• 9 September 2012

At the end I set off for the Word Tour. Will be back after 7 years :)

At the end I set off for the Word Tour. Will be back after 7 years :)

At the end I set off for the Word Tour. Will be back after 7 years :) 1024 575 Gürkan Genç

We are having breakfast with my brother, father and mother the last time before I set off for the World Tour for seven years. We talk about routines as usual and also about my tour.

If Gurkan Genc ventures forth such a huge tour with his bicycle this is because of his wonderful family. We are a strong family. This power comes from our mutual love and respect to each other’s decisions. We, the two brothers, always respect our mother and father and we love each other. We are joking with my brother while he is carrying my bags down. Four people strong and trusting each other, this is my family. While I am on the tour they will come to certain places during my 7 years’ tour. That is we will be going to meet. I would say that leaving the family behind while cycling around the world is the hardest part. But I and also my family have no doubt that we would be together again when I come back.

I have chosen the first Turkish Great National Assembly building as the starting point of my world tour since this is a follow up of the Turkey-Japan tour which I had started in Samsun. For this reason, the starting point will definitely be the first Assembly.

I departed from home pedaling slowly down the empty streets of Ankara. Well, I won’t pass by the presidency building for a long time neither climb the Cinnah Street too. I wonder if Melih Gokcek will still be the mayor when I return to Ankara. The last one and a half years, Ankara turned into a huge construction area under his rule.

I feel myself strange, but this is not excitement. I guess, I am happy being on the road again. It came into my mind that I was breathing deeply in front of the check point at the border “What is your destination Gurkan?”. “Japan”.

Hooooooooooooorrrrrrraaaaaayyy! Hooooooooooorrrrrrraaaaaaaayyyyyyyy! It is really hard to motivate and pump yourself up. At that time that might had been excitement but this time it is pure happiness. I would be pedaling in Turkey for some time. The thrill will be the first pass-climb in France, let’s see what will come up till then.

The front of the Kizilay Guven Park… Well, I know that I would not be pedaling with the Thursday Evening Cyclists in Ankara for a while. The first time I came here with my bicycle in 2009, Funda Uluturk came next to me and said “HEY YOU!! YOU THE NEW COMER, INTRODUCE YOURSELF” And I did. Then the things came after. 🙂

I don’t remember how many times I was as a guest of the TRT radio station situated in Ulus within one and a half years. As I had been keeping to say: “One person makes up one person.” I replied to the invitations for having presentations from all over Turkey as I could. Woow, when putting in this way I realized how fast time has gone.

Now I’m standing in front of the first National Assembly Building in Ankara. Huumm, what a  good feeling. Nearly all my friends and people that I expected are gathered here. Woow, my primary school mate Mustafa came with his son. Hey!  This is our old neighbor Uncle Turan. I was expecting a couple of my mates would come to the starting point but now what I see is an enormous crowd. My mother’s friends Tülay Abla (elderly sister in Turkish) and Fatma Abla presented me a blue bead worn against the evil eye. A mother that I haven’t met before came next to me and said “My dear son Gürkan. Unfortunately my son was not able to come so I came.” How come?..… “I am proud of you!” Then I saw a man next to me with a Korean-Turkish flag attached on his jacket lapel.

-My son, I congratulate you. May God speed you.

-Thank you sir. You attached a Korean flag on your jacket lapel, why?

– I’m a Korean war veteran

Uncle, I went to your comrades in arms.  I told him that I couldn’t make up why they went there but I was welcomed and hosted in South Korea thanks to them. I’m really grateful to them. The Epic of Kunuri came to my mind. Who are you uncle? How did you hear about me? I gulped deeply back? Fatma Abla moved me: “My Son you are setting a good example to so many young people. You will manage this, too!”  As strong as I might be, there are some moments I cannot pull together. And these moments are even harder for a person who has in mind to pass over the toughest regions throughout the world. That’s why I never like saying goodbye. As Melek’s daughter came next to me and whispered in my ear “Isn’t it possible that you don’t go?” I thought how it would had been if I wouldn’t have left. But,. I’m not even thinking for that. I need to pedal, travel around and discover.  I really want this by my heart. I never shall stop, I shall continue to travel. Maybe, one day she will come somewhere to visit me when she is grown up!

