I arrived in city Hull, England with a ferry from Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Here we go! Let the journey start. My bicycle was standing just as I had left it. I attached my panniers on the bike and headed to the front of the ferry where the cars will exit. I pedaled none stop to the customs office.
Let’s see what problems I’ll encounter at this customs office? I handed my passport to the officer. He checked for visas and scanned the passport through a digital reader.
– Are you traveling for an institution?
– Are you raising donations?
– Yes, I have a project to support youngsters who want to travel the world.
– Are you on a tour around the world?
– Did you come all the way from Turkey with bicycle?
– Congratulations. Have a nice trip in England
I guess this conversation didn’t last even two minutes. Wow. I didn’t expect to happen that fast. Clear questions. Clear answers.
I start to pedal towards Hull. I see a bicycle road sign and enter that path which ends after only 150 meters. I guess bicycle roads are only half half-way in this country. I’m accustomed with left hand traffic. I studied in Cyprus where I lived for four years and pedaled in South Korea during my Turkey-Japan tour. I need to go to the city center, because I have to get a cell connection. Since I’m intending to stay for a month in this country I better buy a SIM with internet access. I check from GPS… Oh my! United Kingdom is not included within the Europe map of Garmin. Now, what?
I had stored the electronic maps on external hard drives which were stolen. Pofff… Actually I stored so many interesting data on these external drives, just realizing what I’ve lost by time. The one who has stolen them must be very lucky. Never mind!
First I have to find a Vodafone dealer. I need to send an internet message to Enes. I entered the store and asked for a SIM with internet access using quite understandable English. The girl replied me with such an English which I couldn’t understand even a word. How come, dude?
– Pardon me, I didn’t understand you?
I repeated. I again didn’t understand. Dude I was about to say: “Pardon me, but I know only English”. I told her that my English was not so good and she should talk slowly. Huh, I got it at the end. What is this man? Is this true English? Wow. But, anyway I feel myself comfortable while strolling in the city. Why? Because, anybody whom I talk to would understand me which makes me feel happy. I was in so many countries in which I didn’t know the languages spoken. I’m good in body language. I try to communicate and understand but during such travel it makes one happy to get involved in a conversation.
As soon as I received my new SIM card I sent a message to Enes, one of my team mates, via Whatsapp.
– Dude, urgent, I need maps of England, Scotland and Ireland or their links. Being of the best
– Dude, I’m in Istanbul. Can send you only on Monday.
– Till that time I’ll find by myself.
I went to the nearest Starbucks. This is the only place where I can find high speed free internet to download the Garmin map of approximately 600Mb size. Well, to sit next to a window and watch people while drinking a cup of coffee and waiting for downloading the file in this early morning hours would be the best. I don’t like to use classical paper maps. After 35 minutes the map was downloaded. You can find many details as camping places, hotels, museums, stores and gas stations, huge farmlands and forests, rivers, lakes, panoramic spots on this electronic map. When I wonder where the side roads I encounter while traveling to any direction go to, I take a look on this map. One can see whether these side roads lead to somewhere or are dead end. While I was using classical paper maps, I had to return the side roads I entered so many times. I DO NOT LIKE to cycle back the same road. If there is an alternative path it is OKAY. : ).
Here we go, the roads are waiting for us….