INSANE: Thought for The Day: from Tekirdag to Silivri - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

January 27, 2014

INSANE: Thought for The Day: from Tekirdag to Silivri

BY MORNING THE TENT IS DRY. Hung up in the hotel en-suite bathroom which has a warm-air-blower. In fact I'd taken everything out of the panniers: they're no-longer water-tight so most things were a bit wet. The vulnerable stuff like computer I keep in the one safe top bag.

At breakfast I'm sitting at a window seat, looking out upon passing cars and trucks on the highway. Cars with snow on their roofs. A gritting-truck passes. The rain has turned to snow overnight. Though being near the coast, it's more wet than white outside.

I've eaten my fill of white sheep's cheese and black olives, then rise from the seat and go over and grab hold of a bundle of two panniers per hand and the top bag and move awkwardly through to reception. There's unnecessary stuff in the bags which add to the weight and awkwardness. I'm glad at reception to set them down while settling the bill. Its possible to pay in either euros or Turkish Liras. I choose the later, so the receptionist looks at the euro to Lira exchange rate on the board behind him, then tells me the overall bill is 158 Liras... A lot more than I had expected to pay. Though hand over the money without complaint. Then pick the bags up again and carry them out through the sliding-glass-doors. Going out from the warmth of the heated lobby, the perishing cold straightaway smarts my face. And having put the panniers down, I grapple quickly into the front right pannier for my alpaca wool hat and gloves.

There are patches of ice in the car park and the ramp up to the rear of the hotel where there's a leisure centre in which the bike is stored, is like a bottle, making me think what conditions will be like on the road. With the bike carefully taken back down to the front entrance, I take a rag and am just about to set-about wiping off the sandy grit and grime from the chain and stays splashed up off the road in the day before's rain, when the glass-doors slid open and out come the receptionist.

"There's been a mistake sir" he announces. Oh. Don't tell me I've paid too little. Then see the cash in his hand and kind of know what's coming next as he continues. "We made a mistake with the exchange rate and overcharged you." Then hands me two twenty-Lira bills and a five, reducing the price to 113. The initially price which was in my head for the room plus the few soft drinks from the mini-bar.

The first couple of kilometres sweeps downhill. Not what is needed to get warmed up and the brakes are used a lot, as I'm fearful of allowing the bike to pick up momentum because of likely icy patches. Meanwhile, convoys of three and four trucks lurch pass, going slowly downwards in first gear. Below is Tekirdag, a jumble of high-rise blocks along a bay with the grey sea to the horizon; whereas, on the inland side, petrol stations and metal clad buildings line the road, behind which, the square patchwork of fields across the treeless rolling hills have a dusting of snow.

One of the many petrol stations which line the route.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

Tekirdag stretches on to the right between the highway and the coast for a good ten kilometres. And after that initial descent the road went up and down a lot, so it isn't long until I warm up. I've forgotten its still Tekirdag until passing a sign: TEKIRDAG with a red diagonal stroke through it. But soon there are other towns ahead that aren't on my map. Staying on the highway they have little negative effect on progress, apart for having to watch for traffic when crossing on and off slip-roads.

Then as expected, having seen a red road on the map come from inland and slant in, another highway merges from the left; and, although at this point there is a motorway alternative, the traffic goes from almost nothing to a steady heavy flow. And to make matters worse, the smooth shoulder ends, replaced by a mix of compacted gravel and rough potholed asphalt. And on stretches there is nothing at all, so I've to take my chances riding tight along the crash barrier.

Worse still the wind picks up. A cold northerly hitting me side on, reducing progress to a crawl. I had thought it possible to reach Istanbul today, but its beginning to look less likely at the present pace.

I struggle on to Silivri where there's a service road to the side. But it's hard to watch out for cars all the time pulling out from side streets in front of me, or micro-buses that blare their horn for me to get out of their way, so decide it's easier back on the highway.

About this time I'm hungry for lunch. I pass one place which looks good but it's on the other side and there's no way across. A little further the service road to the side is a shopping street, where there are a number of fast food places. But at this point the service road at the side is separated from the highway; which is up a steep bank and there's no way off and down. I don't feel like going further until having had some kind of break, so step over the crash-barrier and lift and haul the bike up and over after me, at the same time wishing there weren't those extra items in the panniers which aren't used and therefore not necessary. I roll the bike carefully down the bank. Its muddy; thick and heavy that sticks to the shoes like glue. I knock as much off as is possible on reaching the pavement at the bottom.

Sturdy matrons in muslim head wear and rapped warmly against the cold shuffle pass as I lock the bike quickly, feeling the cold. I begin to think it's insane touring Europe in January.

After a quick lunch of a hamburger with wrestling on the TV, I set off again thinking it is maybe possible to reach Istanbul before dark. But soon resign to the thought of stopping early as the wind becomes too much. Then with a flew pellets of sleet at first it starts snowing.

Just then there happen to be a roadside hotel on the left and, maybe I could continue on with panniers and myself becoming whitened. Though how far is it to the next hotel, there is no way of telling. So didn't hesitate over the idea of paying more than my budget for another night of sanity in out of the cold.

Lots of Mosques.
Heart 0 Comment 0
I call it a day.
Heart 0 Comment 0

You can never really tell though. The room is fine. The WiFi working to start with. Then when I get round to writing a journal page for today, the network goes slow. The network below in the restaurant has a stronger signal, so having taken the netbook and notebook down. I order a tea and take a seat, hoping to set to work. But, it fails to connect.

Returning to the room, its too early to lay down to sleep, so pick up a book I've in the bag for a while; given to me by an elderly American traveller back in Hungary. The first chapter has me hooked.

Ready to start. But...
Heart 1 Comment 0

Today's ride: 83 km (52 miles)
Total: 10,233 km (6,355 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0