Killing time (softly)

Trip Start Jul 01, 2010
Trip End Aug 08, 2011

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Where I stayed
Otel Taşkan

Flag of Turkey  , Kırklareli Province,
Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'd been naughty and stayed up late talking to Vlad, and then perusing the hotel's WiFi until the early hours, and then my bodyclock decides at 6:30 am it's high time to have an irresistable surge of wakefulness, and trying to ignore it is futile.

There was a cockroach swimming in my water glass, and I was glad that I didn't drink it in the dark, as happened wıth the shrink-wrapped dried figs I ate at Varna in the dark in my tent, and found out were full of live maggots the next day (no ill effects though, incidentally!).

Vlad and I stuffed ourselves on the free self-service breakfast downstairs, then stopped in a small park so that I could show him how to tune his brakes and gears, check his wheels were true, etc.

Then we set off out of Kirklareli, towards Pınarhisar. The road was not brand new, but was stıll pretty good.

I was surprised at how militarised this part of Turkey is, with large army bases every 5-10 kilometres along the highway. Vlad is a real history buff and has been telling me all about the history of the area, as well as the Balkans and Asia. He explained that this region has been hotly-contested in the past and belonged mostly to Bulgaria for a part of the last century.

Every 2nd or 3rd Turkish motorists' honking at us started to get a little annoying after a while, however. Cyclists are an uncommon sight indeed in the Turkish countryside, and it seemed as if some drivers felt we had no right to be on the road. About half of the honks seemed to be honks of encouragement though, but sometimes a blast on a truck's airhorns when it is passing you is rather intimidating, regardless of the sentiment.

There was a fairly strong easterly all day, and with the lack of sleep and the fact I'd bought a lot of food ın Kirklareli, I found the going unexpectedly hard. Vlad was carryıng only a day-pack on his rear luggage rack and a small bag of food draped over his handlebars, so probably had an easier time of it. On the other hand, I'm still waiting for my Iranian visa and a Couchsurfıng host to turn up in Istanbul so I'm really in no rush to get anywhere right now!

Finally, we managed to cycle all the way to our destination, Vize, on just the breakfast we'd had at the hotel. I was about to drop dead from exhaustion, though not hunger, so it was a big relief. We found a hotel almost immediately and then went out and found a small restaurant where we ate tasty stuffed peppers, rice, beans and bread, and probably one of the hottest chillies I've ever eaten (they're a good source of vitamin C).

After lettıng our food digest a little, we returned to the hotel and I crashed out and left Vlad to surf the net.

(oops, just selected the correct Vıze, the one near Kırklarelı and not the one ın the far east of Turkey!)
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Vlad on

Nah, this section (from today's Bulgarian border to the Enez-Midie line some 50-100 km into today's Turkish Republic) was under Bulgarian control for only half a year or so, between the First and Second Balkan Wars (1912-1913) :-)

Vladimir on

Vlad, this region was densely populated by bulgarians till 1913, becouse it was a part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom since 13-14 sentury. In 1496 the otomans occupied the Bulgarian Kingdom and after liberation by the russians and creation of the Bulgarian Republic in 1878 this territory staied under ottoman control. In 1912 bulgarians began war for joining the region to Bulgarian republic and they succeed, but the other ally balkan contries made betrayal toward Bulgaria and attaked it by surprise. After 1913 the Turkish government chased away all bulgarian population from the region. I don't make international conflict here, but these are the facts. My own family are chased away from the region of Edirne.

steven on

i see you are using the turkish i without a dot on top. So I guess you are not lying and are actually in Turkey. Enjoy it, and don't forget to shave!

Agriculturist on


ashventures on

Vladimir, thanks for the clarification.

Steven, shaving can wait till after Winter!

Vlad on

Vladimir - thanks for expanding on the historical background. Certainly, all of Thrace (today's SE Bulgaria + NE Greece + Turkey in Europe) had been fought over by the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires in the Middle Ages, and most of its parts had periods of Bulgarian control. And into the Ottoman era, the area had mixed Bulgarian + Greek (later, + Turkish) population. When I was saying "half a year", I only meant the period of control by the *modern* Bulgarian state (i.e., in 1912-1913). And yes, I met in Sozopol people whose descendants had come from Lozengrad (= Kirklareli) after BWII (= The Second Balkan War, 1913).

Vladimir - Malko Tarnovo, BG on

I'm glad to achieve common consent by this issue here and now we can continue to follow the adventures of Ashley peacefully. I see we are going to become whole team of Ashley's friends.
Go, go, Ashley - we are with you! :) Take your visa today and go on eastward.

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