Day 58 – Selimpasa to Istanbul

Slept very well last night, and I needed it! In the morning I ate an entire box of coco-pops (1500 calories), and had tea from the owners of the house. My tent is soaked, but it still has to be packed, and most other things are damp.
There is no one around when I’m ready to go, so I just leave. About 1km later I realise my chain needs a lot of oil – 2 days of rain have ensured that. On the road to Istanbul the traffic gets gradually busier. I see a typical new gated housing community at the top of a hill, and there’s a footbridge at the summit. The view should be good from the bridge, so I head for it. The bike gets bogged down in sticky clay, which then sticks to the tyres and scrapes off on the frame. It’s a mess! The bridge has both steps and a wheel chair ramp, but there is a gap of about 1m from the bottom of the steps and ramp to the ground, not that a wheelchair could get across the clay to the huge step onto the ramp anyway – Turkey clearly has further to go in complying with EU regulations before it can gain membership. The housing community looks exactly like the ones we found on a Geography fieldtrip in Canada and Michigan, and view from the bridge isn’t great.

Continuing on, I realise my bike and trailer are so dirty, any hostel will probably turn me away. I stop at a petrol station and jet wash it – it can’t get any wetter, and I’d rather is was clean and wet and not muddy and wet.

The traffic gets even worse, and a truck pulls me up a hill. But I have to get across two bridges, and the only way is the motorway. As soon as I’m passed the last bridge I turn off and follow the coast road round. A few people in a car parked in a layby by a park motion me over, and a small crowd gathers to hear my stories of cycling from London. The car driver and passengers say they are policemen, and offer to guide me to the hostel. They had been drinking beers, and the car has no markings, and they have no ID. But I accept their offer to follow, and within 100m I’ve lost them in the traffic. Kind of know where I’m going anyway though.

Find the hostel easlily enough, and it’s really nice. I settle in, use the internet, have a shower, and go off to meet Jo and Alex for dinner. It’s great to see them again and exchange stories of our travels since we cycled together in France 7 weeks ago.

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