We are in Turkey for nearly one month now. So I want to give a little summary to discribe what happened to us in this nice country so far.
The route we took is the following. We arrived in Edirne from Bulgaria. Than we headed for Istanbul, at first on a nice big road. Just before Istanbul we took a north route and there where just building areas and a lot of trucks. The last bit was alright and quite strange. On a huge road we cycled on the wellpaved side line and thousends of trucks where driving beside us. From Istanbul we headed again to the Black Sea coast. From the big coastal city Ereğlı we drove a bit south, not to be just on the coast all the time. We came through Karabük and Kastamonu. Because we have heard that its most easy to get a Visa for Iran in Trabzon we cycled back to the coast at Samsun. From there the big highway took us to Trabzon, where we are right now.
In Istanbul we had a great time and we met a lot of other travellers in the Harmony Hostel. I think we can really recommend this one. Nice greets and thank you to everyone who was in our ‚little family‘ there. We stayed there for 5 days and could come out of our cycle rythm for some time which was good. My mind was a little bit confused afterwards, but I dont really know why. Anyway it was good to get on the bikes again. Somehow the world was still out of normal order for us the next days. In the first night we had to change our camping spot two times. The first time when we started eating there where some loud noises behind us in the forrest. It was already dark so we couldnt see it but later on we found out what it was. We googled days later and found out that on the eastern black sea coast in turkey there are a lot of brown bears. That made us a little more scared for the next nights camping. And the second time we had to leave our place in this night because there where some funny guys on the street just shooting with there riffles for fun. We could hear one bullet flying over our heads and than we didnt feel comfortable any more.
Also we felt more annoyed by the people than welcomed. In each village it was the same. The older people where looking a bit puzzled when they saw us but greeted gently. Then a children would see us and started shouting Hellllloooo again and again and others joined in until we left the village. But these bad feelings vanished after we got a little bit used to the way people look at us. And if we come to talk to people on the street or in the Supermarket there are always very friendly and openminded. They try to make conversations and with our very few turkish words, hands and feet we can explain where we are from and where we are going and so they often invite us for some tea.
The landscape changes very often. Especially if you climb a mountain range like we did a few times, you will always have different types of trees and different shapes of the mountains. Between Kastamonu and Merzifon there where some of the most beatiful mountains I have seen in my life. In Kastamonu we did some sightseeing and drove up the steep way to the castle. I liked this town very much because it has a beatiful old part and there are this small streets between the houses which are really ancient.
When we hit the coast at Samsun we already knew from other cyclist that there is a big highway and its flat and fast to get to Trabzon. So we did the 300km in record 2 and a half days. Because the coast is densely populated we had some problems to find good spots to sleep. So we stayed the first night right beside the center of Samsun down a hill from the highway. That was the reason why we left early with the first sunlight and so we did the next two nights. We thought we had to rush because its friday. But actually I calculated wrong (not the first time) and it was just thursday. So we had no problem to get our Visa for Iran. We filled out the forms at the embassy in the morning in Trabzon and got our passports back including a 30 days Visa for our next country. It supposed to be easy to extend it in a big city of Iran if necessary.
Now we are relaxing for three days in Trabzon, staying at a very cheap hotel. Last night we met three other travellers who came into the Internet Cafe we were sitting in. We heard that they are looking for a place to stay so we talked to them and they came with us to our hotel. Chris from Switzerland and Luke from Holland are backpacking around and Hardy had a very interesting way of travelling with a trailer and over 100kg luggage for 80 months through and around the world. We sat down in a park and Chris, Luke and me had a beer (illegaly outside) and we talked for some hours.
So far from Philipp and Chris to our english friends and fans =)