Edirne was the old capital of the ottoman empire before Istanbul.
Turns out the first mosque we visited was one of the nicest in Turkey.
Inside the mosque
Ablution tapes outside
We also had the whole thing to ourselves, quite the opposite to the jammed mosques in Istanbul
Ederem was a great host, an avid cycle tourist himself he prepared dinner and breakfast for us and has to have been the jolliest person we’ve met on the trip so far.
The shell station that hosts bicycle tourists
Istanbul has everything, most importantly cans of iced coffee
That’s Asia over there
We pulled into a cafe after our big climb up to the bridge. And spent ages chatting with the parking attendants.
After climbing hundreds of metres asking a bunch of people how to get to the bridge and navigating the complicated road system we finally had the bridge in our sights. As tore down the hill the police pulled us over.
Luckily while the police were trying to figure out how to get us off the 5 lane highway leading to the bridge, a man sticks his head out of his van and offers us a lift. We stick our bikes in the back of the van and we’re off.
Asia here we come
By the time we arrived in Kadikoy where we were meeting our CS host it was dark and we were wrecked. Unfortunately we couldn’t get in touch with him and were waiting in this cafe for ages. We soon found him and all was A-OK.
“What’s that? Another mosque?” The lad behind hugo doesn’t look too impressed
A little fishing boat
The Monument to Turkish German friendship also known as the Döner monument.
Treating ourselves to a Hamam (turkish bath) after many two months on the road
All the famous sights across Turkey
Lokum or turkish delight
Helva is a dense nugget desert
A fine Quran
Because picture of the prophet are not allowed in Islam the Hilye is a verbal description. it’s quite funny saying he was “is neither too short nor too tall” and that he walked as if striding down a hill.
The Hagia Sophia
It was a church
then a mosque
and now a museum
This kid ran under the barrier and started climbing on some priceless antique in the Topkapi Palace. Right now his mom is trying to get him out before the security gaurds swooped in.
There must be thousands of Busts and statues of Attatürk across the country in every city and town no matter how small. This one in Taksim square is one of our favourites. It depicts Attaturk kicking the brits out of Gallipoli
Getting the evening ferry back to Kadikoy
Great shop name
Ekmek and Hugo
Shefack was a music teacher who was also crashing with our CS host during the holiday.
When you mention istanbul and food everyone across turkey replies with “AHH Balick ekmek in Emininou”
The Spice Bazaar
Nut bazaar, actually this is still the spice bazaar. There i no nut bazaar.
still the spice bazaar
Istanbul during Bayram is absolutley empty we couldn’t believe a city of this size could shut down so completetly for so many days
Everywhere was closed
The Nazar (blue amulate) is used to protect people from the evil eye and is ablotley everywhere in turkey.
SIMIIIIIIT. These guys would walk around yeling simit and selling the tasty seseme bagels.
Modern art museum in Istanbul
Tiny man art
Balik ekmek is the business
Breakfast with Oscar, shefak, Yawus and Jorgen
One of the few churches in Istanbul
Of the hundreds of potraits of mustafa kamal Attaturk we came across this is my favourite
The sea around istanbul is ful of cargo ships
Oscar was a great host lettig us stay for ages in Istanbul.
Things are looking pretty full with our winter sleeping bags.
Breakfast in a park in Istanbul after we once again failed to leave a city
Traditional ottoman bridge over a highway
Home sweet tarp
First time climbing in Turkey
Hey look there’s no grass
Cornering like a pro
“A nice tall glass of milk, what a treat” Actually this is ayran a ubiquitous yogurt based drink. It is sometimes mixed with water but sometimes it’s fizzy after having been mixed with soda water.
Hugo having a good laugh after i nearly spit out the fizzy yogurt drink thinking it was milk.
Not in europe anymore
Rolling around the corner we had no idea these mountains were here.
We had 20 km more to do that day but couldn’t pass up a chance to camp here.
Our campsite was just on the other side of the house.
These guys saw Hugo fixing his bike on the side of the road and offered him a lift. Needing to do about 120 km that day hugo accepted their offer and drove along and picked me up. nice way to make 20 km.
