Thursday, 16 April 2015

Day 285-287: To Pamukova

 Istanbul's cycle path by the coast. Nice and flat but have to watch out for broken glass chips

A friend, Mete previously suggested to take the ferry instead of the busy, boring D100 road and told me to keep this option in mind. The night before I left, my host, Caner brought this up too and even checked out the prices and various ports. It didn't take me long to decide as this will also save me 2 days which hopefully will mean I can make it in time to catch up with my girl-friend who will be on holiday in Cappodocia. So I took it from Pendik to Yalova (about 40mins for 13lira)...
A quick toilet break and rest at a petrol station leads to chocolate treats!

The kind man who gave me the sweet treats, sat me down and we briefly discussed my route with a map he took off the shelf they sell at the station...

Finally some 'better' view compared to the past few days

I was rolling down road when I heard someone blowing hard on the whistle... I was like what was that? where did it come from? Police? So I looked round and saw a touring cyclist opposite the road. We stopped and he climbed over the railings to my side... This is Meric who is doing a short tour around Turkey.

And him climbing back over after our brief meeting and exchange of details. Nice to meet ya!

Glimpse of Marmara sea and Gemlik

Marmara sea

Glad to be hosted at the very last minute. Dinner awaits.. hurray

mmm thumbs up!

And we went out for coffee and met up with one of his friend, Sali, a professional cyclist

Back home to fruits and a glass of Jägermeister.
A brief conversation about my route to Ankara with my host made me changed my plan again. I end up staying for another night to visit Bursa and then I will back track 10km to take another less busy road.
 Well Bursa wasn't my original plan too, it was Zahide's suggestion back in Edirne.


Sumptuous breakfast with the family before we start the day. 
Kenan even borrowed and top-up his bus card for me to get to Bursa.

Bursa, the first capital during Ottoman era

Ulu Camii

Shadow puppets

Wish I can buy

Silk bazaar

Coffee brewed with charcoal

Iskender restaurant. Where iskender kebap originated. Must be expensive here, gonna hunt for cheaper option.

Bursa's dessert - candid chestnut. This looks expensive. 

Lots of nuts and different types of dates

Yufka (right) - hand rolled sheets of dough used for making Turkish boreks or stuffed pastries

All time favourite, especially after a day of cycling, Ayran - salted yogurt drink

Fat dried figs

Huge selection of dried fruits. They even have the dark version of dried apricots that I like.

More dates

Turkish says their olives are no.1 in the world

Need a scrub?

Irgandı Köprüsü - bridge with shops

Interesting flower

Yeşil Camii

Its got a fountain in the praying area which is unusal. 

Yeşil Türbe which house the tomb of Ottoman Sultan

The tombs

Inside a more than 200yo house turned into present day shop

Was told these were made by girls in villages with natural dye colours

Found an affordable version of iskender kebap. Sliced lamb meat on top of bread with tomato sauce and yogurt.


After dinner dessert with the family...yum yum

Trying out Bursa's specialty, candid chestnut ... it taste like... erm... just chestnut soaked in syrup. Maybe because I bought cheap ones?

Kenan & Zubeyde who hosted me for 2 nights. Kenan goes mountain biking regularly and plans to start doing short tours next year and maybe eventually go round the world touring on motorbike when they both retire. Zubeyde.. such a great host and cook that I had so much to learn from - juggling between 2 kids/family, housework, work and still able to prepare a full course dinner spread.


Olives trees

  Lake Iznik

 Entered into olives region? Ahhh... such familiar sight... missing friends back in Greece.

He found his lunch and the dog below 100m away dashed towards him and snatched it away :(

Typically lunch... I know it doesn't look appetising but its economical. Think of it this way, if you scoop a spoon of chocolate spread, eat a slice of bread and bite a piece of banana... in your mouth it becomes... Chocolate Banana Bread. Oh I'm at a petrol station again and this time the attendant treat me to a cup of Nescafe.

Passing through Iznik and lots of road works ongoing... 


 Breakfast... made of yufka (mentioned earlier) stuffed with cheese, mashed potatoes and chickpeas

Serkan's mother. I was wandering around the town looking for a place to stay and eventually the locals led me to the police station as they don't know what to do with me and kept telling me its dangerous out here. I told the officers I'm just looking for a place to camp and they kept me waiting in their office. It was slowly getting dark, I was almost dozing off and I tried to tell them I really had to go look for a place to sleep. They insisted I wait as they've contacted someone who knows English. Long story short, I ended staying at the home of one of the officer and get to park my bike at the police station guarded by armed police. Got fed, hot shower and well rested.

14 Apr 15: 60km [Sunny]
15 Apr 15: 0km
16 Apr 15: 104.53km [Sunny]

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