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On the road . February 2007 . Greece and Turkey

map route Greece and Turkey

Mavi Guesthouse [website] Istanbul, 17-02-07
To the pearl of the Bosphorus
Alexandroupoli to Istanbul (4 cycle days)
(a ride in the back of a truck; *259km; *1962+m)

Alexandroupoli - Greece to Kesan - Turkey (69km; 433m)
Kesan to Inercik (70km; 889m)
nercik to Kinali (80km; 640m)
Kinali to Istanbul (*40km; *35km truck ride; *?m)

Lots of firsts
There's nothing but farmland after we maneuver ourselves through the early morning traffic and out of Alexandroupoli. The side wind blowing from the north east is pretty strong and it is overcast. Every now and again the sun teasingly breaks through the clouds promising a beautiful day. There are roughly 45 kilometres to the border and after a couple of hours of pedalling, we can see the bridge over the River Evros, marking the boundary between Greece and Turkey. This is our first official border and from now on we know there's going to be a barrage of documents and control posts to contend with. At the same time the thought of absorbing new cultures, with customs far from what we are used to...

read on
hassling salesmen Tip of the month: how to handle the barrage of hassling salesmen!
Sometimes, just walking away or ignoring touts doesn't work. In Istanbul, Ali devised this come-back line, that worked well on several occasions and saved us a lot of annoying banter. Salesmen all over the world quite often use the line: You come from Australia? - or whichever country they think of at the time - to start up a conversation with you. Turn around and say: You come from Turkey? Since they don't expect this answer, they are often stopped in their tracks, which is enough time to walk out of hearing distance.

You can also beat them at their own game, when they point at their shop and say "carpet" or "shoes" or whatever it is they are selling. Retaliate by pointing at a taxi, saying the obvious: "taxi"; at a supermarket, exclaiming "supermarket" and so on. More often than not, it gets you a laugh and then they don't tend to hassle you after that.


Aleandroupoli (Greece) - Istanbul (Turkey)
258 kilometers and 470 meters (approx.)
Riding days: 4 only
Alti meters: 1962 meters
Weather: snow, cold, sleet
Best accommodation: Mavi Guesthouse Istanbul: one big family !

Special thanks to:
Bill for the energy packed halva • The farmer who seemed genuinely grateful that we chose his field near Kesan to camp wild on • Recep & Ali for letting us stay in the café at Istanbul Kent Sitesi • Pierre Yves & Simon for more fun times • Petra Jung from Cycle Parts GMBH for immediately popping a new VDO bicycle computer transmitter in the post; no questions asked. That is what we call great customer service

02: spoke + flat (Son)
03: back derailler cable (Son)
05: transmitter VDO speedometre (Ali)
26: Son's ankle...

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