SUMMARY - BULGARIA
08/08/12 - Start 0800, alt 40, overnight/morning showers cleared to overcast/sunny day by 1000. Towns every 10-15km, 45km mark 1100, eat. 95km mark, 1500, Rize. Internet, 1630 setup camp under overpass, shower & cook. Overnight showers.
09/08/12 - Start 0900, alt 05, towns every 10-15km, 25km mark eat, internet. Flat, 81km mark 1600 Trabzon. 1730 setup camp on vacant block next to mosque. Wander around town, internet, dinner, bed 2130. Alt 165, downside was loudspeakers at 2115, 0345. Big busy town.
10/08/12 - Start 0830, alt 165, showers 0930, towns every 5-10km, 1500 73km mark Gorele, internet, 1630 setup camp in abandoned warehouse. Eat & wander around town.
11/08/12 - Start 0900, alt 05, towns every 10-15km, 87km mark Bulancak, setup camp in apartments under construction. Shower, eat, bed 1800.
12/08/12 - Start 0800, alt 35, towns every 10-15km, hot 32C, headwinds, smooth bitumen, roadside hazelnuts past few days. Half dozen tunnels every day past 4 days. 2x2 and 2m shoulder - shoulder dissapears in tunnels. Shadeless, possible to camp on beaches now (pebbles replaced by sand) 1720, 129km mark camp in village in abandoned shop on roadside. Shower, cook, bed 1930.
13/08/12 - Start 0730, alt 10, towns every 10-15km, 1000 56km mark Samsun, internet, contact host & arrange time to meet. Met Cigdem at her plce at top of steep hill overlooking town (there was brief downpour and I had to zig zag up road, rear wheel struggling for grip) She treated me to dinner in town together with her brother. We went for walk along beachfront.
14/08/12 - Rest day at Samsun, treated to breakfast by my host Cigdem. Done a bit of sightseeing with host (visited couple of museums and walked around city centre) She had to go and catch a bus to visit her parents, so met up with her brother who let me in to her place to pickup bike and went for ride along waterfront promenade. Most of it is still under construction so was a rough ride.
15/08/12 - Start 0930, alt 150, 14km mark breakfast, met couchsurfer who gave me some chocolate. Big undulations before Bafra then levelled out. 1600, 81km mark Yakakent, swim & shower at beach. Relax, eat, setup camp in apartments under construction in back streets 1830 - hard to find. Bed 1930.
16/08/12 - Start 0800, alt 0, 14km mark follow new road along coast currently under construction, flat but strong headwinds (no cover/shade) 1030 37km mark, Gerze, snooze, big undulations, strong headwinds. 62km mark 1430 rest/snooze. 1730 77km mark Sinop, ride around town, internet, setup camp in apartments under construction. Old man cafe good for TV, tea & playing cards.
17/08/12 - Rest day at Sinop, find new camp site next to mosque under shady tree, replace chain, rotate front chainring, fit new rear brake pads & clean bike. 1200 eat, friendly man from mosque gave me pastries & tea. Changed money, internet and ride around town. Relax.
18/08/12 - Start 0800, alt 0, villages every 10-15km, headwinds, no services, 30km mark farmer selling watermelons - gave me one for free and wanted me to take second but was too heavy to carry on bike so I refused (was the most delicious melon I've had so far - so sweet & juicy) big undulations, 36km mark, old man club/store, snooze. 1230 get going again, 40, 44 & 53km marks stores. Bumpy/sticky bitumen. 1400 Ayanci 60km mark, ride around town, swim, shower, shave & feast. Showers 1700, setup camp side of residential apartments with some cover, bed 2000, showers overnight.
19/08/12 - Start 1015, alt 0, early morning showers, headwinds, villges every 10-15km, bumpy bitumen, big climbs, 20, 24, & 26km marks stores. 31km mark Guzelkent, eat & push on. Flatter, back on coast but very strong headwinds (no cover/shade) 1500, 50km mark Catalzeytin, camp under carport at rear residential compound, cook & eat. Resident called polis & got moved on. Found another place under cover of balcony side of residential apartments. Bed 1915, start to drizzle.
