A Travellerspoint blog


Temperatures are rising

overcast 26 °C
View Route Olympia - China on Lent's travel map.

Sunday evening was special. The Föhn effect from the nearby mountains caused the temperature to rise to 27 degrees in the evening! Also Monday (only 72 km to Trabzon) a rather warm, though not sunny day. Continuing on the flat motorway (police 'discovered' us only in the afternoon and kindly escorted through the city of Trabzon at rush hour), one could call it almost ideal cycling conditions.
Ex tempore a reception in the City Hall was arranged for us and we got accomodation in the Municipality's own guest house 20 km away from the city.

Nüfus means population. Interestingly enough, the figure for Trabzon - second largest Turkish Black Sea city - is missing. Wherever the figure is displayed, one gets a good idea about upcoming services, traffic etc.

Mayor of Trabzon receiving us in his office under the obligatory Atatürk portrait (which one can see in much, much, much less official places in Turkey...). The lady on the right helping with translation was happy to tell me about her way from Turkey to Turku where she had spent time in Turun ammattikorkeakoulu.

Locking bicycle. Notice China 2008

GPS and more photos: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=16391

Posted by Lent 07:45 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

Past Giresun

semi-overcast 22 °C
View Route Olympia - China on Lent's travel map.

Photo by courtesy Mark van Essen

Happy Easter again! The organizers surprised us this morning with a personal hand-painted Easter Egg!
On the modern almost continuous coastal highway (some tunnels still under construction) we passed the city of Giresun with all-day police escort. Besides the normal Trafik Polis clearing the way ahead of us now also the more heavily armed Jandarma is with us, even if there are no more than four of us deciding to stay in a group. Easy and fast cycling, anyway.
Near the town of Görel the snow covered 3000+m Pontic Mountain tops provide a spectacular background for the occasional lemon and olive trees on the coastal roadside.
Transport was surely more difficult in Xenophon's times, when he walked across the mountains towards the sea with his 10,000 Persians somewhere here in the area making the famous exclamation 'Thalatta, Thalatta' (The Sea, the Sea!).
We are mentally preparing for leaving the Black Sea Coast after more than three weeks before the end of this month.

Track of the day: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=16011

Posted by Lent 10:17 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

Good Friday

- and even better Saturday

semi-overcast 14 °C
View Route Olympia - China on Lent's travel map.

Friday was a ride through the large, very fertile and densely populated Yesılırmak delta, a day to make many kilometres in a short time with no interesting sights inviting to stay during a grey overcast day. The rain came at night (luckily, organizerskeep telling us) on a beach campsite near the town of Ünye. By Saturday the word about our trip had spread also to Turkish police which now seems to keep a rather close eye on us, not without dividing opinions among BC members. As we're never moving in the big group but rather in small groups of two to four cyclists it's up to the police to choose the largest bunch for escorting - and they really do with great patience: Today they waited a full two hours in front of a seaside restaurant in Azizye, guarding our bicycles for free! How much would an hour of police escort for a touristical business cost in Finland? Here they just clear the road (or at least the right lane on the motorways) for us allowing fast and safe progress in places where bicycles are rarely seen.

Sightseeing in Ordu cancelled because of rather thick mist in the afternoon, but we really enjoyed a few hours of sunshine after several overcast days cycling to and from Cape Yason (see photo below).

For an overview of the Yesılırmak delta, Cape Yason and the near Pontic Mountains, see my track site: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=15940

Posted by Lent 10:26 Archived in Turkey Comments (1)

Turkish hospitality

- and more rain

rain 8 °C
View Route Olympia - China on Lent's travel map.

After getting my bike equipped with the new wheels on Wednesday (thanks to Peter who helped me with the job on the very day he departed home for Germany) I joined the group again after a bus ride to Yakakent on a wild beach campsite near that town. Rainy awakening the following morning in our tents! But at cool weather and with a moderate tailwind on an almost flat road we made the 90 km to Samsun fairly quickly. People are so friendly that they literally pull off the road and offer us tea (at least) and even food! Motorists are also friendly to us and display this by a lot of honking but seem to be helpless in dealing with cyclists on the road otherwise, especially near the busy crossroads. And there are a lot of them here in Samsun, biggest city on the Turkish Black Sea coast! So ıt requıred the help of the local police and a good connections of one group member to a local acquaintance to safely get us to 19th May Sport Stadium (the date refers to Atatürks landing and the beginning liberation from the occupying forces in 1919) and it's annexed hotel for a fully sponsored stay.

No spectacular view on a rainy day: the Kizilirmak river near Bafra, known in antiquity as the river Halys

Cycling through the suburbs of Samsun

GPS-track and more photos of the last two days: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=25712

Posted by Lent 10:05 Archived in Turkey Comments (3)

Learning from Diogenes

- or learning from dogs

overcast 12 °C

I had long planned to write an entry on dogs since these creatures are really our daily companions on the road, sometimes lazy-phlegmatic, often running and barking after us but never dangerous (at least up until now).
Being in Sinop, the birth town of Diogenes (the one with the tub, not D. Laertius, who was his biographer) gives me the excuse to draw a few comparisons between cycling and cynic ways of looking at things.
According to Diogenes, this is what dogs do:
Besides performing natural bodily functions in public without unease, a dog will eat anything, and make no fuss about where to sleep. Dogs live in the present without anxiety, and have no use for the pretensions of abstract philosophy. In addition to these virtues, dogs are thought to know instinctively who is friend and who is foe.
(from Wikipedia)
No doubt, long-distance cyclists have learnt the lesson: we are cynics!
(To be sure, not all dogs know to distinguish between friend and foe. I'm glad I took my three Rabies vaccination shots, the last one in Athens at a ridiculous price compared to what I had payed for the other two injections back in Finland.)

Event of today's rest day in Sinop: I received two brand-new wheels by Express delivery after serious safety concerns (see entry Challenges, part I) and I would like to thank the people of Winnora/Schweinfurt and Zweirad-Shop/Wiesmoor in Germany for friendly and quick assistance.

Posted by Lent 10:23 Archived in Turkey Comments (0)

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