Istanbul to Izmir – Breaking Tobias in…?
Days on the road: 125
Kilometres cycled: 4675
Countries visited: 16
Eventually, we left Istanbul. Her strangle hold was too strong for just the two of us, but now with Tobias in tow, we managed to break free of her clutches. To say we had an amazing time there would be an understatement; there is so much to do and see. Every single sense is constantly active; the smell of spices, the noise of the street and the extreme heat from the blazing sun. However, after three weeks of this, it got a bit much, and we had to leave! Istanbul is incredible, but it is not a place for quiet reflection or a dose of relaxation. Would we go back there? Yes, but there is no way we could live there. It is mental. Here is a video about our time there…hopefully this gives you an impression of how crazy this place is; it really is 24/7.
As soon as we were on the road, it felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We were back in charge of our destiny, of where we could go (apart from Pakistan and various other countries!) and what we did.
It was Tobias’ first day riding with a fully loaded bike. Tom and I were silently concerned about his ability to keep up with us. We thought back to when we first started and then imagined doing that through Istanbul…talk about being thrown in at the deep end!
Although we were concerned, we may have also been intrigued (and a little excited) to see how fit we were after four months of conditioning. However, the three weeks in Istanbul had taken it’s toll and once on the open road, our new American friend was speeding off in front off us, leaving Tom and I bemused in his trail of dust. No words were exchanged on the matter, but Tom and I both knew that this situation could get embarrassing for the two of us!
After our first nights camping in a national park, we were back on the road and the beautiful tarmac gifted us with a loving 10% uphill gradient in 40-degree heat, surely this would prove too much for our yoga practicing amigo.
Tobias challenged the road to a duel and this time he won, speeding to the top and again leaving Tom and I pondering our fitness. Our worries were soon squashed however, when we got to the top and saw the next hill in front of us. Tobias’ heart sunk and the weight from his life giving muscle, rapidly moved down into his legs, making them heavy and fatigued. Normal service was resumed and Tom’s self esteem and mine were restored.
But, all jokes aside, Tobias has done tremendously well on his first week with us. We’ve taken on some serious hills, a lot of kilometers, dripped liters of sweat and he did it all with very little complaining. Well done sir.
We’ve made it to the west coast, to another bustling city called Izmir. The road here was pretty boring to be honest, but it was made more exciting by the hills and the strong tailwind we had behind us (adding about 5km an hour to our average speed). We slept by lakes, in Olive groves, and in national parks, and for the first time on our trip, we slept under the stars. This was my first ever time sleeping under the stars, and it felt like a dream come true; gone were the days of envy when I wished I had the same stick-on-stars that all my friends had on their childhood ceilings. It’s so invigorating to fall asleep with a blanket of glistening diamonds above you and to be woken up by the gradually increasing warmth of the sun (or a cricket jumping on your head).
From here, we are heading along the coast and hope to visit some ancient ruins, the Valley of Butterflies and also jump off some cliffs. Then, we are heading to Antalya before crossing over to Africa to start the next big leg of our journey.
Any initial fears that Tom and I had about the dynamics changing with the addition of Tobias have totally dissipated. It had improved our camping efficiency, the quality of our meals, the laughter around the campsite and many other factors. The mood in camp has been very relaxed and full of laughter; all of us are seriously excited about the Africa leg and can’t wait for the physical and mental challenge that lies ahead of us.
Peace out and thanks for reading. x
Posted on July 20, 2012, in General and tagged american friend, Around the world by bicycle, cape town, clutches, Cycle around the World, Cycle the world, cycling Africa, cycling Turkey, Daring Dynamos, extreme heat, Festivals for All, H4TH, Hats for the Hill, Kerven Bros, Kerven Brothers, NUCO, NUCO Travel, OnePiece, Phil Saunders, quiet reflection, Spotify, Tobias, Tom Nelson, travel, vacation, VADO, War Child, War Child UK. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.