Friday, 1 June 2012

Day 1 to 4 - Istanbul to Vize (Turkey). 190km

The bicycle tour has begun, and what a start.  Leaving Istanbul at 6.30am on Tuesday with our saddle bags packed , we began our long ride home and it's been a great first few days.   It's been a loooooong time (over a year!) since either of us have done any exercise so we've been easing in gently with about 50km a day.  I'd convinced myself we'd somehow manage to avoid hills along the way but unfortunately was proven wrong - thank goodness for gears.  That said, we've enjoyed every minute & it's been beautiful scenery the whole way.

Everyone's taken great interest in our trip - whether it be beeps from passing cars to people waving us down to stop for a cup of tea.  We've been overwhelmed by the kindness of the Turkish people we've met & have barely spent any money in the past few days - cups of tea, beer, meals & even accomodation has been plentiful.  We've stayed with a farmer, his brothers and herd of water buffalo in the town of Islikar, camped in a picnic area near Alakan & stayed with Atim & his family in the village of Safaalan.  None of Atim's family spoke a word of English but we still managed to get our own room, 2 hearty meals, a tour of the village, the local Mosque opened up especially for us so we could look round, introductions to all of the neighbours & an endless supply of tea.  What more could you ask for?!  Last night we 'couchsurfed' in Vize, despite the fact that our host has gone away for the weekend - he just left us his keys & told us to make ourselves at home. 

The route has been great so far, despite the hills, one torrential downpour & our map being slightly out of date.  Today we're heading onto the town of Kirklareli and in 2 or 3 days expect to be in Bulgaria. Sorry about the lack of photos, I'm just about ready to throw this computer out of the window so better sign out before that happens.  Until next time... 



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