Archive for April, 2011

April
30th
2011

Black Sea Ferry Tales


Black Sea ferry tales

When Emma mentioned the possibility of catching a ferry between Trabzon, Turkey and Sochi, Russia as a unique way of avoiding a longer land based route via Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine the idea immediately appealed. We would spend three weeks cycling the Black Sea coast to Trabzon and then after a short ferry ride arrive in Sochi where we could catch a train to Moscow. – Posted by Justin

April
29th
2011

Turkey By Numbers 2


Turkey by numbers 2

Having already tackled Turkey’s Central Plateau in 2010, this year’s Turkish challenge was to ride across the Black Sea coast road with six months of inner city living behind us. A tough return to the bicycles was helped by a chance meeting with Fred a Swiss bicycle tourist who contributed his extensive knowledge of Indian cuisine to our evening meals and stories from his many cycling adventures to our campsite conversations. After three weeks of cycling, we spent a few days exploring Trabzon and took a side trip to Georgia, before finally fare-welling this amazing country and crossing to Russia by ferry. – Posted by Emma

April
26th
2011

Georgia By Numbers


Georgia by numbers

In Georgia we spent most of our time in the capital Tbilisi with only one afternoon trip to the countryside. The weather was pretty wet lending itself more to indoor activities – read eating and drinking, however we managed a few cultural and physical activities so our statistics weren’t all food and drink related. While we were off the bikes in Georgia our flying visit convinced us that Georgia and cycle touring would be a great match. – Posted by Justin

April
26th
2011

Bonus Country Georgia


Bonus country Georgia

In Istanbul, we’d heard a lot about Georgia from other travellers but despite its reported charms we didn’t think we’d have time to visit. Land border crossings to Russia are complicated for non-nationals and to get to Moscow, a ferry from Trabzon in Turkey over to Sochi in Russia was still our best bet. – Posted by Emma

April
25th
2011

Day Of Food – Georgia


Day of food – Georgia

Being in Georgia for five days we thought would give us ample time to document a day of food however as the days ticked by and we forgot to take photos of what we ate we only managed to capture the meals from our last full day. Even on this Easter Monday breakfast had to be quickly recreated once the dinner dishes had been cleared away. – Posted by Justin

April
22nd
2011

Black Sea Coast Cycling Tips


Black Sea coast cycling tips

Over March and April of 2011 we cycled the 1300km from Istanbul to Trabzon along the Black Sea coast over three weeks. The route is a popular one for people heading towards Iran and Georgia from Istanbul. Here are a few of the things we picked up along the way that may help other cyclists considering this route. – Posted by Justin

April
20th
2011

Hazelnut Highway


Hazelnut Highway

Our first kilo of hazelnuts are offered by a hazelnut farmer who finds us camping in his grove just outside the metropolitan city of Samsun. Inexplicably covered from head to toe in mud, the farmer shows us the spiky clusters the nuts grow in, the new grafts he is protecting from birds by staking with cuttings from older trees. We suspect he wonders at our resolve to camp on a night where there is a bitterly cold wind blowing. – Posted by Emma

April
14th
2011

Day Of Food – Turkey 2


Day of food – Turkey 2

Our day of food began well with breakfast at our free camp wedged between a newly blossoming hazelnut grove and a slow flowing canal. The weather was warm enough that we could afford a leisurely start to the day enjoying the early morning sun and having a dry tent to pack away. At lunch time the sun was still shining for our stop in the town of Unye before we headed out on minor road around a peninsula to Persembe. – Posted by Justin

April
11th
2011

10,000 Kilometre Photo


10,000 kilometre photo

The epic Black Sea Coast route is the scene for this 10,000 kilometre photo taken on 11th April 2011 near Yaykil, Turkey. The last 1000 kilometres has seen the full range of cold weather cycling conditions, many refusals for payment of cay and the fewest navigational challenges of the trip – we just followed signs to Trabzon with the sea on our left. Next up is Russia where for our next 1000 km photo we will need to employ another hand! – Posted by Emma

April
10th
2011

The Unfinished Scenic Route


The unfinished scenic route

After warming our bodies and stomachs with a Lokanta lunch in Cide we learn two new Turkish words “sakat” and “kapali” both used to describe the road ahead. After referring to the full size Turkish/English dictionary Emma has been carrying since Istanbul we discover they mean “unfinished” and “closed”. The recommendation from the locals is to take the inland road to Kastamonu which involves a climb from sea level to around 900m and then joins a main road direct to Sinop. – Posted by Justin