September 29, 2011 GMT
Turkey 3

Hiya folks – well we left Safranbolu on Sun 25 Sept. A rather late start as a German guy on a Yamaha came screaming up the road to see us when he noticed our bike. It was great to talk to another long distance traveller. He was off to Iran and Saudi for the winter! There was a Van cat in residence at this hotel--- they are famous for their one yellow and one blue eyes – quite rare and quite expensive !

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Colin drove down the steep hill and I stood and saw him out and waited for a gap in the traffic!

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Roads were really quiet out of town and the temperature is dropping now to about 22 degrees.—colder, of course through the mountains (but good hairpin bends!) Rurally you have to be aware of cows, sheep, hens, dogs, cats or buffalo on the side of the roads – we have even seen them on the dual carriageways! The animals are tended by a bloke or girl who always stays with them.

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People are selling their wares with a small stall set up on the side of the road. The hay is drying in stoops.

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Down onto the coast road by the Black Sea – and this was an experience! You could be bowling along quite happily on beautiful road surface ------ and then onto rubble, gravel and pot holes for miles. This is where they are making the new coast road – I sat very still on the back! Everywhere, it seems, are new roads going in --- courtesy of the Turkish Gov and European Union. The coast line is stunning--- totally unspoilt although you can see that lots of towns are trying to open up to the tourist trade ----- proms being built and new properties going in all over.

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Great to see in one town Children’s play area on grass---complete with sheep grazing to keep the grass at bay! The road ambles right by the sea and then you are taken up into the mountains with a wonderful view of the many bays. These must be deep water as there as big ships are moored within.

All the kids wear a school uniform – usually plaid skirt for the girls and same plaid for the boy’s jumpers. Secondary school boys wear a shirt, tie and blazer. Traffic police are everywhere. The Turkish flag is flying over many businesses, Gov buildings, of course and many houses. Everyone is very polite – rose water sprinkled on to your hands when leaving shops or restaurants and they do not like handbags on the floor. --- A table or chair would always be dragged over to put it on.

Men sit in the cafes drinking tea and greet each other with a handshake and a kiss on either cheek. Every community seems to have at least one mosque. Everyone is very helpful even if they don’t speak English. Security in the towns is very tight with guards everywhere – often you have to walk- through an airport style security screens. Internet connections are very hit and miss –sometimes good and other times- just good enough to read mail but not send.

In the petrol stations the tank is filled for you and the registration number taken. Tea is free in most petrol places or a juice. We had one stop where a young lad of about 10 couldn’t stop staring at us – in the end his dad told him off, in no uncertain terms and we were left in peace! Many petrol stations have a small ‘zoo’ with hens, turkeys, grouse and rabbits- along with a play area for the kids.

Stayed that night near Sinop in a delightful seaside town---- including plastic palm trees! Went to sleep listening to the sound of the waves! Invariably the lifts have no safety door and you watch the floors go past. Taxis are always yellow and slightly cheaper than UK.

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Mon 23 Sept--- 3 weeks from home and 3676 miles and on to Ordu .Rubble and hardcore again for miles and a great dust cloud behind us. Colin reckons that the hotels disappear at 4 pm (the time he starts looking for hotel) ----- 3.30 pm you pass at least 7. Come 4pm they all disappear. This is how I came to sitting on the back reading the Lonely Planet’s for about 60 k --- that’s a first too! Finally found a hotel where they wanted Colin to park on the pavement – with a 10 inch lip! – Needless to say to bike stayed on the road!

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A stroll along the Black Sea – the sand is very dark and reasonably fine. Large boulders form the rocks and the mountains reach right to the sea edge in places. We had a cable car ride here at dusk – and that was great.

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Tues 27 and we were off to Trabzon and 2 days R and R – felt that we needed it. Hotel is just by the sea and temperature in the afternoon – a balmy 25 degrees. That night Trabzon football team were playing France in an international match and the French team were staying at the hotel so security was extra tight with armed militia and out riders! – They must have known we were coming!

Colin had a contretemps with the hotel manager about parking the bike –no secure car park in a ‘good’ hotel. Needless to say Colin won the day and the bike is covered and parked just outside the main door!! This had to be agreed with the Head of Security, of course.
We need this time to catch up on housekeeping – Colin had the bike washed and said he wished he had taken the camera with him as it was just like a meringue and covered with foam. He is, at present, cleaning the panniers in the shower!!! --- As you do.

Yesterday we checked the Camelbaks --- and they were growing a black mould inside. – Not too healthy I hear you say. We traipsed round a 3 storey shopping Mall trying to find Milton – but no success. (This Mall was complete with Noddy Train – reckon we should suggest that to Swindon Outlet!) So we have them steeping in a strong saline solution at the moment and Colin has managed to find a bit of string and pulled that through the pipes --- honesty, the things that you do ! – Still dubious whether we use them again – need new bladders, I think.

Well, this has been an epic blog and do hope that I haven’t bored you all to tears. We feel more rested and are off again tomorrow – Friday 30 Sept. We have decided that now we will turn south and follow the sun- cut out Georgia and Armenia completely. This will give us more opportunity to see sights in the south – and stay warm for a while.

Losses up to date! ---- a pair of knickers in Chur, a washing line in Croatia and 200 cigarette that Colin forgot to pack in Erdine ------ everyone who knows me would know that I wasn’t too happy about that one!!!

More to come, cheers, Dee and Colin ----

Posted by Dee Masters at September 29, 2011 12:18 PM GMT

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