Thanks a lot to all my mates, friends, anybody who came to say goodbye. You didn’t leave me alone at the start of this tour. We shall meet again when I return. We would be chatting via internet till that time.

Just as I was about to start pedaling, I realized that someone was missing..  Berna!! She called from Burak’s mobile saying: “Tell him to wait. We will be arriving soon” For god’s sake! If she would know how hard to wait is! At the end, not letting me wait much, Berna and the crew from last night’s birthday party of Zafer arrived and we started to pedal all together towards a café located at the outskirt of Ankara. En route the cyclist group of METU, the Lizards, joined us together with a French traveler and his mate they met a week before to accompany me at those first kilometers of my tour!!

The French cyclist came next to me saying: “Gurkan I have happened to know you since three days. I saw that you are beloved by your friends and your milieu. Whom I ever asked about bicycle you were addressed. People called me crazy when I departed from France for two years. I would tell to all my friends on my blog page that I have met someone crazier than me.”

After we had a short break on the way, I started to say good bye to my friends who pedaled all the way along with me, each of them a treasure. But there was one among them…She had accompanied me to border during my bicycle tour from Turkey to Japan. She was talking, telling things with her eyes moved to tears. She still kept talking. I don’t remember what she was talking about. My eyes also moved to tears. I hugged her as to say stop talking, then left her returning to my bicycle. Funda Uluturk! You will always be in heart my dear friend. You were not aware of what you were talking about. But your eyes told me everything, don’t worry my dearest.  Every single thing… By the way, Ugur I heard that you had burnt my ears J I didn’t lose those 22 pounds for nothing.J

I kept pedaling with Sinan, Baris, Anil and the Lizards Group. I’m like a space shuttle launched into space, everyone falls behind me as kilometers pass by. Before arriving to Sivrihisar, initially Anil and then Sinan and lastly Baris left.  In the evening, Aygul and Canan came where I camped near Sivrihisar returning from their holiday. Well, as I was en route, they came to say goodbye. Meanwhile young cyclists from Eskisehir came also to my camp site. They wanted to meet and see me for a last time before I leave. I was at a loss for words. They hugged me with heart and soul whishing good luck.

And I woke up in the morning.”Kara Simsek” (Black Thunder) fully equipped was ready to go. He and me lonesome are on the road again. It has been passed one and a half year that I returned from my Asia tour and I had never been fully equipped on the road since then.  A couple of hours passed. A big smile hanging on my face. Huh that’s it! I love being on the road! I love to be lonesome on the road!  Not due to selfishness. People keep asking me, “Gurkan, wouldn’t be better to have a companion on long journeys?” Well, some cannot cope without a friend, some need someone to talk to, get bored when he/she is lonesome, cannot sleep on his/her own, wants her/his beloved be there, don’t feel save traveling alone, some want to share the last, her/his companion may power him/her up to keep going on.

I love being lonesome. I don’t like to pedal sticking to someone’s performance. I don’t have to look back for my team mate whether s/he keeps on pedaling or whether I pedal too fast when I’m alone. Whenever I want to pedal I do pedal and whenever I want to stop I do stop. I love to travel as if being a huge truck. I love to climb with that heavy load as steep as possible with my bicycle, even though I keep grumbling: “Oh shit, again a climb”, “What the hell is this, never ending”. Also, I’m only responsible for myself when I’m on my own. I am taking into account too much risk. As long as I survive, no matter what happens, I WOULD OVERCOME!! I don’t like to talk while pedaling, I wake up early and get ready in shortest time. When I am on my own, I spend less money. I sleep wherever I want: in the middle of nowhere, in a truck park, in a bordel, in homes of strangers hosting me. Being alone, I easily make contact with others.

