Gallipoli peninsula-Biga 108kms

Some days are just travelling days, and today was just one of those days: putting in the kms between one location and the next, sweeping through vast featureless landscapes, climbing and descending continuously……but today, to make things interesting, I had a strong headwind. So my work was cut out for me…..and it reached 30 degrees C……hey ho…

At the end of a hard day, you might want to anaesthetize the pain with a couple of beers…..well you have to remember Turkey is an Islamic state, and alcohol is not freely available…….but if you look hard, it is available, usually in little dark shops that also sell tobacco. You creep in, select your purchase, and it’s immediately put in a black plastic bag…..which, of course, tells everyone on the street exactly what you’re carrying. One lady today gave me a knowing smile….;0)
What people sit around drinking when they are socialising is the glass of tea


…the ubiquitous and cheap beverage of choice. I’m trying to imagine people in the UK going out for a “session” and ending up drinking ten glasses of tea!

Some of you have been concerned, on my behalf, about the danger posed by stray dogs. I did take some of the warnings seriously, and prepared myself. So let me tell you about my personal arsenal:


1. The water bottle, for squirting water directly into the dog’s face (apparently very effective, if you can aim straight); 2. Red pepper spray which, apparently, is also good against bears! 3. The dog dazer….sadly, I don’t think it really works…..or the dog’s I tried it on simply weren’t listening; 4. Finally, the good old stick. Now I haven’t had to use any of them, because only one dog, in Bulgaria, has made a half-hearted attempt to have me for breakfast. All the other strays I’ve encountered have been too underfed and lethargic even to raise a bark.
But let me tell you about the Hunting Shop assistant in Vienna who tried to sell me a taser gun. Because he suspected I doubted the effectiveness of pepper spray, he took me down into mysterious bowels of the basement, where all the serious firearms were displayed. He told me Austrians are allowed to carry handguns, and he said for only 89 euros, I could carry the ultimate in dog scarers, and feel entirely safe. But when I questioned him about the legality of tasers in other countries, I ended up telling him a couple of pepper sprays would be quite sufficient.
But…..don’t let any of this put you off cycling in eastern Europe. Things are never as bad as the ‘Tripadvisor’ reports make out to be.

And now, to make you all sick with envy…..I had a lot of “likes” and nice comments on Facebook about these photos. But do remember, you won’t get images like these staying in a hotel. The romance of sunsets like this one are irrevocably linked with simple conditions: cold showers, toilet block across the road, mosquitos, barking dogs……you get my drift. But last night, before I turned in, these were the images I had from my tent, which was west-facing across the Aegean Sea:







About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on June 10, 2014, in Kimbolton to Istanbul 4000kms: a crusader's route and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Stunning photographs Frank, well worth cold showers etc.

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