Destination: Istanbul. Total 4036kms/2523 miles

Jumped on the bike this morning, saddle sores now a distant memory, to do the 25kms to the ferry port in Mudanya….but hadn’t bargained on this ‘lumpy bit’ on the way

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…so glad I had a fresher pair of legs to tackle it. When I got to the port, I asked directions to the ticket office from someone who spoke very good English, and it turned out he worked as a chef (in an Italian restaurant, of all things!) in Camden Town. One of his family party had dropped out from their trip, so he sold me his spare ticket. Otherwise I wouldn’t have got on board…..this high speed catamaran was completely sold out, everyone carrying suitcases on this passenger-only ferry, so I was surprised when they let me on with the bicycle. And the 2 hour trip across the Marmara Sea cost the princely sum of £4 (5 euros). You can’t get much cheaper than that.
And disembarkation was perfectly situated for the historic centre of Istanbul. Within 20 minutes I was checking into a Lonely Planet recommended backpackers hostel, which promised an open rooftop terrace for sleeping.

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I have very pleasant memories of visiting Athens when I was a student, and sleeping on an open rooftop overlooking the illuminated Acropolis. It was magic.

Well, the 22 bed dorm where I will lay my head tonight is not on the roof, but on the floor beneath , but still with a completely open aspect, and this stunning view of the magnificent Hagia Sophia

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…I will see it from my bed, illuminated, at wakeful moments during the night.
Now let me ask you a question: is it better to pay £7 (8 euros) per night B&B for this, or pay ten times the amount to be cocooned in an air conditioned hotel? And to boot, backpackers make great company. They are invariably young adventurous people, who come from around the globe, and have interesting  stories to tell.

Of course, I don’t yet know if I’ll have the company of a snorer tonight…..but it’s a gamble worth taking.
When I asked the young lad on reception about where to store the bike, he said “no, problem, I’ll help you carry it up to the balcony in your dorm”…..that’s up three flights of a spiral staircase!

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Nothing was too much trouble.
(As I pen this post at 17.10, a few dozen mosques in the vicinity have just started their call to prayer, and the combined wailing is reverberating around the city).

So, another end to yet another journey.I exceeded my calculated estimate by over 1000kms….but I’m not complaining. I got to see a few places that weren’t on my original itinerary, and I wasn’t disappointed with any of them. I also now have three full days in Istanbul, a prospect that gave a degree of urgency to the daily mileages. And I know I will not be disappointed. This is a city I’ve been longing to visit for a long time.
If you want my fleeting impressions of Istanbul, stay with me.
http://www.justgiving.com/Frank-Burns2

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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 13, 2014, in Kimbolton to Istanbul 4000kms: a crusader's route and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Alke-Brigitte

    Congratulations Frank !!!!
    wonderful that you have arrived safely in Istanbul.
    I have great respect for you.
    Good trip back to UK.
    Kind regards Alke-Brigitte

  2. Well done Frank!! Was worried about you at times when you spoke of packs of wild dogs. Enjoy your stay in Istanbul.

    All the best

    Peter and Fiona

  3. Well done! That was quite the adventure and I will miss your daily posts. Once you have had time to reflect, I would like to hear what equipment you travelled with and whether you would add or eliminate any items next time. You appeared to travel very lightly and I am curious how you managed that.

    • Thanks PedalWORKS! My equipment is always under review. After every trip I draw up two lists: things I wish I had taken, and things I will eliminate.
      If you look at the early posts of my Downunder ride last year (NZ & Australia), you will find photos and lists for that venture. But things have evolved even since then.

  4. Alison Burns

    We’ll done, Frank. Have really enjoyed your trip! Brilliant way to really see a country and to appreciate how the ambience can be so different in various parts of a country. Looking forward to seeing your photos and blogs on Istanbul. Enjoy the rest of the trip.

    • Thanks Alison….and you might have seen that I managed a detour to Bursa in the end. It meant putting in a 112 mile day to get there, but it was worth it.
      Thanks for the recommendation!

  5. Belated congratulations – I was away on holiday and far away from any internet or even mobile phone service (bliss). I have really appreciated reading about your journey. It’s been as good as a book, so I added the cost of a hardback to your Justgiving total. By now you’ll be back in the UK and starting to think of where to go next! I’ll look forward to following you then too. As for me, I think riding up the spine of the Pennines (mostly) on route 68 is the next long ride for me – supported by my wife and 8 month old son in our campervan. I may be travelling even lighter than you – 😉 – now there’s a claim!!!

    • Thank you Will. You are both generous in your comments and in your giving. Many have said I should put it all into book form……but then I would have to become a disciplined human being…..;0( But you never know….

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