It doesn’t should come to that I am not a good team mate since I love to be lonesome. I pedaled for about 2 months with strangers during my previous tour. Also in this tour I will run into people with whom I would strike up friendship and pedal together.  And I won’t leave them on the lurch being a team mate. But still, when I am on the road with my bicycle, I love to pedal by my own.

The highways in Turkey are in such a good condition suitable for pedaling. You could ask any tourer in Turkey and get the same answer: “The roads in Turkey are good.” I asked. J. Broad safety lanes and good asphalt. The road between Sivrihisar and Afyon was just as I mentioned. The slope was quite low and there were short up and downs surrounded with Anatolian moorland. There is nothing to do on this road but keep pedaling.

The course of the tour in Turkey, partly performance partly sightseeing, was supposed for just getting familiar with the bicycle and getting prepared for the seven years’ tour.  What I realized first was that the wireless model of Sigma road computer I used didn’t work steadily since it got buried underneath the front bags. Furthermore, I needed to fix the front bags with the hooked elastic bands as I did during the Turkey-Japan tour. Due to the unevenness of the road, especially when down pedaling above a speed of 50 km per hour, the bags rigorously vibrated which resulted in swaying back and forth.

There is a town Bayat just at the foot of the Koroglu Pass. Well, I got a little hungry. I stopped at a petrol station just outside the town. Actually I stopped there with the hope to find a market. I asked the guy where the market is while a couple of people staring at my bicycle.

– Abi (Elderly brother) where are you coming from?

– Ankara

– Where are you going to?

– I’m on a world tour

– What? With this there?

-Oh yeap. With this.

This was the first time I met a person who couldn’t believe that something like this might happen. As they asked me what my first destination is, I answered them as USA. The boy heatedly run side and yelled: “Uncle, come here. That Abi is going to the States!” Hahaha.. They didn’t get excited that much when I told them I was on a world tour. Really strange. The answer of his uncle was even stranger: “Of course he will go, what is the matter on this. Just stepping on the gas, this thing would go”

Which gas?

“No Abi, this is a bicycle”

“What the hell of a bicycle is this? Hasn’t it got an engine, or so?”

Hahaha. They were searching for a motor beneath the bicycle. Then they spent a stolen look on my legs. My legs’ muscles show up themselves. J After I told them for how long I would be on the road, their mouth went o shaped.  After this small talk, I went to the tea garden next to the station.

Having a toast and mineral water, I held a conversation started with the locals around. The owner of that tea garden Osman listening to me showed his movie collection talking about it. He had an incredible Turkish movie collection dating back to 1950s.

He said: “There is no other archive like this in Turkey. I collected initially Beta and VHS cassettes then continued with CD’s and DVD’s. Now, I’m downloading the movies from the internet.” This man, owner of a small tea-garden, watches and lets others watch Turkish movies in the small town Bayat mentioning how wonderful our movies are.

The matter that the others wandering was how come I would manage to climb the Koroglu Pass with such a heavy load on my bicycle. I answered “by pedaling” and departed. It was an easy and comfortable climb. As I reached the pass a big smile was hanging on my face. Of course it would hang, I climbed up to 4650 m with my bicycle in Tadzhikistan. It would happen the same also in South America because I would be climbing above 5000 m. Those moments differ from the others.

Since I had been traveling all around Turkey with my family for years during the summer vacations, I know almost all the cities, towns, attractions etc. en route. As I was pedaling towards the restaurants and resting area at the outskirts of Afyon, I passed the public security center. I thought that I might camp at the garden or overnight in the Policemen guest-house for a cheap price, why not? As I entered the station, the policeman first thought that I was a foreigner and after learning that I’m Turkish he smiled at me. He told me that I could stay at the guesthouse just next to the building. “You don’t need to camp here. One night costs only 20 TL”.  Just on top of that, I pedaled directly to the guest house.

