I also managed to reach the Nicaraguan border on a rainy day. If this rainy season ends with good luck, I will be relieved. On the other side of the world, there are fires due to drought, and there are landslides due to rain. Ask people in 2021 Costa Rica, Nicaragua, they have never seen this much rain in one season in their lives. I told you, I stayed in Costa Rica for a month, the number of days without rain was like a week. No, good thing I’m in the tropics. If the weather was cold, the road would not have been taken in this rain.
When I will have my exit stamp at the Costa Rica border gate; -You have not paid your exit tax.
-We collect exit tax from the country. -Come on. How much?
As a joke, I pay exit tax from the country. Guess what other country I might have seen this exit tax in my 11 years of travel life? The men kissed separately when entering and leaving.
I went to another building and gave the last 10 dollars I had with me. I have like 5 dollars left in my pocket. Anyway, when I’ll get to the other side, I’ll visit the ATM. Nicaragua gives us 90 days visa free. On the last day in Costa Rica, I went to the hospital with Can, I had a PCR test done for 87 dollars. (how much money did I pay for these PCR tests, wow friend..) I don’t think I will have a problem in entering the country.
Anyway, I made the payment, then I went through the passport control point and came to the area where the trucks were waiting at the back. It is checked whether you have a PCR test or not. I walked in front of the trucks and showed the test. I showed you on the phone.
-We want it on paper.
-Oh yeah, okay.
I immediately showed the document I received in A4 paper. The hospital, the doctor are all written on the paper. Look, if it’ wasn’t with me as A4, it would be another problem. Nicaragua’s passport control building was pretty good, obviously they just rebuilt it. It’s time for the Nicaraguan authorities. I park the bike next to the building and lock it up. Just in case. They made a covid19 checkpoint. I showed the papers there. My temperature was measured, alcohol was sprayed on my hand and a serial number was given. I was going to give this number to the passport control point. Then I’ll go into that clean building. An attendant opened the door.
-Welcome to Nicaragua. -Thank you.
– Admission is $1.
-I do not understand? We charge $1.
-Why this fee?
-You are entering the country.
-Come on, darling, you’re kidding.
Thank you, I gave my money, then I went to the passport control point. The official took the passport and looks at me:
-Are you Turk?
-Okey I will wait.
10 minutes passed. The official is back. Paper in hand.
-What is your job?
-I’m a blogger, I’m also a children’s book writer and I travel the world by bike.
-Where will you stay in Nicaragua?
Obviously, there was no such specific point, but on the occasion of Can, I took the Burak’s phone who is the manager of Princess Casino, lives in the capital Managua.
-I will stay at the Princess Hotel. My friend works there. (I lied)
-When will you leave the country?
-I don’t know, I’m traveling by bike. I think I’ll be out in a month.
The man left and did not come for 30 minutes. In fact, I may not stay in this country for even a month. There is no place in the country that I would like to go to. I did not make a plan. I’m just going to the coffee plantation recommended by my friend Mauro in Colombia, that’s all. Otherwise, I’m thinking of transiting the country. Anyway, the guy is back.
-Ok, your entry has been approved.
-Thank you for confirming in 40 minutes.
-We will charge a tourism fee of 8 dollars.
I wish someone could take a photo of that stupid expression on my face.
-I don’t have any money with me, I only have $5. I was going to ATM as soon as I entered the country. Let me pay with my credit card.
– Credit card is not accepted.
-So what will I do?
-There is an ATM on the Costa Rica side, go and withdraw from there.
Hahaha, I said I’ll go to the border gate without many, I’ll go to ATM on the other side, look at the situation. Look, I swear this is not just pedaling. You will have nerves like a rock. Yes, I went back to the Costa Rica side, explained the situation to the border police, and went back to the country. I found an ATM and got the money, then I gave 8 dollars to the checkpoint and entered the country after passing the bag search part. Hahahah I’m pedaling laughing on the bike.
Nicaragua – Honduras – El Salvador; I entered these 3 countries just to pedal. I don’t plan to make my tent stays in Costa Rica, especially in the last 2 weeks, in these three countries. Each has its own security concerns. If you take the side roads, you are more likely to be robbed in the secluded area. Therefore, it would be wiser to use the highway that everyone uses.
