Final push to Istanbul! / 01.12.12

Lindsey and I crossed into Turkey from Bulgaria two days ago in Edirne. Our route from Plovdiv Bulgaria to Edirne is the only part of this trip that overlapped the first trip. We connected with Durukan in Edirne, who was a key connection on our first trip our first night, who introduced us to Volkan and his family (now living in a different part of Turkey), who wound up hosting us for a week while we waited for Nakia’s Bulgarian visa that us Americans didn’t have to worry about. Durukan graciously came through again, this time finding us an amazing and generous host, Ahmed, who is a chief on a container ship and is only home for one month in four. Lucky us, this is his time home! Thank You Ahmed and Durukan!

Beyond our homestay with Ahmed, in our first 24 hrs in Turkey we have already been showered with warm welcomes, encouraging and waving drivers, and plenty of Turkish tea from strangers on the street! Just last night, we met a friendly highschool geography teacher who took us to meet one of the local young pharmasists in a small town outside of Edirne. The pharmasist’s English was great and we hung out in his store the whole evening, talking about Turkey and travel in between a surprisingly high number of customers for a rainy night. We will have breakfast with the geography teacher this morning before hitting the road.

It is so interesting to see, again, that for what ever reason, people seem to be friendlier and more extroverted in welcoming strangers and travelers the further east (and south) we go.

Lindsey and I are now on the final two day 100km/day stretch to Istanbul and proud to be the only two on the team to be actually biking into Istanbul, though we wish everyone could join us. It was a cold and mountainous (and beautiful but with awful busy roads for half of it) round about loop we took in Bulgaria, but it allowed us to exit Schengen territory in time for visa issues, without resorting to forms of non-rice-fueled transport.

We look forward to the team’s rendezvous next week!

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  1. Andrew said on December 10, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I just wanted to point out that amazingly both ATLAS JET and our ferry from Thes. happened to be unique forms of transportation in that they converted old Sake for fuel. Japan has a small market for their old Sake by sending it to Turkey to get it converted to fuel for transportation (wikipedia.sakeBS/ So, technically, we also were Fueled By Rice… :)
    But seriously, nice work you two — and hopefully you’ve found some time to rest and recup.

    • Jim said on December 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      It strikes me that using even old sake for engine fuel is a terrible waste. It’s unfortunate the ferry company doesn’t use baijiu. Old or new, less baijiu would really make the world a better place, to say nothing of ensuring the safety of crotches everywhere, especially as they relate to fences.

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