I introduced myself to the attendant at the reception and told him what I’m on. I showed him the papers that I received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  I showed my web-site on his computer. At the end I had introduced myself the best way possible. Guess what the response was: “Unless you have a friend at court you cannot stay here. But let me ask my chief.” I was hearing the manager’s speech who also said the same: “No matter he travels around the world, he cannot overnight if he hasn’t got any policeman to go bail for him”” Even though the attendant could go bail for me he didn’t.  🙂 I looked around for some suitable camping places but was not able to find any.  I went out onto the fields. Just I was about to say that I found a place, I realized the thorns on the tires. What a fucking shit is that!  I counted about 20 thorns on each tire. Now, the time has come to test the strength of the Schwalbe Mondial series, will they get flat? As a result there was no suitable camping place around here. Let’s go to the Varan motel of located at the fork of Afyon-Antalya road.  I had loved the tomatoes soup of this place since my childhood. And this was the first time pedaled after it got dark. I turned my front and back lights on and pedaled to the Varan facilities. I immediately asked to the workers for permission to camp at nearby petrol station. They answered back that their chief would get angry with them if they would allow me to camp.  I really can’t understand this!! I just asked for a permission to camp and sleep there, that’s all. Why can’t you take responsibility? I remembered China. Nearly all the workers at the petrol stations in China were women. Whenever I asked them for permission to camp they welcomed me with a great hospitability.  I kept moving towards Denizli for 100 m where I run into the signboard of Afyon Natural Park. If I can’t camp here, it will give up! 🙂 Again, as the security guards saw me at the door they got surprised.

-Hi, I want to camp inside the park.

-We are closed

-For god’s sake! A nature enthusiast riding on his bicycle stops by and asks for camping under the trees. Is this really all what you say?

-I have to call my chief.

It seems that I won’t be able to find a place to erect my tent this night. Holly shit!! Anyhow, the chief they called let me camp there. What kind of a community we are, afraid of taking decisions on our own.

When I was a small child, my dad took the whole family to the Dumlupinar Martyrdom. We had bumped the exhaust of the car at a rugged railway just outside that martyrdom. That railway is still as it was to be..For god’s sake! If you are not able to have it work then remove or fix it.  It is as rugged as we had seen years before.

There is no one else except the warden. Only the flag waving under the wind cuts the silence. I go to the entrance. There is the huge monument of a Turkish Soldier on top of the hill. I pray for all the martyrs and then leave silently. The warden takes me as a foreigner and studies me for a long time.

The travel to the city Manisa was on an even keel. I just pedaled.  Once I had a break, an old man come next to me and asked in English-:”Hey, where are you from?” and I run into my first friendship of my tour.  🙂 Adrean and Sue. They set off with their motorbike from England and after Bulgaria they arrived in Turkey. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard that both were around 70s. What a beautiful woman she is! Her blue eyes still shining.

“Sue you are 70 years old and still so beautiful. I felt myself to tell you.”

What a wonderful way of life is that. You travel the whole world with the beloved person on your side with motorbike. I’m wondering if would ever have the chance to happen this.

“Gurkan we got physically very old. But riding on motorbike makes me feel young. Also, my soul and body fills up with energy. We love traveling with motorbike.  We are not that kind of a couple looking at a book where to go.  We will not be advising anybody saying visit this place, eat or drink at this place. We don’t like to travel within a certain frame.  We love to visit the villages in Turkey. We like going to the places not mentioned in books eating traditional food.”

There is, Gurkan Genc meets his state of 70 years old. This old man is talking and I found myself in him. Just as if looking at a mirror. Just a beloved woman ready to travel on my side for seven years is absent yet. J  But first let me finish the first part of the tour passing through Romania, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Finland in peace. Then I will take care for the rest J  Mom don’t worry. I departed alone but might turn back as three. Take it easy. 🙂

When they asked me whether there is any place worth visiting around, I told them they could go easily with motorbike to the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia 10 km away.

