Friday, 22 October 2010

30/09/2010 Istanbul - biga 105km

So I consider this to be little "holiday" from travelling. And as I'm going West not East I opt for the ferry to take me across the Marmara Sea. Originally I wasn't going to blog the detour, but I though it could be useful to get used to my new gizmos. So please consider this an experiment.


My new iphone alarm app alerts me that it's 6:00am. Yet to adjust to the fandangled gadgetry it takes me atleast thirty seconds to get the thing to shut up - much to the irritation of those I share the dorm with. Thanks to the beers lastnight and only five hours of shut eye, I don't exactly feel like a spring chicken. I force myself out of bed, knowing that I have but fifty minutes until the ferry leaves port. I pay my whopping bill of €225 - not whopping because it's over priced but because I've been there too long. And with eyes that are yet to adjust to the light I roll my bike out into the cobbled street. Fortunately I know my way to the dock having spent two days at the waterfront. I swipe my credit card through automated check and am on board with fifteen minutes to spare. I purchase an exceptionally expensive baguette and take a seat. A Turkish fellow has taken my reserved seat to talk to his friends. I spend the first thirty minutes of the boat ride getting asked to move out of people's seats that I illegitimately occupy. Aside from that the two hour crossing passes without drama. My stomach doesn't feel tiptop - I'm not sure if it's to do with lastnights alcohol or the price of the baguette it's currently digesting.

Just after 9.00am the boat tucks into its mooring. With impressive efficiency all vehicles are off within a matter of minutes. I spend some time looking at useless sign posts but get on the right track once I employ the skills of a local cabbie. My map of Turkish is a vast scale so I pedal a long way for seemingly little gain. I stop a several garages for water top ups. It feels good to be back the bike again. Though having spent the last week chatting with many travellers I note a tinge of jealousy at the seemingly effortless and rapid travel experienced by others. Just before the town of Biga a man waves me in onto a garage forecourt. We get introduced and I meet his three friends. Before my arse has touched the seat I'm offered a round of çhy is ordered. He then takes me into the restaurant for a free lunch of chicken stew with a side of fresh vegetables. More çhy outside and then I'm back on the road.

Riding along the coast is great, the ever changing coastline makes it difficult to get bored. I'm aware of an ache in my knees - I can't tell if rest is good for them or not. I pass many groups of waving children, not to mention the usual tooting cars. Cutting away from the coast slightly I head through some very pretty green hills. The road surface is poor making the going a little slow. I see a chap with a rifle and motorcycle on the side of the road he flags me down. I shake his hand and he shares his food with me. Cream cheese on fresh bread with plenty of raw onion. He gestures that he is a hunter – which helps explain his appearance and weapon. Wrapped up in many layers of clothes he is here for the night and will shoot in the morning. I feel bad taking his food, but he insists. I figure it's rude to refuse what is offered to me. I push on to find a camp spot. Sure enough a gem turns up. An abandoned building suitable for hiding me from the road. I think about camping inside, but I quickly go off the idea – piles of rubble litter the floor and when the wind is right a whiff of piss fills the air. I read my book with the last of the daylight and then put up the tent. The hills extend up all around me. It looks like wolf country – still getting used to camping with them. In reality it's a species I know little about and I suspect my fear is somewhat irrational. The Jack London stories are still fresh in my mind. Perhaps it's good that I am reminded just how far I am from my fantasy of a cycling Ray Mears...

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