21/3/2016 Atakent, near Samsun to Terme, hotel Gavan
D73, T4.16, Av17.36, max36, 51898, 1165 , Alt up59
On leaving, the weather had improved somewhat, there was a dedicated bike track for some 20km along the Samsun foreshore. This was a pleasure to negotiate. There were all sorts of statues and figurines along the way.
People were fishing in places. Although, like everywhere this time of year there are few visitors. A stop was made at a buiding site where a silicone tube was cut to fit as a rear mudflap.
The road now is very easy riding, it is almost dead flat and has a good shoulder. The down side is that a lot of traffic use it. Especially trucks.
For the most part, drivers here have been great so far. I always acknowledge drivers who I hear slowing down behind me.
I made a stop for lunch and asked how much the bbq lamb was. He said 10TL, on paying for it the owner wanted double that. I was very annoyed, it was a blatant rip off and I let him know in no uncertain terms.
My trusting of people has to be watched at times. Asking the price is one question that must be asked before eating.
From here, a stop was made in a village to try and find some screws to fit the mudflap. Some guys in a small engine repair shop had some old nuts and bolts and fitted it for me they also ground the excess bolt length off. They were so helpful.
The landscape now is getting more and more occupied by Findik trees. It seems everyone with a small plot of land puts in some trees/.
A stop was made at a factory to talk to some guys handling white sacks. These were the husks going to be used to fire many of the bread makers ovens .
I spent some time here chatting and enjoying cay with them .They told me the growers get about 10TL a kilo and harvest is in August.
Riding these flat roads is so easy after all that hill country for the first 600km.
I am now very road fit, after all that hard but enjoyable riding.
Coming to Terme, I decided to stop for the night, there is no hurry. I am a long way east in March. Getting to Georgia too early may restrict me from visiting some of the higher altitude areas there, due to snow.
In Terme a guy took me to a hotel. It was comfortable and only had a small flight of stairs to take the bike up. The owner helped me. I did not bother to unload it. Had a shower and went into town. I needed something from a stationer. Once there, the owner a great friendly guy Asked me to join him in the shop for dinner.
He phoned up and got 3 Lahmacuns ordered, we had these with salad and Ayran.
I told him I would come round for a cay before I left in the morning.
Many Turks use Instagram so he started following me. It is a great way for them to see their country through others eyes. Those a little less normal than others, at least from the mode of travel.
It was nice to be in a bed .
22/3/2016 Terme, hotel to Fatsa
D59, T3, Av17.63, max42, 51957, 1224 , Alt up 197
I had arranged to stay with Secils parents in Fatsa, which I was looking forward to. She and Alex from Bisiklet Gezgini in Istanbul like to have touring cyclists there so her parents can see were not all mad. I don’t know what the thought of me. It is not everyday you bump into a 60 year old guy riding a bike around living a nomadic kind of lifestyle.
I went back to the bookstore as arranged and had a chat over cay. Leaving town, I bought some bread as is usual.
The day was remarkably mild, these kind of days are so enjoyable.
The road now is all duplicated and is getting even busier. This coast road is littered with tunnels more were encountered today. It makes hills country easy. I only put my rear light on if they are a kilometre or more in length. Having said this they are all well lit.
A great lunch was enjoyed in a gas station restaurant. It really pays to check these places out, the variation in food differs so much in these places. Especially what you are served for your money.
Getting to the outskirts of Fatsa, an industrial area was seen. In here I gave the bike a good pressure clean and put grease on the gear cables where the move in the plastic guides under the crank.
Secils parents, Ahmet and Pembegul were having English lessons and could not pick me up until 1800.
I headed to the bus station and waited there.
We met up as arranged and I followed them back to their apartment.
They were fantastic people. Pembegul cooked up a locely meal of fish and all manner of side dishes, we enjoyed this over a bottle of red. Neither of them could speak English and me the same Turkish. However with the use of our translators we managed to communicate ad had a great time over dinner. The house was nice and cosy.
It was so enjoyable having a home cooked meal that was typical of many Turks diets.
The Belgian terror attack dominated the news this day .Pictures told the story .
23/3/2016 Fatsa to Beach house, 10km before Persembe
D35, T2, Av14.47, max49, 51991, 1259 , Alt up 379
Cold, about 12 degrees
In the morning we had another huge meal with lots of cay.
There were little dishes of all sorts of things on the table. A favourite combination was dried apricot with walnut.
Olives and the cheeses went down well also.
By the time I went to leave, it was 1100hrs.
My stay with Ahmet and Pembegul had been a great insight into the life of the average Turkish family. On leaving Pembegul gave me a large bag of findik.