20/08/12 - Early showers, start 0930, drizzle/showers, 10-15km villages, 2 big climbs, headwinds, 21km mark Abana, eat, internet. 46km mark, 1445 Inebolu setup camp in undercover market which was closed today but no locked gates so easy access & had toilets/water. Wander around town, internet, bed 2000. Nice little town.
21/08/12 - Start 0945, alt 10, villages every 5-10km although no services. Big undulations, 14km mark store, light headwinds, hot 32C, 1230 34km mark Donganyurt, eat. 47km mark Ilyasbey 1500 setup camp in meadow under shady tree, wander around small village.
22/08/12 - Start 0830, alt 10, big undulations, villages every 5-10km although not many services. 15km mark store, rest here 1030 get going. Another massive climb. 26km mark, 1130, store and rest. 1215 push on. 40km mark, 1330 store. 1530, 59km mark arrived in Cide soaked in sweat. Staright to beach for swim, shower and washed bike clothes. Met retired local Turk/Ozzy man who shouted me a couple of teas and showed me camping spot on beach. Ate, internet and rode around town. Found a much better spot to camp in gazebo on grounds of abandoned apartment complex right across the road from the beach. Location, location, location. Found running water and power as well! Walked along beach front promenade during early evening. Bed 2200.
23/08/12 - Rest Day at Cide. Wash clothes, walk to centre of town - no sights here. Back to base to relax.
24/08/12 - Start 0930, alt 10, villages every 10-15km, nice rolling hills to start with. 26km mark Kurucasile - eat, rest, 1315 get going. 32, 34km marks stores, big undulations, 41km mark, 1500, store, rest. 43km mark setup camp inside roadside hut, half way up big climb in tiny spreadout village of Meydan. Got water from nearby house, showered, cooked, bed 1900 - although kept awake by locals playing loud music till midnight.
25/08/12 - Start 0815, alt 160, 7km mark stores - eat tost, 0945 get going. Two big climbs to over 300m alt then back down to sea level, some nice rolling hills in between. 29km , 1300 Amasra - eat, ride around town, internet, camp in locals backyard. 1900 wander around town, beachfront, eat, internet.
26/08/12 - Rest Day Amasra, relax on beach, wander around town.
27 2227/08/12 - Start 0815, alt 10, big undulations, 8km mark - store, 17km mark 0945 - Bartin, eat, rest, change money. Road flattens out. 40km mark store. 71km mark Cacumya, 1545 setup camp abandoned house backyard. Got water from nearby house, shower, shave, eat, internet, bed 2100.
28/08/12 - 0400 started to rain, stopped 1100. Waited for tent to dry, start 1230, alt 50, villages/stores every 5-10km. Showers/rain all day. Headwinds, long gentle climb for 35km to around 350m altitude, then gentle descent into Zonguldak. Big city, couldn't find any undercover camp spot so headed west towards Eregli. 1815 found deserted carwash area undercover at back of Shell servo with no cameras. Decided to hang here till dark before setting up camp and drying out - it was raining heavy now.
29/08/12 - Start 0730, alt 35, road works, Villages every 10-15km, 15km mark store, not many services. Steady climb up to 440m, then undulating around this mark before dropping down to Eregli. Bumpy bitumen. Eat, ride around town, update website, cycle along waterfront promenade, dock area. Visit ship museum. Met couchsurfing host Bulvent at 2030 - went for some drinks with some of his friends. Bed 0100.
30/08/12 - Rest day at Eregli. ride around town, visit caves, relax. 2000 met up with local cycling club and joined the parade/march through the city streets to celebrate Turkeys' victory in the war.
31/08/12 - Start 0730, alt 40, towns every 15-20km, flat following coast, headwinds, heavy undulations after Ackakoka. Villages every 5-10km, back to coast, flat & headwinds return from Karaburun on. Rolled into Karasu 1515. Ride around town, eat, internet, setup camp on vacant block opposite beach with other tents.
