Blogs from Middle East


Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul September 22nd 2023

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 ... read more
The Bosphorus
Local enjoying the river

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara September 21st 2023

We had a bit of sleep in this morning because breakfast wasn't until 8am. We had to order off the menu so there was no syphoning any food off for later in the day either. Durusu Park Club Hotel was a little like a resort hotel but we seemed like the only people staying there. we were the only people in the restaurant last night and the only people at breakfast this morning so I'm not sure how they turn a profit. We had a small climb up from the hotel onto the D020. It's a full on motorway now taking lots of traffic. If wasn't for the emergency lane there's no way we would be riding on it. The noise from the traffic as we ride makes it almost impossible to hear each other. About ... read more
More of the same scenery today
Marking 4,500kms with a photo
Morning Break

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara September 20th 2023

We found a great place for dinner last night which meant we ate way too much, I also found somewhere that sells halva on the way back to the hotel so we all enjoyed some with a coffee back at the Hotel. Breakfast was a bit meagre this morning but considering we didin't realise it was included I guess we can't complain. We did manage to get on the road by 8:45am which was good considering the distance we have to do today. As soon as we left town the undulations began, up and down, up and down. Eventually this takes quite a toll on your legs. The scenery today was much more interesting. Up and down means lots of spurs and gullys. We are in an area that is mostly forested which provides for a ... read more
Note the Dog picture that's been added
Tom cresting a climb
Scrub around us

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara September 19th 2023

In Turkey there is a "Call to Prayer" a number of times per day. The "Call" is broadcast from the towers of the mosques but also from loud speakers around the bigger cities, one of which was directly outide our hotel window. I can tell you the first call today was at 5:48am!!!! Breakfast wasn't available until 8am today so it made for a late start. We didn't get riding until 8:45am and as normal it's always slow going out of a big town and all the one way streets didn't help. We were on the same road as yesterday, the D020. This road is being upgraded. In part it is a separated two lane each way highway with a big emergency lane to ride in, and in part, a dual carriage way with barely any ... read more
Very flat and featureless acenery
Tommy Again
The clouds help keep it cooler today

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara September 18th 2023

As we walked back to the hotel from dinner last night the thing we all noticed was that the temperature had dropped and the wind had picked up. When we looked out the window this morning, if anything, the wind had gotten stronger. We got away from the hotel at 8:30am after a good breakfast. I think The Plaza might just have been the best hotel we have had on the trip. Getting out of Edirne was hectic. The road we left on was extremely busy and in very bad condition with no shoulder at all. We had to be on our guard the whole time until we exited the city. We were then on a smaller road with no shoulder for a while, but much less traffic, until we turned onto the D20. This was ... read more
The newly completed D20 road
Before . . . .

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Edirne September 17th 2023

As we've come to lean, a rest day is not necessarily a day when we rest. We enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast at The Plaza where we tried a number of different breakfast options. The number and variety of cheeses was amazing as were the types of bread. There were many spreads (olives, walnuts, peppers and other ingredients) as well as the more typical western options. One of my favourite items though was halva - for breakfast!!! Tom and I journeyed out today to explore Edirne. We only had 4 sites on our list and 3 of those were mosques, with the forth being the Grand Bazaar (Altinay Kuyumculuk). I have never been in a mosque before and so I was quite interested to see what they looked like. The largest of the mosques was Selimiye Cami ... read more
The smell of fresh seafood was amazing
The Grand Bizaar
The Grand Bizaar

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Edirne September 16th 2023

Before we left this morning we all plugged in our destination, Edirne, into our route app, MAPS.ME (M.M). Those that follow the blog know I've been having issues with M.M and it was doing it again this morning. Jeff was the only one who get get the App to route along the course we wanted into Greece, Tom led us off. We had to back track a little way to go over a bridge and swing down into Greece. At this stage M.M gave me a route that was much shorter than Tom had for the back track, so we followed that and duely ended up on barely discernible dirt and grass tracks for about 2kms. Eventually we hit the main road and the "short cut" had cost us about 15 minutes. Not happy, Again! What ... read more
M.M sending us past the goats . . .
. . . on barely discernible grass tracks . . . .
. . . and on dirt tracks under bridges

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Fujairah September 4th 2023

Everyone knows Dubai. Or even Abu Dhabi. People even refer to them as countries. The country name is United Arab Emirates. And it is made up of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi (the biggest, by a lot), Dubai (the most well known), Sharjah, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Ajman, and Umm al Quwain. I highly recommend the Etihad Museum in Dubai which gives a nice breakdown of the formation of the country in 1971. But this blog is the first of others around the country that I would like to share. This one will focus on Fujairah. Now, one thing to note is that the borders of each Emirate can be very confusing, as you have multiple enclaves especially in the mountains. The Emirates are formed primarily by the tribal affiliations, not necessarily geography, which also includes Omani ... read more
Fujairah Fort
Al Bithnah Fort
Al Hayl Fort

Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia August 31st 2023

I made it to Cappadocia, a place I tried and failed to reach 18 years ago when I was last in Turkey. It is an area where early Christians lived in caves dug into the stone formations. ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai August 21st 2023

We enjoyed our holiday in NSW so much that when we arrived home just over six weeks ago we (Bernie) booked tickets to fly to Lisbon, Portugal today. But … not until 9.15pm, which made for a long day of killing time until we were due to head out to the airport. Our good friend, Cathy, picked us up just after five and delivered us to the departures zone at Tullamarine before 6.00pm. We were so early we thought that check-in for our flight might not have opened yet. All OK though, we were able to tag onto the end of the, at this stage short, queue for Flight QF8407 (operated by Emirates) to Dubai. While waiting in the queue we saw a staff colleague from our volunteer roles in the queue. We had heard a ... read more

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