Istanbul was so close that our minds were actually there since the moment we left Sofia. It was a really strange feeling, because one side we wanted to be there already, and in the other we didn’t want to reach our first checkpoint. Even though we were in a hurry we still saw nice cities and slept surrounded by wild animals!
When we left Simona’s place in Sofia it took us forever to leave, we were so comfy there that we were just trying to delay the departure. But as it always happens, after the first couple kilometers we got in the cycling mood again.
Roads in Bulgaria are not the worst in the Balkans, but that carries a bigger problem: drivers go really fast. For the most part there is no space on the side of the road so trucks, specially, pass really close. Luckily we took an empty road next to the highway. But still we were not enjoying the way that much, we were counting every kilometer till Turkey.
On the first day we camped next to a power plant. At the beginning I thought it was going to be horrible, as we could hear the cables boozing, but we were so tired it was no problem at all. Probably it was not the healthiest, but at least not annoying.
Plovdiv was on our way and we really wanted to visit the renaissance Bulgarian city. And we really liked it! We hoped we would get some couchsurfer, but no luck there. Still we decided to stay at a hostel.
We thought it would be nice to take it easy, as we are not enjoying the way that much. And also it’s getting colder. We really need warmer sleeping bags (Javi is thinking to get a -4°F comfort one!).
The next day we found a perfect camping spot … or so we thought! Far away from the road, so the cars could not be heard. Nice even surface, and no light around to stargaze. Everything was perfect when suddenly … wolfs!
We didn’t see them, thank god! But we could hear them loud and clear. We packed our dinner, left our food far away from the tent, and got in our tents. I never heard anyone being attacked by wolfs while being in a tent, so we hoped not to be the first ones. (Obviously we weren’t, and now we have a cool story to tell our grandkids!)
The next morning was so foggy that we still feared that the wolfs might decide to pay us a visit. So we run away from there as fast as we could.
That day we reached Turkey! To enter the country you need to pay. They call it a visa, but it’s just a sticker you can put yourself, after paying, of course. They don’t check anything. And the funniest thing is that is cheaper to pay in Euros than in Turkish Lira (I can´t understand why).
We got to Edirne, the first city in Turkey, to realize that Javi’s rack was broken. In the bike shop we asked they didn’t have new ones, but that wasn’t a problem. The owner ran to a hardware store and came back with some tools to fix it. It’s not a perfect solution, but it still lasts!
As winter is getting closer and cold with it, our tents get completely soaked with the condensation, so during the day we have to dry them.
When we finally got to Istanbul we could not believe it. The last 30 km were madness. Cars, buses, trucks, 6 lanes for each way … So much fun! We were so pumped with adrenaline, that the way seemed short in this chaotic order. We were even faster than the cars!
Then we arrived to hostel were we will sleep for a couple days (at least). The French couple we met a couple weeks ago is staying here, so we decided to stay too. Tomorrow we will meet Goiznabar!
We can’t wait to hear news from the third Biziklauta, and visit the city. But so far the most impressive thing is that I’m not surprised we are here. Maybe this trip is desensitizing us, and we can’t get surprised any more.