Towns That End Where Another Begins: Istanbul to Somewhere on D100. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

February 12, 2014

Towns That End Where Another Begins: Istanbul to Somewhere on D100.

The original plan was to take a ferry across the Marmara Sea. But the young woman at the booking desk in the terminal building who luckily spoke English said, sailings are mornings at seven-thirty and afternoon, two-thirty. Can't see myself being up, breakfasted, pack all on the bike and ride to the ferry terminal for that time. And the afternoon sailing is equally hopeless. The sailing takes two hours, meaning I would disembark the other side at four-thirty with just over an hour or so of riding before it begins getting dark. There is also a second ferry route from the same quay; going off in a line south west to a place on the map called Bandirma, but I didn't know this at the time Is in the terminal.

Anyway I've decided the most straightforward way, is to leave Istanbul on the D100. The road I rode from the Greek border and this time, leaving the city, I won't be getting lost like on the day I arrived. Today its easy. I follow the coast from the city-centre and in the coming days, continue back to Kesan, where I'll take D550 south to and pass Gallipoli, to where there should be a ferry across the narrow straits which connects the Marmara Sea to the Mediterranean. I will continue south on Turkey's west coast until I get to one or other ferry ports with connections to Greece.

It could have been the anxiety of that terrible day I rode into Istanbul which meant I didn't feel like leaving yesterday. What a nightmare. However I'm ready to leave today. Shortly before setting off at nine, I pay the hostel bill, which has increased ten euros since yesterday and would be ten euros more if I postpone leaving until tomorrow.

The first part is on a cycle path with the sea on the left, which like all good things, come to an end and I ride on the sidewalk for quite a way until reaching a two lane service road on the inside of a six-lane highway. The main annoyance here are buses passing and almost immediately they pull in in front of me at a bus stop. And the cars on the service road which should be going slower, don't. Instead, go much too fast though the narrow gap between the bus and the outside reservation, making it risky for me to move out and around a bus stopped, letting off and letting on passengers. I don't hold any animosity against the bus drivers: they are just doing their job and it looks to be a miserable job at that; so perhaps, they can be forgiven for blaring their horn when they see a foreign cyclist in their road space. Though more generally in Turkey there seems an arrogance about driving. It would seem the car is a holy cow. I saw it in Istanbul, you daren't cross the street when there's traffic; not unless you want to get run-over. The cars parked on the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to walk out in the street to get around the obstruction they cause.

The buses and cars aside, today was relatively easy. It was warm and spring-like, albeit a little sticky; such a contrast to the weather I had in the days riding in the opposite direction. After passing through the last Istanbul suburb, there follows a serious of towns, one ending where the next starts. Then there's a stretch without a paved shoulder before and after the town of Silivri, though on this side, the loose shoulder is a lot more rideable than what I remember on the other side.

I keep riding until after sunset and was thinking of continuing in what light remains, to reach countryside ahead and there try and find a place to camp. But then I happened to be passing s hotel and the price when I pull in and ask is fifty Turkish, so I'm in. I now lay stretched on the bed while writing, as my legs have that burning pain from a day's cycling.

D100: heading back west.
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Today's ride: 81 km (50 miles)
Total: 10,393 km (6,454 miles)

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