I had given myself 5 days to get to Trabzon and had booked a cheap Airbnb room there.
So there was no pressure on me to cover the 216km from Fatsa.
I wanted to get off this busy highway so took the coastal route on Yasun Burnu.
It was a little hilly but people everywhere were friendly. In Yalikoy, a stop was made to enjoy cay with some local cyclists. They had modern mountain bikes. We had an enjoyable hour on the waterfront chatting .
Some of the little bays and points along this road were so inviting. There were small villages every few kilometres .Lunch was enjoyed in a locals restaurant overlooking one bay. Each village as is usual had its own marina with a few fishing boats mooring and tied up within.
There was a cold nor easter blowing. One side of the hills was calm and the other very cold descending into the bitter breeze.
I made a stop at cam Burnu to look at the old church and see what the camping was like .It was impossible to get out of the wind .
Further on up the road, I took a little side track down to the waterfront. Here was a modern house in a state of disrepair and had been vandalised. It was right on the waters edge .
I aked a neighbour if I could sleep the night here. It was ok. I had my own waterfront room out of the weather.
No dinner was cooked as I had eaten late in the day .
The tent was set up, before going to bed some guys came down and could be heard chatting. I really did not want to explain myself so just sat tight. They eventually left, thankfully.
My room could be locked, so I felt completely safe.
There are so many abandoned propertied on this coast. It is just a matter of asking and one can usually get a roof to camp under for the night .
24/3/2016 Beach house, 10km before Persembe to Ordu beach cabin
D48, T3, Av14.45, max48, 52039, 1307 , Alt up 306
Very mild morning, cold, nor easter, later
Riding on this road that hugged this scenic coast was so relaxing. A stop was made at a light house on one point to enjoy some findik. They are so nice and can be easily shelled . It is easy to keep up a constant supply to ones mouth.
There was an offshore wind blowing that made the sea so picturesque and flat.
Whilst eating the nuts two policemen pulled in for a chat and a few questions.
Time was spent at the persembe waterfront talking to the fishermen and buyers who were on the dock seeing the salmon from the offshores farms being bought ashore. It all happened very quick with restaurant owners buying what they needed and heading off. Some was packaged in polystyrene for the road trip to Ankara.
I found a cheap hotel in Persembe unfortunately it was booked out for the weekend.
Lunch was enjoyed in alittle family owned restaurant. The food was so tasty. Fun was had chatting to the two young girls who were helping out.
Again I was in a very casual mood not having to ride to far. The hills now are absolutely covered in Findik trees.
Getting to Ordu, I kept going looking for aa camp site as the forecast was for no rain.
Along one stretch of coastal road a camping area could be seen across the traffic barriers. A gap was found and I headed in there .
They said I could have one of their little cabins on the beach. They were still getting the place ready for the hight season. My little room had the plastic roof half off but had a bed and chairs inside. We used my occy straps to hold the roof down. The wind was still howling outside and threatened to blow the whole roof off.
I cooked fried potatoes and very kindly the owners bought me a huge meal of a plate. This was most unexpected but enjoyed immensely.
Climbing into bed the wind was getting stronger. I have a small throat cold due to the huge temperature swings I am experiencing on the road.
Up a hill sweating then freezing coming down or when I stop for a short while.
Some medicine was taken. I fell asleep rapidly.
The wind could blow the roof off. Just as long as it didn’t rain. At times there was sand being blown inside the little building.
25/3/2016 Ordu beach cabin to beach hut with guys
D59, T3, Av18, max41, 52098, 1366 , Alt up 197
Cold, and wet
On awakening in the morning the wind had completely stop and my roof was still intact.
It was another very mild morning. So mild I decided to take a customary swim as I do in any significant body of water encountered .
I set my camera up on the beach to record it. My towel was dropped by the waters edge and in I went over the rocky bottom. It was cold but nothing like Lake Titicaca.
However, I was in and out.
Not wearing any clothes I did not want anyone to see me as I surely would have offended them.
Arriving in Giresun, a reasonable size city of 100,000 people. I stopped to have a look about. There was a great pedestrian mall that was at right angles to the shore running up a hill.
Some fresh strawberries were bought, these were so sweet.
Like all these larger cities here on the most people live in apartments. The streets are lined with them.
The weather was now deteriorating and rain was imminent. I needed to find somewhere to camp, preferably with a roof. Again the busy road was separated by barriers down the middle. After coming trough a tunnel, a group of shacks could be seen on the beach front.
A gap was found in the railing and upon inspection these were perfect for the night .They had been inundated by the sea at some stage and were now unoccupied and in poor repair.
