backpackers in the heart of the tourist area, close to the Blue Mosque. We slept on the roof with, what felt like, 100s others! Again, we run into the Baltic Cycle Group. From Istanbul, Eddie headed home, and for the next two weeks, I cycled with Baltic Cycles, as we were heading in the same direction.
1 September - Istanbul to Bodrum - By Ferry
Got up early again, not that one can sleep late on the roof, and went down to the harbour to buy a ferry ticket to Bodrum. As the boat only left at 14h00, I went back to the hostel to say goodbye to some of the Baltic cyclists group leaving today as only 15 of the cyclists was to carry on to Cyprus.
The ferry was quite a surprise as it was much larger than I had expected with pool, gym, restaurants and the works! The ocean was like a lake, and I lay on the deck by the pool. The restaurant on board was costly, and we could only afford the very necessary. We sat out on the deck until after midnight watching the starts, as there was not a breath of wind and it was quite warm.
2 September Bodrum Datca (by boat)
The following day there was swimming in the pool and laying on the deck until we reach Bodrum at around 15h00, then straight on another ferry to Datca, which took about 2 hours. We arrived in Datca at around 19h00 and quickly found a spot to make camp on the beach. We were lucky as there was a nice little restaurant at the harbour where we could go for a bite and beer.
3 September - Datca Marmaris 70 km
We followed the Mediterranean coast along a most scenic road, albeit hilly and hot the views and beaches made up for it. Stopped along the way for breakfast and a swim. Turkish breakfast is terrific, consisting of a basket of bread, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber and olives all washed down with a glass of Iran.
The campsite was great again, right on the beach with excellent views of Marmaris across the bay. This was just too fantastic, warm evenings, beautiful sunsets and beer on the beach, there was not much more I could wish for.
4 September - Marmaris Mugla - 54km
The following day was scorching (46 degrees), as we cycled over a mountain pass, to Mugla. It was hard work but came with excellent views. Midday we stopped at Ula, a small village along the way and decided to have a haircut a task that turned out rather interesting as no one spoke any English and all communication was done by hand signals.
Along the way, we were met by a local cyclist who leads us into Mugla and through the old part of town where we were offered tea and a bike repair service. We camp at the local swimming pool, an another first for me on a lovely green lawn, needless to say, there were enough shower facilities to accommodate all of us.
Burent, the local cyclist, was there at 8h00 to lead us out of the village and along back roads through the forest to Koycegiz where we arrived fairly early and decided to take a boat trip across the lake to see Turtle Beach and the caves carved into the mountain.
What a magnificent views we had. We had stunning scenery as we passed the caves and on to Turtle Beach where we had a swim but did not spot any turtles. We managed to find a good campsite at Dalyan where we spent the rest of the evening lying on a timber deck drinking wine.
6 September - Dalypan Fethiye (Oludeniz) 75 km
It was really a friendly group of people to cycle with, each one did his own thing during the day, and all arrive at camp in their own time. Most of the cyclists were Polish and speak limited English, only Bob is from Scotland and Saline from New Zealand spoke English. Most of the time it was easier to talk to them, purely because of the language. Ella, a Polish lady, was also really lovely, so we manage with hand signals and a dictionary. Ever so often we would stop for a Turkish pancake or Gozleme that came with a variety of fillings. Strictly speaking, it is not a pancake but a savoury flatbread, but whatever you call it remained delicious.
7 September - Patara Kale - Taking a lift
The people in Turkey were extraordinary friendly. They were continually stopping and asking if they could give one a lift, or they offer us tea and watermelon which, by the way, we eat loads of. During the evening, while consuming Vodka, we decided to see how easy it would be to hitch a ride. The following day we split into pairs and set off. I went with Bob and in no time at all got a lift, the day passed quickly as we got into all sorts of cars. These were mostly driven with one hand only while the other was holding onto a cell phone or hanging out the car window quite disconcerting if one is a passenger in the car!
8 September Kale Olympus 90 km
Needless to say, it is a very mountainous day again, but the scenery so impressive that we hardly noticed. We encountered many swimming spots along the way and day passes quickly. Turkey is easily one of the most interesting countries one can wish to visit not only for its food or the friendliness of the people or even the magical Mediterranean coast but for its history. From the ancient runes of Gφbekli Tepe dating back to 91308800 BC to the massive heads of Gods, at Nemrut Dağ, dating back to 6934 BC.
A day in Olympus revealed ancient Lycian ruins and a lovely beach.
9 September - Olympus
We spent the day relaxing in Olympus, lying on the beach or on pillows on the timber deck at the campsite. A short walk up the mountain brought us to flames that mysteriously burn from the side of a mountain (natural gas) and which has apparently been burning for many thousands of years.
10 September - Olympus Antalya 90 km
11 - 12 September - Antalya Side 74 km
The following day we abled along the coast to the ancient port town Side known for its beaches and Roman ruins dating back to the time of Antony and Cleopatra.
13 September - Alanya Cyprus - By ferry
After another an excellent Turkish breakfast, (a basket of bread, tomatoes, cucumber and olives washed down with a glass of ice-cold Iran) we cycled to the Alanya harbour where we boarded a ferry to Cyprus - a 4-hour boat ride. I left the Baltic Cycles as they headed to the Greek side of the island. Cypress is divided into two, one side belonging to Greece and the other belonging to Turkey.