On my mind coming to Turkey was the thought of getting hold of some euros to pay for the fifteen euro visa on the border, thinking was now turning into more of a target mission to get hold of some, looking at the map in Bulgaria there was a less busy road that nips into Greece then to Turkey at a similar distance as travelling to Turkey direct from Bulgaria.
Crossing the border to Greece the shade wearing border guard glanced at the passport and waved me on very cooly, the heat and dry landscape hitting, reminding of when visiting Crete when i was younger. It was about twenty miles of cycling in Greece to reach the infamous cash point, which was as close as fifteen yards to the Greece Turkish border, five miles before reaching there, i asked a guy for directions him pointing and speaking in Greek, and looking at the bike miming what i thought was a hill up ahead, setting off further down the road and coming to a ford river crossing, this is what he must of ment..
Crossing the Turkish border and handing the guard a fifty euro note turned into what was like one of them games at the fair ground where you`ve got to watch three cups to try and guess which one has the coin under, entering to Turkey hit like a culture shock, though i don`t think it was Turkey as such, more the fact i`d passed through Bulgaria to Greece to Turkey in the space of a day, In Greece the clock was a showing an hour forward than Bulgaria.
Within fifteen minutes of cycling in Turkey, i was in a park eating fish, peppers and melon from a newspaper laid out on a picnic table ,drinking Raki with four guys, one playing a banjo.
Cycling from Silivri the town before Istanbul a guy pulled up in a new model transit van, wound down the window, the first thing he said was, Hi, i don`t speak a lot of English, would you like to put your back in the back, i`ll give you a lift into Istanbul, i politely declined,shock his hand pointing to my shirt explaining that im trying to clock up the miles to raise money for charity, random acts of kindness like this have been giving a massive moral boost.
Heading into Istanbul i`d heard the traffic was chaos to get into the centre, it was. Though car drivers did tend to watch out, there was a coast road on the map closer towards the city which was smaller than the main roads going direct into to the city, i headed for there, stopping to ask a taxi driver for directions, he said yes to all directions i was pointing,including where i`d just come from, amazing. Once on the road it was busy at times though i suppose more steadier than the main roads going in.
Istanbul was this humongous amazing place of a city oozing organised chaos, amongst the running of modern day trams, Mosques, kebabs shops, calls for prey, Turkish sweet shops, restaurants, office blocks, markets, rug shops and a cosmopolitan of people and more.
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Posted by Rob Brown