01/09/12 - Start 0815, alt 50, villages every 5-10km, rolling hills away from coast. 1115 Kaynarca - eat, rest. 1315 Kandira, internet, eat, found vacant block - setup camp under shady tree. Shower, shave, wash clothes, eat 1615, bed 1900, Polis 2030. Loudspeakers very close and loud.
02/09/12 - Start 0800, alt 65, rolling hills through hazelnut farms. villages every 5-10km, 0930, 22km mark Akcaova - eat, rest. Flat road from Agva for a bit then undulating again. 46km mark 1115 Gokmash - store, rest. 1500 Kumbaba. setup camp on vacant block at dead end street near beach. Swim, shower, shave, eat, walk along beach to Sile (45min each way) Bed 2030.
03/09/12 - Rest day at Kabumba. Walk to Sile along beach - the most direct route, about 45 minutes each way. Wander around town - check out waterfront, dock area, remains of castle (no access) and lighthouse. Internet - update website, relax on beach - water too cold for swimming. Bed early for another good, quiet nights sleep.
04/09/12 - Start 0815, alt 05, undulating, road works, relatively light traffic. A few overpriced eateries on road side but nothing else. 1130 rolled into Istanbul. Eat, internet and ride around town to locate hosts' place (in another hilly area as usual) Eat again before meeting my host Huseyin at 1800. Got a nice home cooked dinner, internet, bed.
05/09/12 - Rest Day at Istanbul, catch metro/ferry to European side and sightsee. Walked around visited Taksim area, mosques, parks, back streets.
06/09/12 - Rest Day at Istanbul, back to European side, wandered around town and visited palace and underground cistern. Met up with my host 1900 to join local bicycle club for night ride. Back to base and bed around midnight.
07/09/12 - Rest Day at Istanbul, catch 0930 ferry to Buyukada Island and ride around. Cool place with no cars - just bicycles and horse and carriages. Nice old ottoman empire mansions and houses. Two big hills - one with church/fire station tower (great views here of Istanbul) the other with crumbling wooden buildings.
08/09/12 - Rest Day at Istanbul, slept in and joined host for hoon around Istanbul in the afternoon/night on our bikes.
09/09/12 - Rest Day at Istanbul, slept in , wandered around town with host and a couple of his friends. We visited a traditional turkish bathhouse (hamim) and spent a couple of hours relaxing there. We then drove up to a park overlooking Istanbul by night.
10/09/12 - Rest Day at Istanbul, do sweet fa.
11/09/12 - Start 0900, ride along coast to catch ferry across to european side (there are 2 bridges but bikes are forbidden to go across) cycled along the coast as much as possible as there are some bike lanes there, but they eventually ended and I had to join the rest of the traffic. Big cities/industrial areas all the way, undulating. 1200, 40km mark met polish couple on bikes heading the same way as me (weren't very friendly and didn't seem interested in my trip so quickly left them behind and never saw them again) Side/headwinds. 1630 rolled into Mimarsinan, small spread out town along the shore. Found a nice quiet place to camp on top of a cliff overlooking the beach at a dead end street. Got water from a nearby house. Showered, ate, bed 2030.
12/09/12 - Start 0830, alt 25, servos every 5-10km, side/tail winds, 12km mark saw 3 cyclists heading the other way. 21km mark ate at roadside truck stop. 22km mark spotted 2 more cyclists heading the other way. 36km mark, 1130 rolled into Chorlu. Ate, rode around town and got on internet. I was meeting my host at 1600 in a suburb further to the west. Very friendly family, got a nice home cooked dinner and we talked till midnight.
13/09/12 - Start 0900, alt 145, towns every 10-15km, servos, industrial areas, undulating, 1-2m shoulder, 1145, 47km mark Luleburgaz - eat, rest. 1330, 69km mark arrived at Babaeski. Eat and got on net and arranged to meet my host nearby at 1530. Met his friends for a chat, visited a local restaraunt for dinner, bed 2200.
14/09/12 - Got a great big breakfast from my host, Start 1215, alt 75, undulating, side/head winds, 1400, 28km mark Havsa - eat, rest. 1545 rolled into Edirne and easily found the shopping complex where I had arranged to meet my host at 1800. Ate and relaxed. Met up with host Orcun (student studying medicine) unpacked, cleaned up, dinner, walk, bed 2230.
