- ODO 3443km
- Location Mine south of Bursa
- Weather 26-36 Clear
Istanbul was moody and hot as I left the hostel at 6:45am. Low grey cloud hung over the fishing district. Deciding to rain before changing its mind and blowing out over the Bosporus. The ferry was supposed to leave at 7:30am so I arrived ready to go through the silent streets of Istanbul on a Sunday. I found out looking at the board that the boat crew get an hours extra sleep on Sunday so I was left sitting by the water enjoying a shaft of light picking out an old steamer heading out to sea. A Spanish couple and Japanese retiree approached me to find out about my trip before I returned to the dock to get the ferry.
Turkey is a very militaristic country – for good measure with some of their neighbours. The process of boarding the boat needed the extra hour. My back panniers – attached permanently with cable ties were a particular issue and required a hand search by a scowling security officer. After repacking all my bags I boarded and found my assigned seat before getting up, grabbing a pastry and heading into another that had a view out of the front. The ferry was entirely enclosed so I filled my journey with some Tim Ferris videos before looking up to see the mountains of western Turkey fully emerge from below the horizon.
I rolled off the boat and hit the mountains straight away. Starting this late meant my climbs were in full 35 degree heat and I was trying a long sleeve shirt for the first time – to protect my arms – which turned out to be a little too hot for comfort and I rolled my sleeves up – defeating the point.
For lunch I stopped by a reservoir and had my bread and cheese. It went down well and I settled in to read a chapter of Infinite Jest just as that earlier pastry worked its way though.
For the rest of the day I climbed slowly, stopping to duck behind trees or into cafes and mosque toilets at regular intervals. Stocking up on water for the extra dehydration to come. At the same time a solid red saddle sore made itself known on my right cheek. A day for two firsts.
Luckily some nice locals stopped on their way past at lunch and gave me some flat bread – still warm from the oven – to ease my stomach.
As I rode out and up the villages got poorer and I camped out early by a large open cast mine. I stopped early to get rest for the next day and to let my stomach recover. My campsite was terrible. On open farmland a car and tractor came past as I was camping and someone was shooting in the fields below as I sat and wrote my diary of the day.