There is also a roadwork at the entrance to Nicaragua. As far as I can see, the tender for this road work belongs to a local company, I was surprised. I saw very few vehicles until the first town I went to along the way. The view of the road was magnificent. I’ve been on a very good road indeed.
As soon as you enter the country, Cocibolca Lake on the left and Ometepe located in this lake stand out. It is impossible not to see. Omatepe is a popular place on the list of places to visit by foreigners. It is considered sacred by the local people because of their grandfather, the Aztecs. While traveling by bike, I observe this island on my left and pass by. By the way, the wastes on the lake shore do not go unnoticed…
I took a break in two counties until the capital, next to the police and at a gas station. Look, gas stations are still safe places to pitch tents. One of these counties is Granada. It is a very popular place in Nicaragua. In fact, someone in Guatemala said to me, “Oh, Granada looks a lot like our Antigua town, is it true?” Whoever said it, made it up. Okay, there is a colonial town atmosphere that is tried to be preserved here, but it has nothing to do with Antigua in Guatemala. Antigua is a much more tidy, orderly place.
Actually, I never thought of stopping in Granada, but I don’t know, I felt a little sick. I had pain in my joints that I did not understand. I couldn’t help but think that this is the third time we have become Covid19. Anyway, I’ll go and stop and rest in town. There were a few popular cheap hostels in the city center, so I settled on one of them.
One evening, while I was resting in the room, I came face to face with a small dormouse on the next bed. I watch it calmly, it’s a funny animal. The ears are big, the head is small, the body is big. He realizes that I have noticed him, and he is staring into my eyes without moving. We both look at each other, frozen. Let’s see who will give up first hahaha. I made a move towards the phone, I was going to take a picture of it, but he got down to the side of the bed at full speed, quickly passed the edge of the wall and came out through the gap under the door into the garden. Right now the garden is a pretty dangerous area for him. Because there are 5 cats outside. I could have closed the gap under the door, but I’m sorry, now if he gets in trouble outside, he can get in easily. Anyway, when I was going to sleep, a very big cockroach was on the wall..
Wow, those antennas are really big. “Mr antenna, what are you doing, peeking at the bed?” I wonder if it is male or female, I said male, but let me see. I went to bed and started searching the internet. The Spaniards call the cockroach ‘graveyard bug’ (escarabajo cementerio), look, I didn’t know that. Even while researching, I realized that; In almost every language, this animal has been given names with meanings such as cemetery beetle, herald of death, death beetle. Why did we call this animal a cockroach? (In our language, cockroach is a different insect, but it is from a sibling family. I don’t know why we call it cockroach. The explanations I found on the Internet were not very satisfying either). The gender of these animals was impossible to understand when viewed from above. It’s obvious just by looking at the bottom. It has officially camouflaged the animal gender. I was so immersed in research.. I called out to him, “Hey, you camouflaged yourself so well”, but he was not there, he was gone. I opened the e-book and continued reading. “The Corona Diary of a Turkish Doctor” by Sine Aras Akten. Fighting on the front line in New York during the harshest time of the corona virus. I shared a cartoon 1.5 years ago. A doctor who
stands in front of all known cartoon hero characters. Who was the real hero?
After a while, I started to think about the effect of the book I was reading.
It is very interesting that I continued this adventure when I started at the age of 31 and turned 41. My hair started to turn white in this way, also my wrinkles increased, I got old on the road you know. Sometimes, those who have just started following or have been following for 1-2 years ask questions such as are you not tired, what is your motivation, are you not bored, are you going to get married, are you old on the road, when will you return? On the other hand, I feel physically strong and healthy. It is beautiful to see and travel and there is no end to it! The best part is knowing that there are amazing places, people and other creatures on my way. After I finish my world tour, if I want, I will stop, if I don’t, I will continue. It’s a decision up to me. Especially people who are my age and travel in this way are really bored with such questions, but on the other hand, I agree that it is an unconventional life, so it is curious, and I answer patiently.
The main question to be asked here is; “Life has flown and is going, one day you will fall, Gürkan, and who will it be when you fall beside you? Who will hold your hand and lift you up? Aren’t you afraid of dying alone?” Because in the book, Covid patients die without anyone by their side.
