Exploring Cappadocia

Leaving Ankara was a pleasant affair, knowing we had 3 days of cycling ahead until the highly anticipated region of Cappadocia was great.

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The roads were big but uncrowded. It was fairly hilly, sometimes taking an hour or 2 to summit, topped with temperatures reaching 40 degrees celcius.

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After a week of relaxing we were exhausted after the first days ride.

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We camped for free each night on our way. The first under a abandoned building next to a lake. No need for the tent rain cover!

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The second was behind a roadside restaurant. We chose here as we could use their bathroom facilities.

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The landscape eventually opened out as we got within 40miles of our destination. One last big 5%  7km downhill provided a lot of fun.

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You may notice a plastic bag on the back of my bike. As we had lunch earlier that day by the roadside a lady approached us and offered us some plums from her front garden. We gladly accepted.

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That night we stewed them up and added a touch of honey. Sugar overload!!! Delicious…

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Our third night camping was on a cliffside, the sunset that night was rather nice.

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When the sun had completely gone the stars on show were incredible. That night I saw 2 shooting stars and a few orbiting satellites. A night to remember. Barry experimented with a few long exposure camera shots which turned out well.

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We reached our destination early on the 4th day.

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We stayed in a hotel in a town called Goreme. It was pleasant and cheap.

We had hoped to do a sunrise hot air balloon ride but unfortunately the conditions weren’t right so had to miss out.

Instead we opted to go hiking for 2 afternoons which turned out to be a real adventure. The first time we made the mistake of taking our bikes with us, we still had a lot of fun though.

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I will now post a selection of photos of this wierd and wonderful area. Enjoy!

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Our journey now continues to north east Turkey and into Georgia. We will be hitting the D915, uncommonly known as the most dangerous road (for cars, mum) in the world! (not to be compared with the death road in Bolivia made popular by Top Gear).

I plan to make the blog post in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, at the end of the month.

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I hope you are all well, take care Xx

The journey to Ankara

Leaving Istanbul was a pretty easy affair. A 10 mile cycle along the waters edge led us to a ferry port where we caught a boat. This took us to a small town called Yalova and straight onto a quieter route towards Ankara (500km away).

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Boarding the ferry, a mere £3 for a 1 hour trip.

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The road out of the town was over 1 big hill then down beside a lake. We carried on until the light faded and camped in a olive tree field.

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The next day the sun came out in full force, a healthy 35 degrees celcius. The roads were good quality and very quiet most of the time.

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We wound around a lot of small mountain passes, giving us delightful views and really fun downhill races!

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Barry cruising on one of the long downhill stretches.

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Barry got his first puncture of the entire trip from London one morning. The shard of glass had gone through his tyre and inside the inner tube!
Being a bicycle courier as a profession it was a quick repair turnaround before setting off again.

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Turkey has already made a big impression on us. Its beautiful, colourful and incredibly vast.

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It has been hard to cycle longer than 30minutes before stopping to take more photos.

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This was a photo I wanted to capture, its the first pass and probably the smallest we will cross over that is measured. Upon riding in central Asia our altitude will hit 4500+ metres.

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Every few hours upon topping another hill we were rewarded with a nice outlook to rest at.

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Camping spots present themselves in abundance but this particular spot was too early on in the day.

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Berry’s second puncture was due to a few miniscule glass shards from the first puncture that had penetrated through the inside of the tube causing a slow deflation. This time the inner tube was replaced. Whilst he got on with business, I brewed up some coffee!

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Our camping spot another night was beside the road, however no drivers seemed to mind. Usually just waving and honking their horns.

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The sunset provided a lovely backdrop for when we ate our dinner.

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The final ride was along dual carriageways. However as you can see it was basically empty and we had a very generous shoulder to cycle in.

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Upon reaching Ankara we treated ourselves to a proper kebab.
We’ve spent a week here as that is how long it takes to obtain a Kazakstan visa!

So now we have 2 visas (Tajikistan & Kazakstan), we have 2 more to go (Azerbaijan & Uzbekistan) but we can obtain these whilst moving.

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We now head down to the region of Cappadocia. A really popular area and a must see attraction. Hoping to also take a sunrise balloon ride too!

I hope you are all well Xx

3 weeks in Istanbul

Firstly I want to apologise for the late post. My arrival in Istanbul was much earlier than planned and as I had so much time I completely switched off and soaked up the experience that is this intense city.
Only now that I have started moving again that I have been proactive in keeping the blog up to date.

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My first 2 weeks were spent in a bustling hostel called “Chillout Cengo”. It was a fantastic place to stay, staff and guests were so friendly, the location was brilliant and next door kebabs were about 35p! and all for £6 a night.
On several evenings we would all go out to watch live music and play backgammon over a water pipe.
One day we even had a trip to the beach on an island.

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On occasions I explored the local markets and the Grand Bazaar. Traders selling everything from local craft to elegant foods.

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There was a specialist touring bicycle shop in the city. Here I got some essential maintenance done for the mountains that await!

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Istanbul really is a city that never sleeps, the early hours of night are busier than daytime and the entertainment never stops. Tram rides through the crowds are a common sight.

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A must visit are the mosques. Some bigger and busier than others. Below is the blue mosque.

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Views over the Bosphorus river from another mosque.

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On week 3 a close friend from home, James, visited me. It was so nice to see a familiar face and catchup on everything thats been going on at home.
Thanks for coming out!

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Chatting over dinner with a nice view.

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We visited the Hagia Sophia, a very impressive building internally.

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We also took our own walking tour of the city outskirts, escaping the busy streets and admiring some great architecture and views.

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A local cat finding the book stall the most comfortable place to sleep!

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One of a few nice parks to relax in.

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As James’ time here ended a fellow traveller Barry, arrived.
We met up in England earlier this year and arranged to cycle together over Asia from Istanbul. He is cycling from London, England to Auckland, New Zealand.

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Our ride now continues, as we take a ‘V’ shape through the country to Georgia via the stunning region of Cappadocia. We will also be chasing visas for our central asia stint. Not great fun but essential as this will be the remotest and extreme section of my entire journey!

I hope you are all well Xx

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