Monday, April 20, 2009

DAY 153

I've been running along side the Black Sea now since Istanbul. My campsites have included everything from cliff tops to beaches, from forests to hazelnut groves. My "ensuite facilities" have ranged from mountain streams to a dip in the sea. I've had all kinds of dealing with my surrounding wildlife. I've been camped next to toads that croaked till 3am. Another night I had some bird that must have just migrated back from Africa as it was stuck in a different time zone. It sang all night and was getting hoarse come sunrise. Another night I must have camped directly on top of the entrance to a mouse's lair as I had 3 or 4 mice running along the roof of the tent and scratching to get in. I lit the stove up for an hour to clear them off. Another night, I was in a forest between two towns. The evenings' final call to prayer echoed across the forest at about 8.30pm. Then the wolves started howling along to the prayer call and then the dogs started barking at the wolves. The entire hills were full of sound.
And so tonight I'm in a hotel.(my second since Istanbul). All electric goods are being queued up for the plug socket and I've found a handy way of having a wash while also doing the laundry;-get into the shower fully clothed.Scenery wise the Black Sea coastal run has been exceptional. And the people I have met have been the friendliest since Day 1 of GCR (Global-Cycle-Ride). The first half (Istanbul to Sinop) had roads of empty traffic but the difficult 10% hills. The second half (Sinop to Giresun) has been a flat dual-carriageway with a smooth hard shoulder all the way. We've rode across two thirds of Turkey but now its time to step away from the sea, select a low gear and swing right into the mountains. The reason I left Ireland in mid-November was to get to the mountains of east Turkey in time for the winter snow to melt, while also taking into consideration the fact that I want to cross the Central Asian deserts before the peak summer comes. All things considered, we're doing OK on time.

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