I’ve gotten so used to being alone. My father has passed away, I know his place is heaven, and I miss him so much. God give my mother a long life, but she is getting old like me. My brother is far away, how can he come to help? Likewise, my friends and loved ones cannot come to me immediately. Everyone got older, everyone’s responsibilities increased, their perspectives on life changed. None of them are people I left 11 years ago. Will I continue to go down this road? And why will I continue? I’ve been traveling for 11 years, what did I get? Let’s see, Gurkan… What did he get?
Let me split this situation into two:
I am indeed homeless. This is real. My only assets are the bike and everything on it.
I don’t have any savings. I was never rich in my life. There has never been a period when I said “oh I’m traveling comfortably” in terms of finances, neither in my Turkey-Japan tour by bicycle, nor in my world tour by bicycle. I never thought of getting rich from this trip. I was very comfortable in Saudi Arabia from January to April 2015, thanks to the incredible hospitality of the people of Saudi Arabia and the money they gave me to spend on the road, but that ended with the accident I had in that country on April 4th. It took months for me to recover. After 2016, it has always been difficult. But I was always on the road.
I don’t have retirement. How could I have? “Gürkan no retirement, no insurance?” This question is actually a very naive one. It proves that the person asking the question can’t even imagine what kind of tour I made in his mind. Traveling the world by bike? How silly.
I don’t have health insurance. Standard travel health insurance does not apply to the man who travels the world by bicycle. All travel health insurances you will have in Turkey are valid for 90 days after exiting the country border. No, it cannot be done. I can’t take out private health insurance either. I don’t have an astronomical budget to give it every year.
I left my family and friends behind. I couldn’t be there for my family when they needed it. All of my friends got married and had children, I missed all of their special days.
I left behind two women I fell in love with at different times. Secondly, these titles are also looked at as follows;
I made the world my home. It is an abnormal situation, but it is an incredible feeling to know that I can set up my tent wherever I want and under any condition. There have been many times that I said not to stay hungry, not to stay in the open. I have not been fearless! I’m still afraid. Yes, these fears are different from the usual fears of every person, but I am afraid. On the other hand, I learned to face my fears and overcome many things in this way.
Seeing and observing so many places enriched the spirit and spirituality in my body. If I look at it that way, I’m a pretty rich person.
I know this very well; With a certain experience and some knowledge, after my 31st birthday, I traveled the world in such a way that I could not do this again at any stage of my life. I actually hit the road just in time. Even if I’m not retired. I have seen and experienced enough. I don’t know if my death will be painful and lonely, but I can say that this adventure was worth it.
I have family all over the world. I made incredible friendships and met very special people. But when I moved on, I said goodbye to all of them. That hurt so much and still does. But I got to know those beautiful people through this trip, and I continue to know them. Hundreds have invited me to his home and continue to do so…
I became a writer, I supported athletes and students, I became the iron horse hero of children. Now my friends’ kids are reading my books. Most importantly, my family was always proud of what I did. They have always been with me. It was very difficult for them.
They always ask; Have you considered stopping the tour midway? Yeah. I thought twice about finishing the world tour by bike! F*ck, are you serious? Yes I am serious. This was neither for my family nor for my friends. I fell in love with two women at different times. Well, I’m human too, I have a heart. They both came and went to me whenever they had the chance. But after a point it didn’t. I played cards face up at the beginning of the relationship.
I said, “This is my life and it will be like this until I finish the world tour.” In the beginning, they said I would go, I would do it, but that was not the case. After a point, people want their loved ones with them all the time. As I said above, when a person falls, he is looking for a hand to raise or a shoulder to rest his head on. That’s the point, I couldn’t always be in their life. This got them thinking after a point. They ended the relationship by asking themselves why should I wait for this man whose life is on the road, whose future is uncertain and who does not give them any promises about the future? That’s when I thought, “Don’t stop this relationship, I’m leaving the world tour for my love.” Words were about to come out of my mouth. At that point, I understood this. Such a tour could only be ended for 3 people. One for my mother, two women I love, and a third for my child. But I didn’t say it, I didn’t mean it. Not soulless or heartless… Have you ever been sad? I was very sorry. But both were right. There’s also the thing. I am happy with what I did. It may sound selfish to many. I live my life happily without hurting anyone.