Well, Gurkan, did you also go there? No, I didn’t. Why?  This was the thing I was talking about, I decided only to pedal from one place to the other in Turkey might be the most wonderful country of the whole seven years’ world tour. I have chosen to pedal through the country because, I have to arrive to certain places, meet friends and catch presentations and so on. Why do you think this article came out so late? (Is there anyone who I didn’t reply his/her e-mail or comments on my web site? 🙂 )

While I let myself go like a wind downhill, I saw a few 8 wheels stopped at the roadside whose drivers were drinking tea. Immediately I parked mine next to theirs and joined them. They were deepened in their speech about the un-payment of their salaries by the truck companies. One of the companies’ drivers even sold the gasoline of the lorry because he hadn’t been paid his salary.  Whoa, I didn’t know such things were happening like that.

“Hey Gurkan you are a traveler like us, we don’t have any Turkish liras. Could you exchange USD for us. We are hungry since the restaurants don’t take USD.” said Hasan. I immediately exchanged 50 $ right in place. Solidarity among long distance drivers.. I turned back to the road saying good bye and wishing a safe travel. After 15 minutes as the trucks were passing me by, the drivers hit the horns.  First I got afraid but no matter I also missed this feeling. 🙂 The long distance drivers, you might blow your horns at a distance far enough behind the bikers when you see them. You are scaring us..!

  • Hello Gurkan
  • Muhlis Abi?
  • I guess you will arrive in Manisa on Thursday. Stay here, I arranged everything.

Muhlis Abi is the founder of the “Thursday Evening Cyclists” of Turkey. After all, my adventure had also started with the Thursday Evening Cyclists. I hung up the phone after saying “see you there”. By the way, Urim Abi who was following me from the very beginning of my Japan tour met me in Salihli and we pedaled together till Manisa.

Before I arrived to Salihli, I stopped at a petrol station for camping. Four young men were sitting and staring at me. At first sight they thought I was a foreigner but then as we sat together and started to talk they realized that they were wrong. The owner of the petrol station Diyap is 20 years old. His father handed the station over him. They moved here from Mardin. It is obvious that he is missing Mardin where he wants to go back. Although he insisted me to stay that night I couldn’t because I had a certain distance to pedal on.

I was a guest for a day by the Provincial Director of Youth and Sports of Manisa, Mehmet Bey (Mr). From here, I would like to thank him again. He was a wonderful host.  I had also the chance to pedal with the Thursday Evening Cyclists in Manisa. By the way, my friend Belgin called me and threatened me that if I would leave Manisa without meeting her, my bicycle would got stuck and pedals go dead J. I didn’t left Manisa before seeing her.

It was time to call Fatih at the last plain before İzmir. Who is Fatih? We met with Fatih in Ankara. He is a friend of mine who is “on the path of water”. He wants to draw attention to the lakes that were forced to dry out or are under the danger of drying. Usually, we say piss off and don’t pay attention about it changing the topic. We should never forget that we borrowed this world from our ancestors.  I believe that I do my part. We went together with Fatih to the “Bird Paradise” near İzmir. Meanwhile, Fatih told me about the governmental politics on the lakes. What did they do and plan to do. You can follow him from his web-page.

The place where I would stay in İzmir was previously arranged. But since Idil was attending the sailing races, I had to stay by her family with Osman Abi and Güliz Abla. They hosted me for a week. I would like to thank them once more for their hospitability. I hadn’t have enough time to stay longer in İzmir but during this period I went to İstanbul with bus attending the Bicycle Film Festival. I also had time to pedal with the Thursday Evening Cyclists of İzmir.

The last evening Özge invited me to her home. I had a nice conversation with the three wonderful women whom I met during the Antic Cities tour in Izmir accompanied with best panoramic view of Izmir. Girls, I love you, keep on pedaling (Cisil and Duygu). J

Yeap, I have to keep on pedaling. The program is definite: My team mate Enes, his girl friend Özlem and Urim Abi who accompanied me after Salihli and Onur who arrived from Ankara on the day we started to pedal. We will ride our iron horses all together towards the north of İzmir. Onur has got two days to pedal, so we will pedal as far we can. .

