Day 125: Karabuk – Just outside Eskipazar (53km) – Distance travelled so far 7,431 km “Turkish Breakfast, Short Day and Camping”

Great night sleep in Fatih’s house. We all had beds believe it or not!!!…..On waking up, Fatih was hard at work preparing a traditional Turkish breakfast for us. This comprised of Simit (like a bagel), Turkish omolete, cheese, salad and of course Turkish tea and fresh Ekemek (bread)…Life doesnt get much better than this!!!

Fatih busy cooking us Turkish breaky


Turkish Cay with Fatih and Onur

Paul attempts to pour a Turkish cay (pronounced chai)

What the hell is Turkish Cay???? Ok, we will explain briefly. Paul is holding two pots. The one in Paul’s left hand is filled with boiling water. The pot in his right hand contains a concentrated mix of Cay (which is incidentally brewed by the other pot of boiling water over a stove) The secret is to pour a little of the tea mix into a cay glass and then fill the remainder with as much/or little boiling water as you wish…..Hey presto you got yoursef a Turkish cay!!!!

Fatih and Onur help us find a bicycle repair shop

Fatih and Paul exchange bikes…

Fatih finds the going tough on Paul’s galaxy

Fixing Paul’s wobbly back wheel

Wheel Truing from a Turkish Master

Health and Safety should get onto this Turkish painter

2nd biggest steel factory in Turkey

Fatih shows us the wonderful scenery around Karabuk

Mr Fatih Sahin – a great host

Mike stares into a deep 80 meter river gorge 25km outside Karabuk

Turkish delights – Adios boys – Cheers for everything

We part ways with Fatih and Onur and head another 30km or so in the direction Bolu. We had a great time with the lads with it being a pity that we could not stay a little longer. Now, we had approx 300km to do till Istanbul. Mike will be taking a week off to meet his girlfirend, Joanne with Brian and Paul to take 2-3 days….(much needed after approx 1,800 kilomters of cycling since our border crossing into Turkey)

Brian searches for a camping spot

We find a dis-used house near a petrol station and decide to camp at the back of it. The nights get damn cold here still so its long-johns and socks come bed-time…..

Bring on tomorrow morning…..

Night folks

Day 124: Kastamonu – Karabuk (112km) – Distance travelled so far 7,378 km “Fatih and the Boys”

We chilled to the max in Kastamonu (definitely still recovering from Day 122 no doubt). Today we plan another good stint of over 100 kilometers. Hopefully all this tough work will pay dividends soon, as we feel that we are due a much needed rest!!!!!!

Leaving Kastamonu

Paul meets Tuncar

Paul decided to stay a little longer in Kastamonu this morning to catch up on some emails and to search for a bike shop to fix a now, very worbbly back wheel!!! On departing the hostel, he bumped into a Turkish cyclist named Tuncar. Tuncar organised us a contact in Karabuk and accomodation at a student village. Paul was also approached by a passer-by who showed him todays newspaper. Thaireland were on the front page of Kastamonu’s main newspaper….from our day spent in Hanonu.

We even got a second page dedicated to use.

Tuncar’s rig (very light in weight)

We all agree that cycling out of Kastamonu was utter torture. There were mindless amounts of hills (about 30km of them to be exact!!!) in our way. These hills were accompanied by a unrelenting headwind that sapped the very lifes blood from our already aching bodies. The devilish elements also forced us to cycle at an agonising 6-8km p/hr!!!!! There is no doubting this fact that; “big hill climbs and strong headwinds turn a cycling into a load of “@#$%%&”……Ahem!!

Free cay for Paul on route (Just outside Arac)

The newspaper came in pretty handy for Paul today….

A nice meal in Arac (discounted again) Yipeeee!!!!!!!!!!!

Catering for the Irish…Great people those Turks

Cycling through thunder storms

Harsh roads, slow progress. The weather is improving though

Giving it our all on them there harsh roads

Entering Karabuk

Paul meets up with Brian and Mike and the whole story about Tuncar, Fatih and a Turkish homestay unfolds. We shall be staying at a University Campus tonight….Another score for the Thaireland lads…Perfect….

The weather is so hit n’ miss today

Supper time with Fatih and friends

Meal time in Turkey with Fatih and friends

The legend that is Fatih Sahin

Fatih with Thaireland

Our Turkish companions for the night

We sneaked in some of the Munster Game on the side….but gave up when the score looked ominous for us. With tired eyes, we stay up chatting until the wee hours. It at been a another great day and with Istanbul firmly in our sights at this stage, things could only get better..

Night Folks

Day 123: Hononu – Kastamonu (70km) – Distance travelled so far 7,266 km “Tired legs, but a nice handy day”

When we arrived into Hononu last night we headed straight for a Kebab shop and luckily the owner offered us more than just kebabs. We informed him that we needed a place to stay, so he immediately got on the phone and sorted out lodgings as well as a chauffeur to get us there.

We gladly left the bikes in his restaurant and hopped in the back of the car. We all agreed that it was quite a weird feeling being in a car.

We awoke this morning feeling extremely tired but knowing that we only had to complete 70kms to the next town, made the days cycle much more appealing. After freshening up we headed back to the kebab shop to collect our bikes and upon arrival we were greeted by a local newspaper reporter interested to know what three Irish guys with strange bicycles were doing in his town. Over a free cup of cay we explained our story, did a quick photo shoot and got on our way.

Thankfully the roads an weather today were perfect for a touring cyclist, so we made our destination in no time. Check out the pics for the day.

Mike finally latching on to the idea that using cosmetics is socilibly acceptable

The staff of the school/teachers house locked us in, so we had to exit via the window….

There is always a hill to climb in Turkey

A shepherd guards his herd

Paul staying the course….weather is gettin hot

Unrelenting kilometers for our tired legs

and of course the downhills are well appreciated too!!!

Familiar sight of a lone farmer tending to the crops

Men dominate The “Cay Houses” in Turkey…Men gossip and women work in these parts!!!

Master Splinter saves this turtle from certain death

Mike and Paul after a job well done…

Cycling on down the road we were overwhelmed by a very potent smell.

Demons watch out!!! – Lady garlic sellers about!!

The roads surface and workers similar to back home

Retro Disco Brian

Oh….the deep burn!!!!

Clowning around!

Sexy Paul

Start them young

We arrived into Kastamonu at about 4pm. Todays easy cycle was just what the doctor ordered after yesterdays horrific ordeal.