Looking at the white ceiling inside the room, “Now after 11 years, have I been good or bad?” I asked so I could hear it myself. It is quite natural for the man who travels the world by bicycle to ask himself this question. But at that moment, I could not answer this question for myself. I really couldn’t. There are moments of breaking in travel, that is, situations that can completely change my life in an instant, I have always preferred to stay on the road and still do. And in the end, nothing is promised. I’m pedaling towards a future that I can’t even imagine properly. What can I say to myself? “May God bless my end.” Hahahha. It’s funny, but that’s the sentence that came out of my mouth.
I changed position on the bed and turned to the side. Damn the mouse came to the cheese on the bed. Let me leave a piece in front of the door, I am sorry now. He left without getting that cheese. ☹
I did not like the town of Granada, I rested for three days. I visited its old town, market area, churches. Those tangled market areas, the riot of colors, the diversity of scents, the shouts of the vendors used to be pleasing to the eye. I don’t know if I didn’t like it here or if it was like this in general. There is only one fact; I didn’t like this Central America. I spent 2 months in Panama, 1 month in Costa Rica, 20 days in Nicaragua. Honestly, I’m not very pleased at the moment, let’s see what else I’ll see in the future. I’m hopeful for Guatemala and Mexico.
I set out in the morning, heading towards the capital Managua. Look, the roads of this Nicaragua are really beautiful, I didn’t expect it to be this good. There are quite wide safety lanes and the road quality is also quite good. I was just starting to go downhill when I see a cyclist coming towards me from the opposite lane. His speed was slow as he was going uphill. I cross to the other side of the road and park the bike, and he stops beside me to finish the hill and catch his breath. We greet each other and hug each other.. A young friend, his bike is also quite light,obviously not overloaded, he is making a short trip. I am the first to speak:
-How’s the trip going? Which way are you coming from and which way are you going? -I’m out of Mexico, on my way to Panama. 3 month tour.
-You’re great, is the goal to finish Central America in 3 months?
-How were the countries you passed through?
-I had an incredible hard time in Guatemala. There is almost no flat area. I haven’t had any other problems.
-Then I have good news for you. After this slope, you will make another climb. All the rest is flat. If you don’t hit the coastline in Costa Rica, which you said will go fast, the rest of the way is pretty easy. You will arrive in Panama on time. In general, is the trip enjoyable?
-It’s the first time in my life that I have such an experience. It’s going incredibly well. Glad I went on such a journey. It’s an amazing feeling. My perspective on many issues has changed. Traveling this way is not for everyone. I think we are very lucky. I will continue to travel and see as much as I can. What do you think?
-You’re right… What’s your name?
Involuntarily, there was a surprise on my face, and I even smiled. In a split second, I went to the French Alps on August 23, 2013. That day, I met my Italian friend Michael on the road.
Moreover, Michael appeared before me on a question that I was curious about and asked myself a day ago. We even pedaled together for 2 days in France and had a lot of conversation. It was interesting that Gabriel came across me just as I was searching for answers to some questions. -Why are you surprised?
-There is no reason, I thought of a friend of mine.
-Where are you from?
(It is a very beautiful city on the Italian-Swiss border, I passed there too)
-You have a beautiful country and city. The countries you will visit from now on are somewhat safer. I wish you success in your travel and future. Yes, I agree with you, it’s good that we’re on our way. Take care of yourself, Gabriel. And thank you for coming up to me. It was very good. This young boy did not understand why I was thanking him, but after he came across me, I continued to pedal with laughter. Good luck to Gabriel… Although I don’t think he needs my wish.
I don’t know where to stay in Managua city. I determined two hostels, I went to both, they are closed. I think they went bankrupt during the pandemic. Well, there are no tourists around, they are right. Then I came across a nice place called La Bicicleta Hostal. The hostel looks expensivebut I decided to stay here because of the name. I’ll stay a night or two and go. How expensive can it be?.. I went to the hostel, the guy first charged 20 dollars. When I said I was doing a world tour by bike, it went down to 15 dollars. Well that’s a good price too. The location of the hostel is really nice. It is not easy to find a place in this area at this price.