I found one that had closed in plastic sides, a roof and even a bed.
This was perfect .
A cup of coffee was made and biscuits enjoyed. A vehicle was heard to drive up to the shack next door.
It was a bunch of guys in their 50’s I guessed in a dolmus. They were loaded with wine and beer. I went over for a chat. They immediately welcomed me with wine. They had a carafe of the stuff.
I wizzed back and got my little stainless steel cup I carry for these occasions ands joined them
I supplied findick shelled not crushed between two pavers and they supplied the wine. It was a fun time.
I had about four glasses and was in the knowledge that I had had a bit to drink. Anyway they left about 2000hrs.
I climbed into bed half drunk.
The rain had started by now. It was so cosy in my little hut.
Here is a video of the storm that possibly caused all the damage to the shacks in September 2014
26/3/2016 Beach hut with guys to Vakfikebir, hotel
D67, T3.3, Av19.13, max42, 52166, 1443 , Alt up 300
10 degrees, wet
It had rained lightly all night and was still raining when I got up for an early pee.
By the time I was ready to arise at about 0600 it had stopped and was a half decent day.
A person was waliking on the bech but did not spot me inside through the opage plastic siding.
I was on the road early and stopped at a bakery for bread and honey. The honey was in little sachets that I had taken from the hotelsstayed in .They all supply breakfast here.
It was warm in the bakery and very cold out. My bike computer showed a temp of just 10 degrees .
Further down the road I stopped for soup. Again to get warm.
It was wet on the roads, I was pleased to have the front mudflap stopping water getting onto my shoes .
It was decided to stop in a hotel tonight .Upon arrival in Vakfikbir, the Hotel Gurdal was booked on the main road.
These hotels are costing around 50TL a night .They are not the cheapest but I am happy to pay this. I was wet and cold. They room had hot water and good heating and was sizeable.
I was happy.
It was raining outside now,.
I went out for a doner for dinner . My throat cold is now developing a bit. So more cold relief tablets were taken before going to bed.
It is always nice being warm when it is raining outside.
26/3/2016 Vakfikebir, Gurdal hotel to Trabzon
D47, T2.5, Av16.29, max43, 522213, 1490 , Alt up 316
Overcast about 14 degrees.
I made the most of the late checkout in the well heated cosy room overlooking the river.
There was as usual a complimentary breakfast.
By 1200 the day had warmed up a little. The road was again a dual lane highway with a lot of traffic but the shoulder was very wide.
Urbanisation was along its sides almost all the way to Trabzon. At one point in the distance, the hillsides were all white. They were littered with high rise apartments.
I stopped at a few restaurants to check prices out, many were what I thought was not good value. Finally I found one that had a great dish of bbq chicken and salad.
My phone had run out of data so the need to buy another 2Gb for for 30TL had arisen. It was hard to find people on a Sunday that sold air time. I asked a young guy on the road were I could get it. He could speak some English so we headed into town together chatting.
We finally found shop that could do it.
I have been very lucky to date with my phone. As the telcom agencies here switch the phone internet off and one has to go to a bank to get it reconnected.
This is to stop people bringing good phones into the country that can be bought a lot cheaper in other countries. My short trip to the UK may have given me some grace .
My Airbnb host, Furkan could not meet me until 1800 hours. So I found a cafe and had a doner and just sat down and filled in time. It was starting to rain again. At 1830I went out of the cafe to get my bike and Murphy's Law had come into play the rear tyre was flat.
So I had to find a spot on the kerb in the middle of town that wasn’t a major thoroughfare and change it in the fading light. At times there was quite an audience. Though nothing like Africa.
Once repaired I used my GPS to find Furkans house and had to walk up the steep hill to the location.
Once at his apartment he said for me to leave the bike at the bottom area. I always have to explain to people that I need it in my room. I very rarely leave it elsewhere. I tell them I can’t sleep.
So we man handled it up the narrow stairs into the apartment where he gave me a huge room overlooking the gully and up the slope to the east above the city.
Getting to Trabzon has been an important waypoint in the journey. Here I hope to get my Iranian visa at the embassy here.
My host in Trabzon, Furkan. He is an English teacher which makes our evenings conversationally interesting. His good friend was over last night. Ahmed was an Afgan asylum seeker who also spoke great English. His parents were politically involved in earlier regimes. The present authorities were after him. He has been in Turkey for 3 months. They have offered him asylum.✔□ He said life was great in Afganistan. Especially in the peaceful north. He was from Kabul. "Our western press continues to fuel a necessary fire to mould our public perception as required"!! Trabzon, Black Sea coast. NE Turkey.