A horse walks into a bar…
If you‘ve been following me on Facebook, you already know me a bit. And some of you might ask: „Why are you so bloody pessimistic? Why do you have to swear so much? Why do you have such a bad temper? Why do you drag everything and everyone through the mire? Why is there so much sarcasm in your articles?” Well, in this article I’ll try to explain all that, because, in the end, I am not pessimistic at all, I don’t hate the universe, humanity, or, you.
Through the Plain towards PamukkaleAfter leaving the Mediterranean we headed east on a straight and almost flat road. Our next destination was Pamukkale. We passed the ruins of Efesos without entering the ancient city. The fee to get in was probably exorbitant anyway and I had no knowledge of the city’s history. A visit would have been nothing more but strolling among some old stones.
After Efeler we turned south for a few kilometers to get away from the heavy traffic of the main road, then headed east again, onto a smaller sidetrack that ran along the base of the mountains delimiting the plain we were riding through. Riding here instead of the truck-infested four lane trunk road was far more rewarding.
Izmir Sightseeing with Sencer
The metropolitan area of Izmir is situated on the shores of a large bay that reaches almost fifty kilometres inland and is surrounded on all sides by high mountains. All along the flat shoreline and lining the lower slopes of the mountains air-conditioned multi-storey buildings dominate the townscape. In contrast to Istanbul, where almost every square inch of soil was covered by concrete and tarmac, its narrow streets clogged with heavy traffic, Izmir had a lot more open space along the shoreline. The whole city was criss-crossed by wide boulevards and dotted with parks.
This Route is the BestAfter we had been riding through landscapes dominated by farmland and hills with olive groves on them, today was the first time we had to climb a longer slope. On our way to the first little mountain pass of the tour, an attentive Turkish man stopped his vehicle and felt the urge to explain the correct route to us. What Turkish people (amongst many others) fail to notice is, that we had already planned a route and knew exactly where we were going. They were also oblivious to the fact that cyclists preferred different types of roads and terrain than drivers of cars or lorries. Roads that are impassable for them might be just perfect for us and a wide, well paved highway that you can rush your car on at high speed are one of our worst nightmares.
If your have read the first two articles (Start in Istanbul and Wild Trips through Istanbul), written by Malte, you have learned that our trip began in a rather turbulent way. As a master of procrastination I managed to put off all preparations until it became almost impossible to sort everything out before our departure. The bikes were ready to ride except for some small details like mudguards and front racks that were still not attached to the frames.
In the last article I had explained how Ollo, Mia, Etti, Jani, Boris and I traveled to snow-ridden Istanbul to celebrate Ollo’s and Mia’s world cycling tour.Jani and Boris had finally managed to get to Istanbul and the plan for this Friday afternoon was to visit the sights of the city together. We went to Galata Bridge again – this time on a significantly shorter route, although still not optimal – and crossed the Golden Horn to discover the touristic area to the south of the bay.
Plans for conquering Istanbul
On the 18th of February 2015 it finally happened: Ollo and Mia began the second leg of their “Around the World” trip. The plan was to start in Istanbul and cycle for fourteen months through countries like Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, China, Laos, Cambodia all the way down to Singapore. And after that, who knows … maybe Australia. In 2011, Ollo and Mia rode from Passau to Istanbul on their Around the World ’11 trip — I’m sure Ollo will tell about it on the blog someday (Ollo: Yes he will). One day the idea to accompany them to Istanbul and bid them farewell came to our minds. Thus we all – that is Ollo, Mia, Etti (the king of bad jokes, already known from earlier articles), Jani, Boris, and I (Malte) – set out for the airport this Wednesday morning. It would become a memorable trip and now that Ollo and Mia have begun their world tour, Ollo proposed that I write a guest article to tell about the beginning of the journey.
Continue reading Around the World: Start in Istanbul