Back on the Island we meet David and Linda from Sweden. They are hoping to find a camping spot and we point them in the direction of ours. The two become four. We have a cool couple of days doing yoga (they are both instructors) and making music around the fire pit. We also introduce them to the delights of Istanbul's nightlife.
The days disappear to shopping and gear repair. The nights to music and meals at various houses on the island. By the end of week three on the Island I'm about ready to leave. A fair part of me doesn't want to go. But, as you know by now, that is exactly why I should. Now the reality of the winter is here the challenge doesn't seem quite so appealing. From my vantage point on the Island I can see the snow covered mountains to the East – looking like they're going to chew me up and spit me out as tiny ice-cubes.
From a fitness point of view I feel like I'm starting again. The hardness has gone from my legs and my lungs are no longer able to move big quantities of air. I wince at the thought of breaking in my bum! But, the adventure starts here. I now leave Europe behind and head for the Middle East and Central Asia. With visa's for Iran and Uzbekistan – I know I'm at least able to travel that far.
I seemed to have gained a new riding buddy too. Stu (didg man) is heading to Georgia to chase some work (and American girls). For a few weeks we will ride together until Eastern Turkey where we'll split. Bonus! It should serve to soften the blow – knowing that the lonely blues is postponed for a few weeks.
Istanbul has been a blast. I realised a few days ago that I've spent more time here than any other city in the world! While I've spent far too much money here I can't say I regret it. I've met heaps of great and interesting people, and feel absolutely changed (for the better) by some of these interactions.
Back to the road – damn it feels good to type that!