Sunday, 13 May 2012

13 May Stage 31 Edirne - Kesan

Dep 9.00     Arr  3.30      Dist  112.4 km      Total  3184.4 km

When I do the blog late at night sometimes I leave bits out because they may not seem relevant at the time. Another possible reason may be that I’m a bit tired or, on a good day, a bit bevvied. There are things that transpired yesterday which I omitted but which have now become either relevant to what happened today or a bit more interesting on reflection.

So, this morning I sort of realised that ‘my’ Turkey down South is a holiday resort. Here, in ‘proper’ Turkey, people just don’t drink. I had wandered through this town and didn't see anyone at any sort of eating place with a drink in front of them. When I was nearly back at the 'hotel' and asked for a beer at the kebab shop and ended up with the chicken shish last night I realise now that the lad said only ‘with’ eating as opposed to only 'for’ eating which I imagine means that it’s some kind of rule that they are only allowed to sell beer with food. I had to eat anyway so it worked out OK. I had an early night on the back of this situation and got up at 7.30 after at least two turnovers.

Now, all of my clothes were soaked when I arrived in Edirne for a couple of reasons, one being sweat even though it was only a cock-stride of a ride from Svilengrad to Edirne. The other reason was the storm from the day before. My bags keep stuff dry in the rain. That was not rain the other day. I don’t know what you’d call it but it was above and beyond anything I have ever experienced with regard to intensity, direction, wind speed etc so I do forgive my bags for allowing moisture in to my undies and socks. One of the tasks I had set myself after the short day, was to get the laundry done. I asked the nice little chap in the hotel for a ‘camisarhane’ which to me means laundry. He asked the missus and she smiled and gesticulated that she would do it for me. I happened to have in my hand at the time a Morrison’s bag with my smalls in and she took it off me and disappeared. I couldn’t really run after her and say I need all this other stuff doing as well so I did the diplomatic thing and accepted her generosity thinking that I could do other stuff myself next stop.

This morning after my two turnovers, the reception of the building site, sorry hotel, was hectic, even at that time. Full of orthodox Turkish ladies with full scarves and macs on etc, all babbling at the same time and the old guys all posturing, giving different degrees of stick to my little mate at the reception. I eventually got his attention and he wearily referred me to a young lad. I sort of got the message across about the clothes but he had to beckon another lad working at what I thought was an eating place next door. The second lad was run off his feet with these tourists who had been staying at the same hotel as I had been, allegedly for a holiday, which I thought was a bit strange. I thought for a second that I would like see where they came from to regard this as a holiday, or maybe not. Anyway, this lad asked if I could wait and then said “have you had breakfast?“ A most welcome surprise. This place next door was the venue for the hotel breakfast. He brought me my Turkish breakfast (is there anything better than Turkish tea?) and then the first nipper beckoned me. He had located my clothes and they were with my bags at the bottom of the stairs.

Surreal is what happened next. I was working my way through my breakfast and the fully covered up lady associated with the man who won the complaining competition, obviously a very important woman, came towards me with a smile and placed two nice little red tomatoes next to my plate. I said the usual thanks and thought nothing of it until then she appeared with a gherkin and placed it in between the tomatoes. The arrangement looked well on the table there so I thanked her again and quickly put them in the back pocket of my jacket. There may be further comment about this interlude when I’ve figured it out myself. Next the lady who had offered to wash my undies rushed in and with apologies left a carrier bag on the table. She had forgotten to dry them and was a bit upset but I thanked her profusely and she seemed OK after that.

So with all that going on wouldn’t you have forgotten your passport?  

The ride couldn’t have gone better. The other side of the town was a lot more modern than where I had been with immaculately manicured roundabouts with sculptures on and new office buildings and bars with Efes signs outside. It was nice place but not as nice as Fethiye.

The road was fantastic and there were endless people in the fields waving and shouting. Friendly toots from trucks and cars passing by. Turkish tea at a roadside truck stop. Great progress. Bombing along. Spinning away up the countless hills feeling the helping hand of the breeze pushing me along and then freewheeling down at 50kph on the immaculate surface. Clear blue skies for hours without a threat of rain until - a rumbling ahead, surely not. But there it was, as I turned a corner in this beautifully undulating countryside there was rain on the hill tops and I was heading for a hill top. Then a young man, who had passed me earlier with his mate on a moped, waved me down so I stopped to chat with this lad. He was an absolute squirt and he asked me with a really serious face where I was from. I told him and then he said he was Jandarma and crossed his wrists and said 'Euro' as if he was going to arrest me if I didn't pay him. You do not laugh at policemen but he was so pathetic I couldn’t help myself. His serious face got a bit more serious which amused me even more. I didn’t feel threatened in the slightest and just got going again. It was nothing but an unpleasant interlude which could have ruined the day, but it didn't.

Then the rumblings got louder. I was about 8km from Kesan. Surely I wasn’t going to get wet. The uphill policy changed from spinning in the low gears to going uphill like the clappers and I decided I would stop at the first hotel I saw. The roads were very wet as I rode into the town which meant I had missed the storm or part of it and there at the first roundabout was Hotel Linda. They let me check in without a passport and I had a hot shower and a cold Efes or two at the Karavan pub, yes pub, next door, before following the Premier League games here in the room on the internet. What a final day? Is all I'm going to say.

I'm making arrangements to get my passport back and hopefully all will be well. Tomorrow depends on the weather. If it's OK in the morning I will set off for Canakkale and suffer the consequences if it turns smelly later. Now I need to eat.

Today's track


  1. Hi Tom I am also from Wigan (well born and raised in Ashton-in-Makerfield then 23 years in living in Standish before moving out here in 2004. I am half of the team that writes the Fethiye Times website on which we featured your epic ride a few days ago. Last night I was in the Zakkum restaurant in Fethiye when the guy announced that FIG are having a fundraising day there on Saturday 19th (this coming Saturday) and the highlight will be you completing your cycle marathon. Any idea what time you will be appearing? I wanrt to come get a photo and interview for the website so a vague idea of timing would be good as there's other stuff on that day as well.

    By the way I am totally blown away by your phlegmatic approach to this adventure. You can email me on and I look forward to meeting you on Saturday insallah.

    1. Hello Pat, Thanks for your comments and support. I am actually finishing on the 25th. There is a function organised. I suggest you contact FIG for details. I look forward to seeing you there.