The room was for 4 people. I was staying in the same room with the most interesting group I’ve met recently. 68 years old Norwegian ceramic artist Thor, French doctor Nora and American Carol..
Thor has 7 children. While traveling the world, he had children with all the women he loved. The man said it once, and we all fell open. His current girlfriend is also Russian. They could not get together for a long time due to Covid19. I asked him if he has children from her? He said no, but we both want it, we will do it if we come together. The idea of eighth child is on the way. He made true my idea “I can have a child on every continent”. Hahahah, here is the version of what you call the United Nations, which happened with blood ties. Wow friend. By the way, the reason why the man is so comfortable economically is that he has 1 house in Norway, 2 houses and a farm in Canada. In addition, he receives a pension from Norway. In addition, he receives an extra fee for his artistic activities while traveling the world. With such economic freedom, he goes to visit his children whenever he wants because some of his children are under the age of 18. There are also countries where he invites his childer over the age of 18 and travels with them. He gave the address of his daughter, who lives in Canada. When I went there, he also warned me to stay at home. I looked at the location on the map, Adam’s farm is in a place that can’t be in my way. I’m 42 years old, I’ve never been jealous of anything until now, not once did I say that I should have a life like this. I always say thank you for the opportunities I have and if I deserve it, it will be better in the future. For the first time, I was jealous of the life of someone standing in front of me. He has traveled the world freely, has seen over 100 countries, has children, has never lost contact with them, even travels together from time to time, and has financial strength. It’s impossible not to be a fan. I was jealous… I was really jealous. I have nothing else to say…
French doctor Nora is a hero who fought on the front line with Covid19 cases in a hospital in Paris between April 2020 and September 2021. She was having a hard time describing what she had been through. I know very well what that pause means. She is telling about the hospital’s situation, but she is living that moment while she is telling it and making us feel it too. I listened to what happened with sadness. Right now, I am reading these experiences in Sine’s book. While emphasizing the importance of the vaccine, American Carol broke in and said that she was against the vaccine. She says no force can vaccinate me. I looked at Nora to see if she would say anything. She listened quietly to why Carol didn’t want to give the shot, and she said nothing. Carol was a college student. She had come to the area from Los Angeles on vacation and surfing. She was also against getting vaccinated.
Thor also agreed and stated that he would not be vaccinated.
“As someone who has reached the age of 68, has seen 100 countries, and had 7 children in different parts of the world, I do not think of getting vaccinated, what I do and the life I live are enough for me.” said. Among the people who said they don’t want to be vaccinated until now, the human being who told me the best reason, along with the reason, was sitting across from me. Excuse me, but the man said roughly, “Fucked the covid virus and the vaccine” haha. Doctor Nora smiled at this explanation. The guy is nirvana, it’s been a long time since he left this world, his body is left here hahaha wow friend…
When it was my turn, “No one is vaccinating me. I am in countries as a tourist. I have not seen a country that vaccinates tourists in Latin America yet. (September 2021). I am not against vaccination. I’ll get it done as soon as I get the chance. It doesn’t matter which one I’ll be.” Anyway, this group was only together for one night and we only sat together for 1 hour in the lobby of the hostel, then everyone went their separate ways.
The only thing I will do in this city is to meet Burak, the manager of Princes Casino, and continue on my way. I called him towards the evening, he was going to be at the casino, so I went there for dinner in the evening. There was Burak the casino manager, Bülent the accounting manager and another friend. I couldn’t chat with him much, but I ate the food he prepared in the casino, thank you. In the evening, Bülent toured the venue. We also saw the nightlife of Managua thanks to it. While he was going to ride a bike with Burak at the weekend, Burak sent a message: His wife tested positive for Covid19. He got the test right after, said it was negative, but just in case, we
canceled the programs and I started the journey back. Was not fortune. ☺
I’m on my way to the coffee plantation in Colombia where Mauro wanted me to go. If I succeed in this coffee business, the coffees I will buy from Nicaragua will be from here. Of course, this field is not under Unesco protection like Mauro’s field. But with a Cup Of Excellense score of 89, Chepe is the country’s second best coffee and a field owner who has received international certificates on rainforest and organic farming. Before I left, I informed him, he is waiting.
