Day 83 – Destination Istanbul

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Published: September 22nd 2023

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Breakfast OutlookBreakfast OutlookBreakfast Outlook

We had breakfast overlooking the pool and the Black Sea. What an outlook. Breakfast was one of the better ones we’ve had too. The tardus like stomachs of my travelling buddies defies reason, I don’t know how they do it and then ride straight after.
We got away at 9am, no hurry today as we only have 45kms to ride into Istanbul with a 2pm check-in, plenty of time.
Our ride out of Kumkoy is uphill, not too steep to start with but then it turns uphill viloently for almost two kilometers averaging 14%. None of us can get to the top without having to have a break. We regroup at the top and continue on to the town of Bahcekoy and then turn towards the Bosphorus River. Considering the climb we had just done it started with a great descent and also with Jeff clicking up 4,500kms for the journey. Well done Jeffa.
When we finally reached the Bospheros it was a surreal experience, we had crossed Europe from West to East, and only a few kilometers to Istanbul.
We rode along the promanade soaking up the atmosphere of what was obviously a tourist town. As

The BosphorusThe BosphorusThe Bosphorus

we got closer to Istanbul it became more suburban and the traffic started to increase. We passed 3 massive bridges that crossed the Bosphorus or put more grandly from Europe to Asia. Eventually the promenade ran out and we had to ride on the road. That’s when the fun started. The traffic seemed to work on Rafferty’s Rules, anything goes. Drivers would poke their noses into any gap and then just go for it, whoever hesitates waits. Cars would just stop on the side of the road without warning banking up cars behind them, horns blaring loudly. It’s a bloody miracle the streets weren’t littered with car wrecks or crumpled cyclists.
As bad as it was, it got worse. We had to cross a bridge to get to the souther part of Istanbul and it was chaotic. We had anticipated we would have ample time to get to our accommodation but we would eventually make it just on 2pm. Istanbul sits on top of a massive hill that falls to the coast around it, not something I was aware of. We choose to go around the waters edge and avoid the massive hill to get to our apartment. Our

SaiyerSaiyerSaiyer

apartment is on a very busy street, or more correctly, lane. The cars come to a standstill and horns start honking. Scooters and bikes zip in and out, all the while pedestrians walk on the edge of the road. Just pure chaos.
We arrived safely but stressed at our accommodation and check in, and it was only then that it dawned on me that we had completed our journey. What had started as an idea and morphed into a plan and then morphed again multiple times enroute had come to an end. We all high fived each other and congratulated oursleves, as we should, and I considered what exactly we had, or I specifically, had accomplished.
For me it wasn’t to find the answer to any existential questions, or a mid life chrisis. For me, as it usually is, is to challenge myself. To put myself into uncomfortable and tough conditions and to work through them. Sometimes I did well, very well, and sometimes I did poorly, but not many people of our “vintage” could have completed, or even want to complete, what we had done. And we had done it. 79 days since we had left London

Local enjoying the riverLocal enjoying the riverLocal enjoying the river

way back on July 5th, with 64 riding days and 15 rest days, 64 different hotels/apartments, 64 pack ups and unpacks, climbing 20,000 meters and covering 4,500kms and averaging 71kms per day. My legs strained under the pressure, I carried a hamstring strain for the last 2 months nursing it through each day and I had multiple aches and pains in both legs that came and went. I’m looking forward to NOT riding for the next week.
We went out for dinner to celebrate in a very lively part of town, lots of people about, and every place was a restaurant with hawkers out front trying to entice you in. A stroll back to the apartment picking up some baklava on the way back to have with coffee, and tomorrow the we hit the sites of Istanbul.
Distance travelled today: 43kms
Distance travelled so far and the end of our journey: 4,570kms



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https://www.travelblog.org/Middle-East/Turkey/Marmara/Istanbul/blog-1079981.html

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