Enes was with me when I departed for Turkey-Japan bicycle tour. Enes’ way of traveling with bike just fits that of mine.  We pedal everywhere without any hesitation. Also while I am with Enes, there is no need to shoot a photo.

While I was looking around I saw the walls of a fortification up on a hill.

– Enes, stop! Let’s climb up this hill. I think there is something.

– Are you sure? I can only see the side wall ruins of a fortification.

-Yeap, I’m sure.

He didn’t even ask a second time and we changed our route to climb up to the hill. After a while the main road ended.  We left our bikes there and continued climbing up to the hill on foot. As we reached the top we saw three people, a woman and two young men taking measures. The view that on the top was amazing.  Wow, there is a real castle at the top! Archeologists have had excavated only a certain part of the area.

Nazlı Hoca (teacher) is one of the authorized people responsible for the excavation area. She was coming here as she was still a student. After graduation she entered the academic world and worked hard to have this excavation reach today’s situation.  I don’t understand why there aren’t any signboards, nobody would see this place. We got informed that they haven’t got enough subsidy. They even have neither a computer to archive their findings nor a good camera to shoot photos of this place. They wanted to shoot top view photos.  The amount of money they spent till now is incredible. There isn’t enough grant. It seems that the government has let some places hang out since there are so many areas to be excavated. By the way Nazlı Hoca also added: “It seems like a graveyard when you look down the hill. This is one of the first cemeteries established in an architectural manner.” The settled life there started at 14 century BC which continued to the period of Ottomans.  From the period of middle bronze age to that of the Ottoman! Unbelievable.

Enes and I got stuck on the hill. Nazlı Hoca is telling and we are listening. She sent me all the documents and photographs about this area. This area is situated on the northern end of a terrain called “Seven Hills”  just 13 km away to the west of Menemen a county of  Izmir. You might go to this unknown ancient place and find Nazlı Hoca. Listen to the glorious history of this place from her own voice and let other be aware of this place.  Maybe, by this way this place deserving attention gets more support from the government or private sector.

By the way, Onur insisted that we eat Sultan mussels while passing through Aliaga. Listening to him we went inside Aliaga and got to the place where these mussels are sold. I don’t know how many plates of these delicious mussels I ate.

The next destination is Aigai. You can find all the details about this place and the others we pedaled together with Enes on his web page, Canavar Kesifte. Aigai was the best ancient cities I had ever visited up to now. By the way, Enes and Özlem are like birds of a feather flocking together! The women I met on my tours come into my mind.  There is no earache. She copes with everything, pedals with her boyfriend, undertakes researches, puts her idea forward and on top of it she dreams. We computed about places we were visiting and got happy when our guesses turned out to be true. Enes possesses the same of way of thinking and power of dream. Therefore, as I said, they are like birds of a feather flocking together.

Aigai is over, the next city is Bergama. We couldn’t decide whether to camp before or stay in Bergama. At the end we, luckily, decided to stay in the city. Initially we looked for a hostel and found one, Gobi Hostel. I asked to the owner a man at the age of 80s:  “Why did you give this name, Gobi?” He answered; “Well, we came from Central Asia of which the biggest desert is the Gobi.” Wowww.. The man who passed that desert with his bicycle is now staying at this hostel in Turkey. Memories came to my mind. I took a deep breath, repeating a couple of times.  Crossing this desert was a hard task, really very hard!

Initially we thought to stay for one day which came out to be three days. I really don’t know where to start. At once, I thought going up to the Temple of Zeus with the cable car. Anyway, without the cable car it would be very hard to climb up and down, though people were daily climbing up and down on their feet centuries ago. At this place we met Serdar and Murat both of which were responsible for the cable car. Due to them we stayed for 3 days in Bergama instead only for one day. J.

