My ride across Turkey took about three weeks in total. Plenty long enough to find yourself building little habits and routines into your day based on the towns and countryside you’re traveling through. Waking up in the mornings in my tent, I’d listen for the crashing of waves, so certain was I that I had found yet another beautiful cliff top camping spot the night before.
It was almost ridiculous by the end. If my wild camp site wasn’t next to the sea, with a nice flat grassy floor, and shielded by bushes and trees for privacy, then I wasn’t quite happy! My best find was a perfect little cliff top soft spot, with steps down to the sea to swim, and some suitable bushes to hang my clothes to dry on too. Few campsites I’ve ever stayed at have managed to offer quite such good facilities!
Turkey also gave me every reason to expect the roads each coming day to be smooth well paved numbers, usually with a pretty fair margin on the right I could cycle in. Tunnels I came to were well lit and wide, and I would always expect to find a fresh water tap placed for public use every few kilometres. It is then a rather fine life cycling across Turkey, with the only spanner thrown in these works being, the hills!
I knew the hills were going to be there, but even so, as you find yourself grinding up the fifth ascent of the day in your lowest gear, sweating and tired, you long for that crest and the expected downhill the other side. When you then reach the summit and instead find another incline tucked away on the other side, it’s definitely a moment for a square of chocolate or two!
For all its ups and downs though (!) Turkey was extremely good to me. The people were always friendly, offers of chai plentiful, and ice creams available in every corner shop from one end of the country to the other.
By the time I found myself camped one evening on a little cliff top look out over the sea as usual, with the Georgian border in sight I was a little relieved if anything. After three weeks cycling along a fairly similar coastline I was excited to get into a new country and turn inland away from the sea and towards (well, around) the Georgian mountains.
As I sat looking out to sea from my tent, watching the sun go down and eating a hearty cyclist’s dinner of bread, cheese, and water, I was sad to be leaving Turkey but excited for the road ahead.