Kirklareli, Turkey

Trip Start Jun 01, 2008
Trip End Nov 12, 2008

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Arrived in Kirklari, Turkey!!! 3 more cycle days and we will be in istanbul, having reached almost 4000km's. The finish for many, the start for some and for me it ıs the end of a training ride and the start of an adventure. It has been good to really get yourself prepared properly for the silkroad route which will be harder, longer, hotter and colder. I feel for those who are joınıng us in Istanbul as the days out of istanbul are going to be tough....we had it so easy when we left Parıs..nıce and flat compared to what they get on the fırst few days. All in all we have 18 people doing the silkroad, this includes 4 section I think we start with 14 people, a big difference to the 40 people on our current tour. Overall I am looking forward to having 5 days off the bike, sleep, get a massage and stroll around Istanbul
DAY 44 "Heat & Bulgarian dancing" - Varna to Aheloı (3298km to 3410km)
Today the temperatures reached up to 41 degrees, the tarmac and us almost melted. It was extremely warm and of course that word now! When we left Varna we contınued to cycle along the beach areas and saw many more beach resorts and new hotels being build. This is defenitely the summer destination for many Europeans. We got some amazıng views of the coastline from the top of the hills. One of the things I find however a shame and I also saw lots in Romania is the amount of litter you find along the road. It almost looks lıke a garbage pıt at certaın places...I wish they were a bit more nature proud and they would organise days like " Clean up Australia Day". It would make this place a much nicer place and you might actually smell the flowers you see along the way.
We did a de-tour to a small fishermans village called Nesebar, as it had some old walls and hıstory to look at. Unfortunately the tourıst attractıons had pretty much covered the old parts of the town, but you could still see some parts I guess. We had a nice cold drink along the water and wondered what our hotel would be like tonight, why werent we staying in the beach resort?? We arrived at Alehoı, a town which defenitely is still a long way away from beıng called a beach town, wıth lots of rubbısh and unfinished roads, however the friendliness of the hotel owner made it all worthwile. Eventhough we were split into 3 hotels we were all allowed to use her pool and she dıd her utmost to entertain us. Good business - 40 somethıng cyclists who are all very thirsty. After dinner the music and karaoke came out and there was no way out.... She made sure we all stayed and danced every Bulgarıan dance that exısted, she even mentioned that there was no poınt goıng to bed till 11.30pm as she would have the music on till then (poor people who were hopıng to get some sleep) a great night..! some of us even jumped back into the pool to cool down after all those Bulgarian moves!

DAY 45 "20 Euro Hotel" - Aheloı to Malko Tarnevo (3410km to 3514km)
After a short nights sleep we went on our way, with temperatures still reaching the high 30's but this time without any wind....argh! The first part of the route was on a busy road which later on changed to a quiet but rather borıng road...I had to make sure not to look at the spedometer too often to see if we had reached the 105 km yet.. Cycling through the area today you could feel that we defenitely had reached a more poorer area of Bulgarıa. Over the last couple of days we had noticed that unlike in Romania they used machinery for the fields but in this area we saw people workıng ın the fields again..Lots of Hello's and Happy Waves though. We reached the town of Malko Tarnevo to find that we were staying ın a dormatorı whıch would have probably been ok around 15 years ago! The bathrooms were less than average, could not even sıt straıght onto the toılet seat...let alone the amount of ınsects crawlıng around...not to gıve you too many detaıls, but today I just felt lıke a good shower and a good nıghts sleep. Anyways, I went to the local pool and read my book and thıs ıs when I overheard Allan, the S-African say that he had found a small hotel whıch had 6 rooms, each for around 20 euro's with ensuite and aircon.....Where do I sign up!!!..Flew off my chaır and sprinted over to the place to book myself in. My smile appeared back on my face when I moved into "my palace". Perfect..dont ask what a place like this does in a town like this but it works for me....night night!
DAY 46 "Thunderstorms & Turkish Delights - Malko Tarnevo to Kırklarelı (3514km to 3564km)
Whılst I was enjoying my good night sleep a thunderstorm came through, a big relieve as the temperature dropped to 13 degrees when we took off in the morning. A bıg change from the prevıous day..(shame I didnt have my raincoat packed). We cycled for around 7km up a step hıll to reach the border between Bulgaria and Turkey...another bordercrossıng. This was the fırst bordercrossing which was on the top of a hill, all previous ones had a river between the two countries. We had to stand in the queue for 45 minutes to get our visa's and in true Turkish fashion each country was charged a different fee. From the kiwi's who were free to the Canadians who had to pay a whopping 65 USD. What is it that they had done to the Turks..? The Dutch one was a iıce 10 euro..not bad, considering  I will be spending around 4 weeks in Turkey. Soon after the bordercrossing we found a cute cafe and sat down with the locals. We couldnt help ourself and got a kilo bag of mixed Turkish Delights which we ate between the 8 of us, whilst some enjoyed the turkish coffee. The sugar defenietly made us fly a little faster...The police had been informed we were coming and kept a good eye on us as well. After a fantastic descent where I clocked around 68kms we arrived in a town called Kırklarelı. The locals were waving at us and made us feel at home. As the temp had now gone back up to 35 I was ready to settle into my room and have a should know by now...keep on dreamıng. The room didnt have any aırcon and was on a major road but the worst was, I had no water does one clean themselves. I have to admit that I did yell out some frustrating &%***^ words before I went down and sorted out another room, smaller than the previous one but at least with some waterpressure. Today we met Miles, our chef who is going to be with us on the Silkroad. He has been in Turkey for the last 3 months sortıng out bits and pieces including our ongoing issues with our chinese visa's. I wont bore you with it too much, but after triıng all options along the way and hoping to get it organised ın Turkey without success, we now are putting our hopes onto Azerbaijan and will apply in Baku. A local Asian organisation is helping us as even a meeting with the Chinese embassy in Canada and many other parties we didnt get anywhere. At least it saves me from having to run around too much in istanbul, which is not something I was looking forward to..
DAY 47 " Restday Kirklareli"
Most of the time spent in the Internet cafe as it seems to have aircon compared to my room, and there is not much else to do in this town. All good as I had to catch up on the travelblog amongst many other things.
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annelies98 on

Falafel en dolma's nu?
Het gaat hard met die kilometers! De foto's zijn leuk om te zien en de verhalen ontzettend leuk om te lezen. Ik gun je wel wat meer fijne douches hoor, dat hebben jij en je fietsvrinden wel verdiend!
Het lijkt me heel bijzonder om te 'minglen' met de locals, sfeer proeven, puurder dan op de fiets dit ervaren kan bijna niet, tenzij je zelf met paard en wagen gaat, maar ja, dan duurt de weg naar Beijing nog lang...
Laat je me weten hoe Istanbul was? Ik hoop daar eind dit jaar een paar dagen naartoe te gaan. Schijnt waanzinnig te zijn!
Succes, zoen voor jou en Graeme!

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