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08/12 – Saray – Gumuspinar – Susabi : Off the Bulgarian map

January 14, 2011

Lots of dogs howling and crawling in the night – Julian fears for wolves and we bung the food in a dry bag and sling it over a tree just to be sure. Theres a loud barking outside the tent as we wake and its a curious and slightly scared looking dog on the other side of the clearing – we chase it away with the prospect of pepper spray in the face – a little dog chasing is a good way to start the day!

Massive breakfast thanks to the kindness of the old lady the day before – we are powerhouses today and cream through our daily portion of 80km no problem. we pick up the biggest loaf of break imaginable (it barely fits in the pannier) and have an equally huge lunch in the rather grim but rather important junction town of Susabi – both directions point to Istanbul but one is on the autobahn and the other is on the small roads. We’ve left the map now and are cycling blind – Urbanity is incerasing at the same rate that the reassuring blue signs to Istanbul are decreasing…

We must be getting close and surely you cant miss Istanbul, but we end up cycling for 40km in what might well be the wrong direction. We make it to what we think is the outskirts of the city only to be told the centre is another 60km away – we have no food and no money so we need to go further into town to find a cashpoint and a supermarket – and of course heading closer to Istanbul means less camping opportunities. We have to backtrack to our last possible camping spot 15km earlier, the otherside of a rather large and imposing military base. we try to take a turn down a track only to receive lots of loud whistles from various soldiers instucting us to turn back – camping near the base probably not a good idea. we find some trees a bit firther out and make camp, cooking up the last of our grub for our last night on the bikes before the big I…

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