January 29

Petrol station campsite was a first, and probably not a last either.  Trucks coming and going all night, with plenty of bright lights, made it pretty difficult to get a solid sleep.  I was waking up quite often, and had plenty of really vivid dreams – not sure if connected to the constant awakening though.  Lots of hills this morning, with one enormous one that stretched into the (admittedly low) clouds.  It’s such a nice feeling being in the clouds on a bike, as the world just appears to you every so often, even if sometimes that world is an 18-wheeler hauling itself in your direction. But the trucks here are super friendly.  Some people will lean out of their window and shout encouragement, while others will give us plenty of tooting as they see us on the other side of the road.  I think truckers like long-distance cyclists, as we have a lot in common.  Not a lot of chance for companionship, or great food, or a significant amount of comfort, and of course we spend most of our days on the road. 

The hills ended as we grew close to Tekirdag and I was finally able to see the Sea of Marmara which was cool.  The descent into Tekirdag itself was a bit mental, with a steep gradient and lots of traffic, but we made it in fine, and then cruised through the city.  We wandered through a market for a little while, and it became clear to me that I was, for whatever reason, the tallest person in the city.  Even so, no-one really paid us any attention which was nice, and we were able to find a place to grab some kofte and water before getting back on the bikes.

Exiting Tekirdag, I managed to take us down a wrong turn, and ended up having to walk up a dirt path which was thick with clay.  It coated the wheels, and it took me about five minutes taking it all off.  Ryan, however, was in slightly worse straits, as his front rack had snapped and it became apparent his rear mudguard was broken also.  It took us a little while, but enough duct tape solved the problem.  On the road to Silivri, the hills flattened out and we were able to get our speed up again.  About 530, it started to get dark, and this was where we were about to hit the infamous D100, so I decided we should find a place to eat and camp.  A little bit of hairy cycling along the motorway, in the dark, with no shoulder or lights on got worse when I hit a bank of sand and was almost thrown from my bike. 

We asked at a petrol station for a place to eat, and he pointed us towards a restaurant down a side street, run by a man named said and his turkmen wife.  He plied us with all kinds of delicious Turkish food (our first real introduction) like kanat, adana kebap and delicious pide stuffed with cheese.  After leaving, we quickly found a spot to camp, but an angry man came and shouted at us, so we vacated the premises to find another one in a field.  A solid day of cycling, and our introduction to Turkey continues.

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