15/09/12 - Rest Day Edirne, wander around town with host, internet.
16/09/12 - Rest Day Edirne, wander around town with host, met up with some of his friends, internet.
17/09/12 - Start 0800, alt 50, undulating strong headwinds all day. towns at least 1km off main road. Couple of servos en route. 1100, 43km mark, servo/restaraunt/market - eat, rest. 1200, 44km mark got turkish exit stamp, 1215 through Bulgarian side, no stamp as I'm euro citizen with Hungarian passport. Change money, servo, restaraunt, casino and sex shop on Bulgarian side. Smooth bitumen although shoulder which was on Turkish side is gone. 1230 pedal on. 1400, 73km mark rolled into Elhovo, alt 140. Eat, internet. Found camp spot in park in residential area. 1630 setup camp, eat, bed 1930. 24C overcast/sunny
17/09/12 - Start 0800, alt 50. Undulating, strong headwinds all day. Towns at least 1km off road. A couple of servos. 1100, 43km mark - servo, restaraunt, market - eat, rest and spend remaining Turkish currency. 1200, 44km mark - exit stamp. 1215 through Bulgarian side - no stamp, change money, servo, sex shop, casino, restaraunt, shoulder gone (which was present on turkish side). 1230 pedal on. Reached Elhovo 1400, 73km mark, alt 140. Internet, eat. Found camp spot in park in residential area (asked local if ok) 1630 setup camp, eat, bed 1930. 24C, overcast/sunny day.
18/09/12 - Start 0915, alt 110, 10km mark servo, first 12km mark rough bitumen then smooth. Light traffic mainly trucks. Not many services along the way, towns are off the main road at least a couple of kilometres. Rolled into Yambol 1200, eat and locate my hosts place. Met up with their family 1300, clean up and wait for my host Hycristian to arrive.
19/09/12 - Start 0915, alt 130. towns every 5-10km, servos, flat smooth bitumen, headwinds, no services after servo at 22km mark. 1330 62km mark rolled into Kotel. Alt 485. Ate at first restaraunt (sausage, chips and tomatoes) brief shower after overcast day 20C. Rest, gypsies starting to appear yielding axes and travelling by horse and cart. Ride around town, internet. Setup camp on top of hill 1630. Wander around town. Cook, eat, relax, bed 2030.
20/09/12 - Start 1015, alt 500. Waited for tent to dry after morning frosts. 16km mark, 1100 Ticha - store, rest. 28km mark store. 1300, 39km mark Omurtag. 1515 70km mark store, nothing before just ghost towns. Rest in shade, hot 28C, undulating <8%. 1645, 83km mark - Popovo. Showers started as soon as I arrived - going for most of night. No internet in town but a local showed me a free wifi spot at bank. Headed back to local markets to camp there as it was covered and was closing around 1900 (I bought some pastries and grapes there earlier when I rolled into town) Setup camp and in bed 2030. Police showed up 2330 but allowed me to stay once I showed them my passport.
21/09/12 - Start 0800, alt 205. villages every 5-10km, Stores 8,14,20km marks. 27,32,34,51km marks stores. 1115 Nisovo - eat, rest. 1400, 83km mark - rolled into Ruse.ride through town, eat. Rode across bridge into Romania 1530. Change Bulgarian money, no stamp required since I'm using Hungarian passport (romania part of european union) Just a single quick passport check. 1600 stopped at Giurgiu as it was now showering to get out of the rain. Found a local pub with covered outdoor seating area and pulled in there. Got invited in by a local patron there. Iulian lived with his daughter in an apartment not far. I followed him home a short time later. Very friendly, had no hesitation helping me even though I was smelling like a wet dog. We talked for a while and he prepared a hearty dinner (schnitzel, fries, salad and bread) Also sampled local liquor and wine.
