22nd September 2009 - Istanbul to Antalya

Wendy took us to Luton airport on Sunday morning and Easy Jet took us to Istanbul to arrive at 2:30pm local time.

Our plan was to ride to Pendik about 10k from the airport, catch a ferry to Yalova and find a hotel overnight. Unfortunately all the roads seemed to be sign-posted Pendik and none went there. Eventually after 20k we arrived at Pendik and decided to stay there and catch the ferry in the morning.

At Yalova after a good ferry crossing we started cycling proper through agricultural countryside of fruit, olives, and various veg. And arrived at Iznik. The weather was good with sunny spring temperatures and a slight backwind. We are already learning a few Turkish words and Joan quickly learnt how to bargain down the room price. The journey took us through Bilicek, Bozuyuk, Kutalya, Afyon and Burdur.

Most of the time, the roads were dual carriageway but with a wide hard shoulder. It seems that the Turks are building all roads as dual and only the old roads left are single carriageway. At Buzyuk, the roads stopped going up (3000ft) and the rest of the way to Burdur was on the central plains with rolling roads. The weather was still good road surface ok most of the time and best of all we had a backwind. The only rain was overnight. There are plenty of places to stop and eat or have a glass of tea which works out at 40p for two. Many times, we would not be charged at all.

Nobody speaks English up here, but we had many long conversations.... The hotels are generally ok and cost around 20 pounds a night with breakfast which consists of bread, cheese, jam and olives with tea. We expect the prices to increase on the coast.We were a bit uncertain about the last leg from Burdur to the coast at Antalya as the map showed it to be about 80 miles and over two passes through the coastal mountains. It was not sure if we could stay anywhere in between.

We started early at 8 oclock. This was the best scenery so far with craggy wooded mountains, but the road was still dual and wide. We went up and down about 1000ft twice before a hair raising descent down toward Antalya. It was a hard ride, but we took our time in low gear up the ascents which were not too steep. Our longest ride yet - 87 miles. Turkish keyboard is different to the UK, full stop comes out as and comma as the i comes out as i without a dot.

Dave and Joan Wooldridge