They showed us around thoroughly.  My dear friends this city is really an unique city. It is worth to make your first ancient city trip here. The meals are delicious, it has an interesting history and the people are very hospital. Furthermore, the city is cheap. You should definitely try pine nut butter very delicious well known in this region.

When we come together with Enes, one ancient city comes into the sight after another.  Here we go. The Castle of Behram and the Temple of Assos. But before that, let’s take a break for Raki and fish for the evening. 🙂 We shall pedal and go for sightseeing. We shall share where we pedal and what we discover.  We are the modern time travelers and we shall travel with great pleasure. Wow, imagine the pleasure of sitting at a table with Raki! The potherbs, onions and barbecued sea bass with the sound of the thin raki glasses as you hob-nob symbolizing the eternal friendship. “Cheers my dear friend, to pedal lifelong!”

After Behram Castle and Assos tour we bended towards Ezine. That one week passed so fast, it is unbelievable how we could manage to pedal and visit so many places. I had been so sad as the time to leave stroke.  Anyway, Enes is one of my team mates who will let you see the wonderful places of my world tour.  He will be sending the coordinates of those wonderful places which I might not recognize.

My route was Istanbul. It was time to make some changes on my bicycle. By the way, we had an opportunity to work on our new bicycle frame with Bahadır the designer of Kron bicycles: A new model of tour bike. A model which bears more details and I will ride on soon. By the way, as soon as I arrived to Istanbul I was informed about the Yalova Bicycle Festival. I went there too, for sure. The Thursday Evening Cyclists of Yalova and the Yalova Municipality realized really a very successful festival. There I had the chance to meet many of the cyclists whom I knew before.  I met Basak, Secil and Alex there again whom I knew from the Ancient Cities tour. They hosted me also for a day when I returned to Istanbul. They are about to depart for their Asia tour in a short time. You can follow them from their web site. I tried to convince them to pedal with me in Europe and also during the cold winter time but I couldn’t. They would become miserable in that hot damp weather. ( hahaha) J There is their tour.

When I returned from Japan my mate Emre was the one who welcomed me at the airport. Now, departing from Istanbul he was the one who dropped me at the bus station. Anyway, we will be together soon since they bought the flight tickets to Stockholm together with Meyzi.

Now, time to travel to Edirne. I met two travelers at Konak square in Izmir while I was looking for a pair of trousers, Melih and Sercan. They had sent me a message: “Abi, we are going down from Canakkale, will we meet on the road?” Of course.. I couldn’t pedal with them at that time although I wished to. It was a nice coincidence that we met at Konak square. Later, we arranged a presentation with Melih at the Trakya University of Edirne. I came to Edirne and was hosted by Melih. Furkan and Sercan met me.”Abi we have a friend who is coming from Istanbul to listen to you. He will also be present this evening..” At the time the presentation was held a message came via Facebook: A fellow whose name is Kayhan. He rented a motorbike from Istanbul to come to the presentation but was late. Melih also hosted him that night.  We had the chance to chat that night. The next day I pedaled for 40 km with the Edirne Road Bike Racers. I met Cagri. Everything was passing so fast that I had to slow down. By the way, I visited all the museums in Edirne. I was struck dumb while I was visiting Selimiye Mosque. You are great Mimar (Architect) Sinan!

Dincer Hoca and his students from the Atilim University came to Edirne. We pedaled together till the border. We recorded these moments with video cameras. Wow, I am at the border at the end. I won’t be alone behind the border.  Angelina, Nathan and Ayca will be pedaling with me in Bulgaria for a while. Afterwards, only Nathan will keep pedaling to Bucharest.  There was a sentence that I wanted to speech out since a long time. Actually, this article came out so late therefore.  I kept saying this whenever I passed to a new country during my previous tour. Now, this is the time. I would say the same when I pass the border.

What where we talking about? The next country is BUL-GA-RI-A ! Weeeellll! Wuhuuu 🙂 Let the adventure begin!

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