SUMMARY - GEORG?A
SUMMARY - TURKEY
FINALLY RELAXING IN GEORGIA
30/07/12 - Start 0815, alt 485, villages every 5-10km, 1230 61km mark Gori. 72km mark unsealed back roads for 6km. Undulating green countryside, narrow quiet roads, people don't hassle you. Back on main road, 1530 start to drizzle, setup camp on roadside in undercover abandoned garage at Agara 96km mark. Cook, sleep, noisy and busy road.
31/07/12 - Start 0800, alt 655, 0845 Khasuri, eat 1200 Borjomi. 1500 village Atskuri, store, 78km mark, setup camp in abandoned railway station with view of crumbling fortress on hilltop. Well on main road, undulating, smooth, sticky bitumen. Half day headwinds 30C. Dogs starting to appear and getting chased. 1830 showers. Apple and cherry trees with good fruit here at station too. Overnight rain.
01/08/12 - Start 0830, alt 920, villages every 5-10km, bumpy bitumen, 19km mark met swiss couple on bikes and gave them my Central Asia LP as I had no more use for it and they were heading that way. 1030 eat, 50km mark met ozzy Heinz and Iranian Ali riding mtbs just with a couple of plastic bags strapped to their rear racks. Joined them as they were heading my way (the first cyclists heading my way since I left Australia!) They were based in Tbilisi but decided to ride their bikes out this way for a week or two. 51km mark we had lunch together in restaraunt. From here the road became unsealed and we started climbing up to a big pass at just over 2000m. Tough climb with steep sections and rough, rocky road. 73km mark, 1745, village with store, rest. We reached the top of the pass at 1915 sitting at 2025m, stores here. Very rough slow descent, the boys went ahead as they were unladen and much faster than me - they were keen to ride into the night so I wasn't sure if we'll meet up again tonight. 2100 down at 1140m, 2145 104km mark called it quits as there was a big climb ahead that I wasn't up to climbing - I was knackered. Found a locals carport to setup camp under (lights were on in the house but it was late and I didn't want to disturb them, so I setup my tent quietly, had a quick wash and went to bed at 2230) Wasn't sure were the boys were, I'm sure I'll meet them on the road tomorrow.
02/08/1Start 0930, alt 720, 3km mark Khulo (top of hill) bitumen returns, eat at restaraunt 1100, villages every 5-10km, bumpy bitumen, gentle descent, headwind, hot. 1700 caught up with Heinz and Ali and joined them for ride to Batumi about another 40km away. 1900, 97km mark arrived at Batumi. Looked around for accomodation (dorm rooms were 25L) but we decided to camp on beach instead. Found a hidden place in a park near the beachfront promenade where I setup my tent, put my luggage inside, locked it all up and was able to get around on the naked bike with the boys. We went for a swim and shower and cleaned up, wandered around town, had dinner and returned to the deserted beach shore to sleep under the stars.
03/08/12 - Rest day at Batumi, relax on beach
04/08/12 - Rest day at Batumi, relax on beach
05/08/12 - Rest day at Batumi, relax on beach
06/08/12 - Rest day at Batumi, ride to train station with Heinz and Ali (they wanted to get back to Tbilisi soon - no trains but Ali found a bus so took off at 1400) Rode back to beach with Heinz to relax. Heinz decided to ride north for a bit then get a train/bus back to Tbilisi, we parted ways late in the afternoon.
07/08/12 - Packed up camp gear, washed clothes and prepared bike. 1100 went to beach to swim and relax while clothes were drying. 1230 lunch, internet and stocked up on food. 1400 got going riding out of town towards Turkish border via the beach front promenade. At 1530, 23km mark I reached Sarpi - the border town. Got exit stamp in ozzy passport (this would be the last time I'll be using it for a while, Hungarian passport from now on in) Bought Turkish visa for 20USD (as Hungarian national, multi entry, 90 days) ad got my entry stamp. Easy staright forward process, no forms to fill in, no bags checked. Feeling good decided to push on to next town for the night. Flat, headwinds, 2x2 road with 1-2m shoulder. 45km mark rolled into Hopa. Setup camp undercover inside volleyball stadium. Found water source, supermarket, internet, cook. Overcast, drizzle 28C