No not a holiday or festival just a typical nationalistic turkish town
To honour Sagan winning world champ Hugo strikes on of his poses.
Nearly at the top
We had a great time in Ankara with our host Achmet. W got to see Attaturks moseleum and watch the Irish rugby match
OUr curse of leaving cities continues as Hugo loses his wallet when we leave Ankara.
After going back to look for it we camped in a park outside Ankara
For anyone wondering what our coffee set up on the road has been now is your lucky time. We have a grinder an aeropress and pick up fresh beans in the bigger cities. 3 in 1’s are a great warming treat and a bag of instant just in case the other two run out.
The climbing hunch
“So you’re cycling??” these guys just couldn’t believe us.
Tarp working a treat
A man brought us over to the fish tank and asked how many we wanted for lunch. We said one each and he went ahead and grabbed two fish out of the tank and cooked them.
Can’t get fresher than that
Road into Cappadocia
churches carved into the rock
When there are no signs esiest way to find your route is to cycle to the highest point and have good look
Are we supposed to go over there??
Or over there?
We found it
Touring bike weren’t at home on the winding mountain path but they did well
After cycling the whole way through the fairy chimneys as people call them. We ended up at a lookout point for sunset. A road leads to it from the other side so bus loads of people were arriving just in time to catch sunset over the valley.
Learning to balance your bike against you while relieving yourself is a necessary skill
A man saw us stopped for lunch and invited us for çay he brought us on the tour of the local mosque.
He showed us how to properly wash ourselves according to islamic tradition before bringing us on the tour
There were plenty of gravel roads in this area of Turkey
Always nice to get back onto sealed tarmac
This was a pretty hairy descent with no crash barrier on the side of the road
A rake load of turnips
All hail the Turnip
Approaching these mountains we were really hoping we weren’t going over them.
Luckily we went around them.
Trying to get a picture with a dog as he chased me
After climbing on loose gravel all day getting to descend on tarmac was a treat.
When leaving this restaurant, i stood to the side to let a man pass. To show is appreciation he pinched my belly and smiled at me. This was not the first time a turk pinched my belly.
Ottoman houses in Amasya and pontic tombs in the backround
View from the tombs
It was windy
Cycling a bit faster to get away from the weather front.
After cycling late into the night and not coming across anywhere to camp, we found a filling station and camped in the picnic area of the restaurant. The next morning we we’re getting up and everyone was staring at us from inside the restaurant. We we’re grumpy and cold and not in the mood to be stared at. Next a boy and a waiter come out and the boy says his family( the people who had been staring at us) wanted us to come in and have breakfast with them. We accepted their very generous offer and were treated to a huge breakfast. The family were going on holidays to the black sea from Istanbul and we had a great time chatting with them.
A church dedicated to Jason and the argonauts who passed by this area looking for the golden fleece.
We met Ali in Ordu he’s a great guy and the only hazlenut broker in the hazelnut capital of the world. This region produces 70% of the worlds hazlenuts. He very kindly put us up in a hotel run by his friend and we had a great day.
Sunset on the black sea
This kid just sat down beside us and proceeded to talk turkish to us for about half an hour. I don’t think he relaised we didn’t understand a word he was saying but we got by.
A very nationalistic musically performance put on by one of the patties before the election
Foam rolling on this handy little carpet I found
We used our bikes to block off a parking space for our camping spot
Waking up in the rain to a flat is never ideal
Using nutella to mark the punture
Setting off on a wet morning to climb 3000 m, should be grand
Turns out there was some minuscule piece of debris giving me flats, this is one of the stops where i replaced the tube.
It was too cold for the patching glue to work so after we used up all our tubes we and i was still flatting out we knew we wouldn’t make it over the pass. We rolled back down the mountain to some gazebos to stay for the night
The next morning we decided the best shout was for me to hitch hike to batumi and meet Hugo there. In the backround you can the mescit i slept in during the rainty night, hoping some devout muslim wouldn’t open the door to find a smelly wet irishman asleep on the floor.