71km Ipsala to Yenice

Just 200km from IstanbulWe slept well our first night in Turkey and woke up with hopes of a hot shower to set the day off on the right foot. Unfortunately our hotel, which looked so good through our tired eyes last night, turned out to be a bit of a shabby spot. When we turned the taps on we discovered there was no water at all, unless you counted the drops coming through the ceiling in the hallway.

We would have complained to the owner but when we went downstairs we found him asleep on the sofa, completely lost to our shouts of “good morning” and even to the sound of his mobile ringing at top pitch. Showers, who needs them. We gave up on the idea of cleanliness and instead stepped out into the chilly October air and crossed the street for breakfast.

When a steaming bowl of chicken soup arrived we were a bit surprised. We’d expected bread and cheese but we tucked in anyway and found this creamy soup delicious with a squeeze of lemon juice. The perfect thing to get us moving.

Soon we were tackling the hills of western Turkey. They don’t go very high but they do come one after the other, seemingly without end. A kilometer downhill, a kilometer uphill. Repeat a couple dozen times and you have a day cycling towards Istanbul. The wind continues to blow vigourously so between the breeze and the hills we were both windswept and jelly-legged by the end of the day.

Our first cup of Turkish tea revived us somewhat in the late afternoon – very different from the Moroccan tea, a dark golden brown with two lumps of sugar – but it wasn’t long before we sought out a camping spot in a farmer’s field, somewhere above the road. We can hear the trucks off in the distance and after a sleep we’ll head back to the highway to join them again on the path to Istanbul.

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