From pot-holes to Turkish carpets

26 October 2012 – Time is flying, even if you are not working anymore. We now have a lot of sympathies for retired people who never have time.

Leaving Malko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

We’ve been six days in Bulgaria and on Thursday we crossed the Turkish border. A very odd feeling because the border isn’t as any border we’ve seen before. It is on top of a hill – yes, we had to climb for about 9km and reached the Bulgarian border police after 1.5 hours cycling.

Did I already mention that Bulgarian uses Cyrillic letters? This is the sign to Istanbul. Glad I took Russian at university, since hardly any signs on the countryside use latin letters.

There was again no traffic at all and while we were expecting truck and car queues there was just nothing. The Bulgarians seem to be a bit smarter concerning their roads – even though the road is marked orange on our map, which is the second best category, it is as bad as a white road with huge pot-holes and attempts to repair the road, which also means that downhill rides go almost as slow as the uphill climbs. BUT there is still a toll to be paid, which means, no truck driver is using this road unless he has to go to one of the villages on the way. But most likely this is just another lonely road with close to the Black Sea.

After Johan got his visa and stamp and I only the stamp (Germans don’t need a visa) we were crossing the border…

…and suddenly cycled on a brand-new three to four lane highway with a shoulder that is between one and two meters wide, which really feels like cycling on a Turkish carpet, so smoothly it rides. I am sure a cyclist planned this road. This is cycling heaven and continued until our first Turkish destination Kirklareli.

Refilling our water bottles along the road

There was hardly any traffic which made us really happy since we had a few tough traffic days behind us. We still didn’t get far, riding was as heavy as the day before: up and down and up and down, countless times with up to 10% climbs and a speed between 5 and 6 km/h. We reached Kirklareli at around 3pm and decided to stay to join in the islamic festivities Eid al-Adha. We still had a few days left to get into Istanbul, there was no need to hurry.

8 thoughts on “From pot-holes to Turkish carpets

  1. When will you arrive in Istanbul? Thought I need to send you my ‘secret’ address – the most awesome hidden rooftop terrace right between Agia Sophia and the Blue Mosque🙂 Will send you in an email tomorrow!

  2. I love the details that you are including!

    Can you imagine the difficulties if you’d tried to do this expedition 20 years ago?

  3. Your reads like a real exciting book and excitement sets in with every update. Please continue the detailed updates. Have a safe journey through Turkey.

  4. I see you’re already in Istambul, so CONGRATULATIONS! I take it you will get a chance to do the town and, once again, rest your bottoms!
    Have fun and stock up on pastries..!

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