The Bull is In the Bag

December 3, 2009

2579.7 miles in 51 days cycling and I have finally achieved my goal of cycling from London to Istanbul.

The only land mark of Istanbul I knew of before arriving is the Blue Mosque so this is where I headed to complete my goal. In honesty, actually arriving was a an anti climax since the suburbs of Istanbul are 220km  from East to West and it has taken me 2 days to reach the center. I cycled the last 10 km getting mixed responses at my cries of “Am I in Istanbul yet?”

From the Blue Mosque I pushed my bike down through the Bazar in a light drizzle of rain and found the Orient hostel where people were sitting around smoking hookahs and drinking Cay. I felt a little bit lost as I strolled through the crowd knowing I wouldn’t be climbing aboard my bike for another days long cycling adventure. Part of me was also relieved that my sore backside could recover.

I sat down and bought myself a large Efes beer and downed it before I attended to the very pressing task of washing my kit since I had put it off for the past 10 days.

I am as confused about writing a blog as when I started 8 weeks ago. There are a few loose ends to tidy up, earlier entries to add and pictures to update but this is pretty much it so thank you for reading and thank your supportive emails.

The End……….

I Can Make You Famous

December 1, 2009

In an age where the monstrosity of pointless celebrities take over our airwaves and headlines;  Big Brother, X-Factor and Paris Hilton’s My New Best Friend Forever are just not going to be enough to satisfy the needs of a fame craving population.

I have a solution that may take the pressure off the more traditional methods.

In just 3 months I have become a local celebrity phenomenon from Hungary through half a continent into Turkey.

  • Do you want the adoration of screaming kids on bicycles and constant beeping of car and lorry horns?
  • Do you want to command free cups of tea and gifts of chocolate from passers-by?
  • Do you want  to be the center of attention with inquisitive questions and smiles?
  • Do you want to be hot property with offers of a private nature and invitations to meet the most highly esteemed local officials?

If the answer to these questions is ‘Yes’ then just follow my secret fame producing instructions:

  1. Get a bike
  2. Dress up in some colourful gear
  3. Cycle to the places where people don’t care about rubbish TV and Paris Hilton
  4. Learn the words for “Hello” “Please” and “Thank you” in your chosen place
  5. Practise riding with one hand whilst waving
  6. Keep smiling 😉

Turkish Cuisine

December 1, 2009

“Do not dismiss the dish saying that it is just food. The blessed thing is an entire civilization in itself”                                                                                                                                                                                  Abdulhak Sinasi

I was perplexed when the only English in today’s evening meal menu was the above statement. Either they ran out of money for translations or they have employed a very shoddy Marketing Manager.

The Turkish cuisine and endless Turkish Tea or Cay continues to impress. Once again my perceptions have been challenged. I was sure that Turkey was famous for its Coffee not its Tea.

Mr Liver Lover

November 29, 2009

Cycling consumes vast calories apparently. Based on my body weight and lightning pace I should be burning about 800 calories per hour. This gives me a very good excuse for managing to eat the sort of 40 square Milka chocolate bar that is designed to be consumed as a treat over a few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Not My Ideal Job

November 28, 2009

It is a full time job keeping the Mosque carpet clean.

The Bird Man

November 28, 2009

Turks are well-known for their unscrupulous sales pitches.  The trick is to always enter these situations with a position that will not budge under any circumstance, manipulation, bribe or guilt trick.

I told this nice man that I was not going to buy his bird seed but some people do not listen.  He started to throw his bird seed product in front of my eyes so I could get some nice photos of some sky rats. I told him again when he tried to put the bird seed in my hand I am not buying. He threw some more bird seed on the ground at my feet. At half way through the cup I repeated that I am not buying the bird seed whether it is on the floor or in the cup. I knew exactly where this situation was going and the man exploded with anger once he had thrown away a full cup and I kept walking with my wallet firmly shut.

The Birdman’s final attempt to extract money  was to claim that fact that I was  continuing to take photos meant he deserved payment. Of course I did get some value from The Birdman if pictures of sky rats could be described as valuable.