Blogs from Black Sea, Turkey, Middle East

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Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Safranbolu October 1st 2016

AMASYA to OSMANCIK 28 September, 2016 110 Kms SubT. Kms 3302.47 kms . Road Condition: Highway- goodWeather: showers at start, wet roads, after lunch- MILD 15c Time in Saddle: 5:00.15 hrs. Av Speed: av. 23 kph. Av Cadence. 66 rpmElevation: 950 m up; 800m downCalories burned : > 5000 This morning the rear wheel rim was sitting on the ground, tyre completely flat!! Pumped it up and prayed it would last to lunch. After three beautiful mornings, it was showering so didn't want to hang around. Arrived at lunch with tyre mostly deflated. Last 20 kms very squishy feeling and sound. Again pumped it up and road to tonight's hostel. Thankfully got me here. Changed tube whilst waiting for room to become available. Could find no evidence of cause in the tyre, either on the outside ... read more

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Amasya September 27th 2016

AMASYA REST DAY 2. 27 September, 2016. Today I needed to change the rear tube on the bike, clean away the mud from a few days ago, and take care of the drive chain. Afterwards walked up the mountain to a cafe near the Sultans' tombs. The views over the town were spectacular, and reinforced my thoughts that it is a town reminiscent of Florence, same earthy colours, mountainous back drop, river flowing through its centre, Mosques instead of Churches and a great atmosphere, at a fraction of the cost of the Italian city. Wandered back after consuming fried ice cream and two Turkish coffees. One of the benefits of cycling is the weight loss, which enables me to then eat what appeals! Checked on the tyre, semi soft, despite checking the tyre for sharp spikes. ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Amasya September 26th 2016

Posting photos of Amaysa and former unspellable town name ( without looking at it) before cyclists arrive and internet dies. Will provide thoughts later, haha.... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Amasra September 25th 2016

YUSUFELI to BLACK FLY ( river camp). Stage 105. 22 September, 2016 112.40 Kms SubT. Kms 3192.47 kms . Road Condition: river valley- ok, new work- goodWeather: cool until after river canyon ( 5 hrs later)-10c max; after lunch- MILD 15c Time in Saddle: 5:43:57 Av Speed: av. 19.6 kph. Av Cadence. 68RpmElevation: 1800 m up; 1000 m downCalories burned : > 5500 We climbed all morning after Yusufeli, 6000 feet up. Yusufeli, was an interesting small town, perched in a river canyon between high rock walls. It rained periodically yesterday so exploring town was tricky between rain squalls. Today the scenery was again beautiful. We may have been the last TDA riders to travel this route as another dam on the river is nearing completion and the dam water will cover most of the roads ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea October 30th 2015

A (Turkish) Delight to the Senses…… And so my next great adventure begins with a fairly decent (for me) departure time of 7:30am, with the first of my 3 flights across the globe to Istanbul, Turkey. First stop is Seattle and after a smooth breakfast flight of 2.5 hours I land at SeaTac, and spend my 3-hour layover relaxing in the Delta Sky Lounge, as usual. I find my favorite corner lounge chair – the one I had on my way to Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago – with the view over the concourse and the multiple takeoffs of Delta and Alaska flights headed around the world. Sipping on coffee heavily laced with Bailey’s Irish Cream, I doze until I hear the announcement that my flight to Amsterdam is boarding…..time to once more depart ... read more
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Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Düzce August 7th 2015

Escaping Turkey Many of our encounters with Turkish people were overwhelmingly welcoming. We had been welcomed in camps , on beaches, on boats and ferries by many Turks. In country parts and provincial cities ordinary Turks extended a warm welcome offering fruit and tea. These gestures and conversations showed us the traditional Turkish culture which puts a high value on welcoming strangers. They used what English they had and where they had little or none they chatted away in their native tongue and we knew by tone and gesture that we were welcome. Those who could muster some English were curious about anything “western” and quizzed us about life outside Turkey. Invariably they wanted to know our thoughts on their country. For example At the Black sea town of Akcakoca we camped right on the beach ... read more
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Turkey~ Black Sea Akcakoca 102 (8)
Exit Turkey for Bulgaria (5)

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea September 28th 2014

On marshrutka to Tiblisi September 27, 2014 Imagine your favourite Uncle or Grandpa and you have Uncle Idris. He is 83 years young and has been running Otel Doga, 5km outside Camlihemsin in NE Turkey in the Firtina Valley since 1994. First it was amasing how we met. We had taken a bus from Trabzon to Ardesen and had been dropped by the dolmus stop on the Camlihemsin road. The mini bus when it came was almost full (apparently it was market day in nearby Pazar). We clambered on with our packs in the gangway in between the chain saws and bags of shopping. I sat near the back and this elderly gentleman asked me where I was going. I said Camlihemsin and he then asked which guidebook I used. I said Lonely Planet and said ... read more
Otel Doga
Emine, Pakize and Jane
After lunch in Elevit

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea September 27th 2014

On marshrutka to Tbilisi September 27, 2014 I guess I have been smitten. Yesterday we walked up the Hala (Ayder) valley and caught sight of Mount Kackar at 3900m standing like a cathedral in the clouds above the ridge. It was majestic and shear. The Kackar mountains (actually pronounced Cach-car) form the Eastern part of the Pontic Alps that run along the North coast of Turkey. They continue to rise as the EurAsian plate slams into the African Teutonic plate to the South. They form an major barrier with 'proper' roads only going round either end. There are traversable passes which were trade routes in the summer in the distant past and which are now the domain of the keenest hikers. We stayed at the Otel Doga in the Firtina valley, the middle of the three ... read more
A house mansion in Idris's village, Yolkiyi
A classic foot bridge
A cheese and dairy shop in Camlihemsin

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon September 22nd 2014

On the bus to Camlihemsin September 22 2014 10am We arrived in Trabzon surprisingly fresh after a 14 hour night bus from Goreme. At the start it looked bleak: the two people in front of us had their seats tilted back and I had no room for my knees. They luckily got off at the first stop, Kaysari, and from then on Jane played 'seat cuckoo' and we had a double seat each for the rest of the journey. We had elected to come to Trabzon, Turkey's fourth largest city on the Black Sea coast, as a stop off between Cappadocia and the Kackar mountains and also to find Jane some new sandals as her Merrells had broken at the big toe thong. Trabzon is close to the famous Sumela monastery high up in a local ... read more
Getting my trousers repaired
Sumela monestery

Middle East » Turkey » Black Sea » Trabzon August 5th 2014

The Hazelnut is something I normally only dwell on during the winter holidays. Usually as part of the one pound mixed bags I buy at the grocery store for Thanksgiving. I have one of those lacquered wooden 'Tree Bark' bowls that I park on the coffee table like my Mom used to. Hazelnuts are easy to open, compact little brown spheres that crack into perfect hemispheres between my molars. It is the poor-man's Macadamia. I'd never given them much thought until now. It's Saturday morning and scurrying around me are a half-dozen, chattering women who look as if they've just stepped out of a 1910 Ellis Island 'new arrivals' photo. Loose fitting clothing, head scarves framing beautiful open faces. We're all tending to Ramazan cooking chores. Working together in the outdoor kitchen. Hacer ministers to an ... read more
Hacer Tending The Stove
The Source
Morning Chores




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