As I moved towards the east of the country, the climbs began. On the way out of the city, I went on the bike path for about 25 kilometers. It was also very enjoyable, the roads I climbed afterwards were also very beautiful. After getting out of the chaos of the city, the nature of Nicaragua fascinates people. I did not like the cities or towns, but I like very much the topographical situation and this view.
I finally managed to reach the town. This is where Nicaragua’s best coffee plantations are located. I said to Chepe, I will go to the field by bike. “Gürkan that road is very rapid slope, your bike seems heavy, you may not be able to climb it.” he said. “We won’t know until we try,” I said, and went to the field. 28% slope! I managed to reach the summit drenched in sweat. Chepe was already waiting for me there. This is the first time I have seen a coffee plantation protected by MP5 automatic weapons and shotguns. I did not ask him what these armed men are.
I introduced myself to Chepe and told him what I wanted to do. Then we started chatting about coffee. He showed areas of collection, sorting, drying; then he made a nice presentation from the different seeds he had. We also chatted about packaging and logistics. After spending the day together and resting in the town for another day, I set out for the border town of Somoto. Thus, I learned what I would learn in a coffee land, had my conversation, drank my coffee and left. Keep meeting with the best possible producers in these countries.
It is 32 kilometers from the town of Somoto to the Honduran border. The first place I went as soon as I entered the town was the hospital. Well, I’m going to have a PCR test. From the hospital, I was told yes, PCR test is being done. All right, let me rest here for a few days and back up photos and videos, then continue. In the evening I walked through town, it’s a nice, safe town. The place where the market was was also lively, but it was not so crowded. I also found a nice steakhouse. I was stuck there for two days, everything is fine. I’m going to the hospital the day before I set off:
-Hello, I came for the PCR test.
-Hello, let’s get your ID.
I took out the passport and gave it.
-Your residence permit is required.
-I’m a tourist, I don’t have residence permit.
-Then you had to have the PCR test done in the capital.
-How can I not get it done here? What shall I pay?
-No, no payment is made here.
-Okay, let me pay you here in the capital, give me the PCR test, now I won’t go to the capital to be tested from here.
-All foreigners have to take tests in the capital.
The guys didn’t really test me. No matter what I said or did, it didn’t work. In fact, it is very interesting that a very simple situation can become so complicated. As I said in my previous Costa Rica article, the practicality is zero. What I did? I left my bike and belongings in the room where I was staying and took a 5-hour bus ride to the capital, Managua. During the trip, I called Burak and explained the situation. I said we’ll meet and have dinner this time. Thanks to Burak, he said, ‘Well, don’t go and stay in the hostel, come and stay with us, we’ll go early in the morning and get your test done, and then you’ll go back’.
Again, we could not carry out our cycling adventure together, but I also met his wife Elena and daughter Alya. Elena is past the MTB (mountain bike) community in Nicaragua, she’s well-known and popular in the country. She is originally from Russia, but she has a Nicaraguan passport and this won the MTB championship in Central America on behalf of the country. ☺ Moreover, she prepares the supplements she consumes in these competitions herself at home. She specially packs what she prepares and sells it to other athletes as well. At the same time, she is an architect. It would not be a lie if I say a woman of many parts. No, there is a situation like this; It was Burak who made Elena love the bike. But after that, Elena started to make Burak swallow her dust as a performance by doing regular training. ☺ Thank you again to Alya here, she gave me her room for one night. We had a very nice conversation throughout the night. Elena, like a mother, gave me some of those reinforcement balls she had prepared to consume on my trip the
next day. I used these energy balls in the Honduran crossing wow. ☺ It was as much as Elena said.
I went to the hospital early in the morning and had my test done. Ohhh no, $150. Then I said goodbye to the whole family and went back to my bike. Paying for this PCR test every country crossing is crazy now, at least I can cross Honduras in one day. It would be nice if I left Nicaragu and pedaled all day in Honduras and entered El Salvador in the evening.
Well, let’s try it then. ☺