Slept excellently well – reminded me too much of a nice warm snuggley bed at home.
Got a text of Tass in the morning, he’s leaving Istanbul at mid day today, I’m arriving tomorrow afternoon. Oh well, we’ll have to plan these things better next time – I only found out a couple of days ago he was even going to be in Istanbul anyway. But, if the Italian post service had just… Anyway.
Weather looks rainy today. Ahmet’s English is good, but could be better. He seems to think I’ve come to see Tekirdag, and doesn’t really understand that as a cyclist I want to leave early to cycle a big distance towards Istanbul. Had breakfast with Ahmed and his wife, and left to the court house to get my bike at about 10. I used the internet quickly to book a hostel in Istanbul (looks like I actually might make it in my predicted timescale). Left and on the road cycling by about 10:30am. Big thanks to Ahmed and his family though for their hospitality.
Half a km later I see a lone female tourer on a Recumbent with loads of luggage. She’s going the other way across a 4 lane highway though, but we exchange a knowing wave. I wonder where she’s going and has been. The headwind has stopped, but has been replaced by incessant rain. I really miss having the rear mudguard, and my bright yellow cycling jacket has a mud stripe down the middle of the back pretty soon, and the stuff on the trailer is soaked in dirty water.
Make surprisingly good progress though. I text Jo and Alex – they’re in a different hostel, but close by to mine, and they’re around for a few days. At 60km I see a campsite, and in the pounding rain I seriously consider it. A french campervan goes in, and despite my GB sticker being completely obvious, they ignore me totally. Decide that snooty French are not for me, and continue.
At 70km a sign says there is camping in 10km. That’s about my target for the day, so it will do nicely. I follow signs to Selimpasa, where the trail goes dead. Some young guys at a cafe wave me over, and they buy me tea. The cafe was very smokey and dim, with guys in the back playing cards. Sign on the wall says tea is 10p, but it’s taken care of. I show the guys the map with the campsite marked. They point to Selimpasa and say “Selimpasa”. Yes, I know where I am, I’m looking for the campsite – mine sleeping and tent. They point at Selimpasa on the map, and point further into the town. My intuition says that I’m right, and I leave going to opposite direction.
I find another sign for camping, and turn down the road. There are so many new houses with big gates and guard dogs. Later I would find they are no even on the satellite photos on Google maps. A final sign says camping 2km. I follow the road for another 3km and give up. There is one house without gates and dogs, so I go in and ask the owner if there is a campsite. He says I can put my tent in the garden. It’s a strange place, there is a big covered area with lots of seating, but not many other people around. The people are friendly though, and they bring me tea. They ask if I’m hungry, and I say I’m ok, I have my own food. They bring out a huge steaming plate of delicious food anyway – fantastic!