Border crossing is smooth once again and my excitement rises hitting the first bigger city. It is my first time in Turkey and I do not know what to expect. So first things first, stopping on the main road close to the ATMs to get some cash. On the way back to my bike I see a man trying to sit on my bike with a phone in his hand. I know some people are very sensitive about this topic, but I personally do not see it as a big deal. Coming back to my bike the man hands me his phone with words “photo, photo”. Once the photo session is over he grabs my hand saying “Çay” and drags me to the local tea place. I love these kind of places. It’s full of men playing board games, drinking tea and smoking. At our table there are 3 other men. Non of them speaks English and I do not speak turkish (for now:) ). Luckily, living in this century modern technologies facilitate these unpleasant situations and all of us pull out our phones and start talking to google translator. After 2 rejections of invitation for lunch the 3rd one was more like an order. “Put your stuff in my cars” the man says. And so with unlocked bike and my gear is someones care we are heading to the restaurant. Having eaten one full lahmacut then I had another plate full of rice and meat on the top, salad and a desert with famous ayran I am leaving more than full from this place 2 hours after I pulled over for the ATM. Riding all the way to Istanbul is impossible, therefore I stop in a small coast town called Silivri where I am meeting with a Russian couple riding a BMW RT all the way from Moscow. The next I am heading to Istanbul with a company of a big traffic and heat. The worst thing is being stuck and unable to move. Then you really sweat BIG TIME. After talking to Max I am reserving a hostel close to his, so we can catch up again and share our riding experience so far. Being in hostel is really cool. On this one I reserved a private room so I can bring and charge all my stuff, but also keep the social element of meeting other travellers. And there are many in Istanbul. So many because of the world cup in Russia.
There is a rider I tried to get in touch with while she was on her solo trip to the UK. She was not able to contact me passing through Switzerland, but left me her phone number to get in touch once I hit Istanbul. I always love meeting locals as they can show you around. Istanbul is a massive city. 20 billion people plus all the tourist feed this everyday craziness. As you might know the city is split into the European and the Asian part. I stayed in the European where most of the touristic attractions are. Gotta say though the Asian part is so much more modern and easygoing. But that is all a matter of personal preference. After spending an amazing weekend with the most amazing girl I decided to continue with my trip east. If it was a good or a bad decision we will never find out. Unfortunately. I am riding the black sea coastline and the scenery is absolutely epic. My first stop is a small city called Zonguldak. I find a hotel using google maps as booking is prohibited. It is a very nice one on right on the coast with an amazing views. Hotels in Turkey are very cheap comparing to Europe and so for couple of bucks I have an amazing place to rest. A porter helps me with my luggages and after a cold shower I decide to go downtown for a walk and to eat something. Half way down I realise it takes way too long and go back to the hotel to get my bike. Then I see there is a massive buffet open in our restaurant. Learning at the reception that it’s all you can eat for 40TL it is a no brainer and I am staying. All the people stay inside even hiding with windows with the shades. I wanna enjoy the view and try to sit on the outside terrace. The waiter runs after me saying I cannot sit there. 2 young lads sitting there and having a massive dinner along with a bottle of Raki inviting me to join them. Of course I agree and after finishing the bottle we go out for another one. After showing me apparently the oldest tennis court in Turkey they take me to a very beautiful restaurant by the see (recently loaded with food in the buffet) and they start ordering not only Raki, but also more food. The day comes to an end and I have 2 new friend taking me back to the hotel. I keep on riding along the coastline all the way to Cide, where I am spending my next night. Small family place right at the beach with amazing views. I could get used to it very easily. This continues all the way to a very touristic town called Sinop where the scenery road ends. When stopping at the beach to take these photos a guys comes on his bicycle and invites me to his house for Çay. I love these kinda spontaneous invitations so I do not resist and follow him.
Turkish people are amazing. We do not speak the same language, we never saw each other before and most probably never will and yet they invite you to their houses to offer you a cup of tea. Well, while heating up the water he brought a full breakfast. This leaves me completely speechless. Unfortunately, there is a bad internet connection here so my host and me just at each other, each of us talking his own language. Once stopping in a pretty city called Ordu the hospitality comes to a completely new level. I love getting my hair cut in random places. Right next to my hotel entrance is a place like that. Walking by I see it’s full of locals. Bingo! With my hands I show haircut sign and they tell me to sit down. A big (fat) fella invites me to the chair and shakes his head asking “what do we do?”. I look around (as like when I most of the time order a food) and see a small boy with a cool cut. I point my finger at him and say “like this”. When we are done and I ask “how much?” big barber says “nothing” and points to the man saying he paid. The father of that child. He is getting shaved while I go there to say thank you. – “Dinner?” he asks. – “Why not” – “Do you like Pide?” Few minutes later we sit in his car with his 2 sons heading to a restaurant where a fresh Pide is already waiting for us. After that we go for a çay and few hours later the drive me back home. And guess what. They did not let me pay a single thing. Can anyone explain this to me???