Over the last six weeks in Istanbul, we have been amazed by the number of passing cycle tourists that have contacted us to meet up for a drink or who have made themselves at home with us for a few days. Since our first post about some of the cycle tourists we met in Istanbul we were expecting visitor numbers to dwindle into the winter months but so far they show no sign of letting up.
We had been following Kevin Shannon on his zero emissions odyssey via twitter and as he approached Istanbul we were intrigued about how he would manage to cross the Bosporus. After reading about his dilemmas about how long he should stay in Istanbul for, we offered him a place to stay for a few days. Kevin is in the process of applying for visas for his onward travel and will soon be cycling on east. We’ll eagerly watch his progress through the likely snowy terrain.
Fred Bouwman from www.bikefororphans.com is on his way to the Philippines to work in an orphanage for six months. His cycle tour began in Dublin and when we met him he was still deciding on his route further east, having a fair bit of flexibility in his schedule. It was great to get together for a few drinks with Fred and learn about his background and interest in cycling and hiking. We also took the chance to visit one of Istanbul’s two micro-breweries where we had hoped for a change from Efes branded beer, but much to our disappointment the bar only had one beer available and it tasted like Efes to me!
We exchanged a few emails with Jenny and Matt from Cycle Scribbles when they arrived in Istanbul and managed to catch-up with them the night before they flew back to Australia. They cooked us a delicious dinner of lentil stew at their hostel (they promise to post the recipe on their website soon) and we talked for a good few hours about our trips. They had met some of our friends from our cycling visit to Sarajevo and had cycled in some similar parts of Serbia and Croatia to us.
We hosted Ryan and Rebecca for a few nights before they headed east along the black sea coast. They are winding their way towards New Zealand and hope to get there for the Rugby World Cup. Heading eastwards they plan to pass through Iran and then the ‘Stans so are expecting some cold weather ahead. Rebecca practiced making us delicious camp-stove pizzas, they spent some time maintaining their bikes and we all enjoyed chatting about our cycle touring through the Balkans and Bulgaria.
If you are a cycle tourist on the way to Istanbul and would like to meet up for a chat then please just let us know as we are always happy to swap information and fuel our enthusiasm for our cycling next year over a coffee, beer or cay.