From Maroneia to Istanbul

The morning I left Maroneia, I woke up at 6am with my bags ready to go.
The first thing I noticed was the smell and the sound of rain. The temperature was pleasantly low. First it felt like again something wanted me to stay, but the second I stepped out of the door to get my bags on the bike, the rain stopped.
Though the clouds were still there. So it was THE PERFECT weather to ride a bicycle to Turkey.
I said goodbye to my new greek family, got a lunch package from stella, self-made olive oil, some bread and some fruits for free at the Supermarket from Theos dad and I made a move.

The first day on the road again after spending weeks in Maroneia.
New places again, new things to see, some kind of loneliness. One eye cried, the other one was full of joy.
Actually me being alone was not for a long time..

I wanted to start slow again, but only a few hours later I had a coffee in Alexandroupoli (40km). After meeting some bikepackers the turkish border was only 30km ahead of me. I bought some water at a petrol station where I met another bikepacker:
Hello Basile from Paris. Where are you going? To China? Are you kidding me?

It turned out that we got along well together, so Istanbul was our common destination for now.
I can’t really tell how long it took us to Istanbul. In general I have to say that I stopped counting days/weeks or months. This trip became my everyday life.
My goal is to just enjoy the day, not to think about the future too much.
As easy as it is to write this idea down, the harder it is to really get there.
But not counting days is basically one of the first steps helping me achieving this goal for now. Basile helped me a lot to find new perspectives and new approaches to get there as well.

So we were around for a few days, talked a lot about the balance between taking photos and just enjoying the experience.
We were camping here and there next to the fields, for example surrounded by sheep in the morning, or at the seaside in front of lost vacation houses.
Beside the camping, the time on the bike was kind of hard to fully enjoy..
We had a lot of headwind. The street was more or less a federal highway. Nevertheless it was still a lot of fun, to ride on our own Autobahn.
One day we would ride a part of the street where two lanes were completely blocked for the cars, because of construction works. The construction workers didn’t care at all about us riding there. Most of them were waving at us, smiling, laughing.
As far as I can say I am already very impressed, how remarkable friendly the people are in Turkey.

In Tekirdağ we met Emin. He passed by us on his racing cycle with fancy riding clothes. He insisted to invite us for a coffee and some fries, we had a great chat with him. When we left, he rode along with us to show us the way out of the city. I only had to listen to his jokes about me being super slow and overloaded 😉

After one off-day at a campsite, because of a serious storm in Turkey and Greece, the city boundary came closer.
A few people told me, that it is not really recommended to cycle all the way to the centre of the city.
Actually my Mum sent me an article about the traffic in Istanbul. It was written that this is the city where people spent most time in a traffic jams, worldwide.
Markus even advised me to catch a Bus for the last 50 km.

Well.. We did not take the bus, and I am very happy about that. To cycle every meter into this beautiful city was actually great fun. Sometimes we had to ride on a 4 lane road, completely full of cars, standing around. We would cheat or way through the cars. Sometimes the space between was so narrow, that not even Basile was able to keep on riding with his minimalistic equipment on his bike.
It was my first time to be literally stuck in a traffic jam with my bike.

We hopped on a feery to leave Europe. Now that I think about it, this was the first time for me leaving the european continent. Hello Asia! Hello Istanbul, Hello Hush-Hostel Moda in Kadiköy.


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