March 23

Hitch-hikers and tunnels today, and lots of them. 

The girls planned to leave at 830 in the morning, but flights were delayed, so they didn’t leave until 11am.  This meant that we, as the gentlemen that we are were honour bound to snooze the morning away, eating pisi and chilling out.  Finally, Isil’s taxi came and took her to the airport, after some pretty big goodbyes, and we hit the road.  It took us a while to get out of Trabzon, but once we were on the road we ate up the miles pretty quickly.  The road, which is pretty busy, runs alongside the sea and through a number of little towns on the seaside.  There are so many towns that it makes camping a bit of a problem. 

So far, this patch of road has been the only place I’ve seen lots of hitch-hikers in Turkey, and I mean lots.  Anywhere where one person was trying to hitch a lift, there was always at least another ten guys with him (and it was all guys) trying to get picked up as well.  I think they were students, trying to get home for cheap, but it was odd to see just so many after never having seen hitch-hiking before in Turkey.

We also had quite a few tunnels today.  I’m still not sure if I love or hate tunnels.  They’re always such an extreme experience, with the noise of the cars amplified by a hundred times, and you’re in darkness so you can barely see where you’re going. My only defence against being knocked down is the reflective patches on my panniers and a tiny blinking red light on the back of my bike.  So far it hasn’t failed, thankfully, but almost very time I’m heading through a tunnel I get so aware of everything thats going on and then boom, sunlight is back overhead and you can stop stressing. 

We managed to hit out 100k today, which is good considering we started at 11am.  We should be very near the border with Georgia by end of the day tomorrow, all things going well, then we can get into our fifth country bright and early on Wednesday morning.

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