Back on the Road…. ASIA!!!
On the morning of 30 June, I woke up extremely happy with a smile as big as someone who got a present for the first time. I was lying in my cozy bed and as I glanced to the left I saw my brand new bike and to the right all my red pannier bags packed and ready to go…. it was finally time to start my long cycle through Asia!
As I cycled along the long, flat cycle route along the Istanbul coast for the last time, I thought about my time in Istanbul, great experiences, all the new people I met and everyone that helped me so much. I could never thank all the people that was so kind, helped me and took me into their lives while waiting for my new bike. I had awesome times with many overly friendly Turkish people. Just want to thank Bisiklet Gezgini in Istanbul for all the help! They have been amazing!
I took my “Asia start photos” next to the coast and then… I was off! “”Finally” I thought… “Finally, Im back on the road”!!! I was waiting for this moment quite some time, long before I even started this long and lengthy adventure.
It was a beautiful, sunny Monday and I had to get to Ankara before Friday, as I had to apply for a new passport because my current one is running out of pages very quickly. Ankara was only 450km away, but I knew it was going to be a very tough week of cycling. Not being on the bike for over a month, had a new bike to get use to and average a whopping 100km per day, was going to be extremely tough. But as usual Im up for a challenge and arriving after 14:00 on Friday was no option.
The first two days was extremely hilly, but flatten out as I reached a huge lake where there were fruit farms all around it. As I drove I stopped once in a while to pick some of the juicy, tasty fruits that was hanging from the trees next to the road. Pitching my tent again after such a long time was good and I felt free again…. me… out on the road, more new things to see, experience and people to meet. For a long time in my life I was wishing to get a chance to visit the Middle East and now I was taking it on… With my bicycle!
On the third and forth day my hamstrings told me they were out of practice and the stiffness was something I have not felt in a while. I knew I just need to push on and it will get better in about two weeks or 1000km. I cycled into a very busy Ankara on Friday morning a touch before 10 and headed straight to the South African Embassy where I met alot of friendly people, but only one from South Africa… which I was very surprised with. I could not find a host and after my admin work at the embassy I booked myself into a hostel, something that I rarely do on my adventure. I also had to take my bike in that they could straighten my wheels (something you have to do after the first few hundred km’s on a new bike).
At the bike shop I met Kevser the very proud owner of her new bike shop. She showed me again on how easy it is to convince me to take a different route! The new route will be tougher but so much more to see…. So it was not very difficult to change my mind :). In the hostel I met some great people from Iran, Iraq and Nigeria, all of which who was immigrating to other countries, mostly the US. I had a great time taking to some of them about some of the countries I will be cycling through in the near future. I took one more day (Saturday) to work out new routes, rest a bit and watch some of the world cup football games… oooo and ate as much as I can after not feeling very good after the first few days of cycling. The main reason was food and water, as I had to get use to new summer routines.
I woke up very exited on Sunday as I was looking forward to my new and much more exiting route….