Sunday, 13 May 2012

14 May Stage 32 Kesan - Canakkale

Dep  9.40      Arr  6.30      Dist  116km       Total  3300.4 km

Last night I went back to the Karavan pub next door to the hotel. The barman had a ponytail as well. I had another beer and a kofte, which turned out to be a load of small spicy meatballs or even sausages in a baguette. Not what I expected but nice anyway. Every beer came with a bowl of nuts so the job was a good one. When I got back to the room I looked at the route and it was the same road all the way which was brilliant. Why couldn’t Germany be like this? I checked the profile and it seemed a lot harder than when I first planned the trip so an early start waas in order.

I woke up feeling good. There was breakfast, of the Turkish variety, which does the job for me. There is always a boiled egg and slices of cheese and olives, tomato, green stuff and butter, honey, jam etc and of course cay, or Turkish tea. The chap clocked I was English and brought me a cup of warm water with a liptons teabag in. I made do and then asked him for a cay. All the staff were eating at the same time and they all burst out laughing, giving him loads of humorous stick. He was obviously trying to be a smart arse and got it wrong, not knowing I’m a real turk, me.

The hotel was the first I saw yesterday and is at the Northern end of the town at the junction of the main D550 road, which operated as a bypass, with the road into the town. I got on the 550 straight away so didn’t see much of the town itself. The bits I saw looked ok but it was easy to see it wasn’t as good as Fethiye. It was up and up, a small down hill and up and up again. Undulating countryside and a decent surface but as I got higher I began to feel a noticeable wind in my face. The wind got stronger and stronger so that even on the flat I was struggling and there was certainly no freewheeling down hill. I had to pedal. Calculations were kicking off in my head. At this rate I’ll be getting there at about 8 o’clock etc. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. Push one down then the other, then again, then again. The kms were dropping off, but very slowly. I knew the uphills were in the early part but was just wanting to get them over with. I then went over one crest and round a corner and just didn’t believe what I saw. It was the sea. The Aegean or the Med down to my right. I was going rapidly downhill towards it but with care because the surface wasn’t brilliant at this part. I ended up on an open plain with very little shelter and an even stronger wind in my face. I had resigned myself to a late finish. I stopped at a newish petrol station with café and shop attached and had two cups of cay and a chicken doner. I then bought a load of Tutku biscuits at the shop. I had a long straight road ahead of me with a headwind and needed all the help I could get. Eceabat was the other side of this peninsula which also meant a bit of an up and down in the middle somewhere. What I didn’t expect was a gentle curve up ahead to the right, which was away from the wind which became a strong crosswind for a while and then an unbelievable assistance as the road curved more. I got over a couple more more ups and downs until I reached Gelibolu on the other side. I then followed the impressive Dardanelles Straits along the peninsula until Eceabat where I took the ferry to Canakkale.

At the port I bumped into a group of Australians tourists who were interested in my ride and we had a good chat. It then it hit me - Gelibolu is known to us as another name - Gallipoli, where so many young Aussies and Kiwis perished with our boys in WW1. It is a special and maybe even spiritual place for those from down under and I can imagine an emotional trip for those people I had met.
I checked into a hostel less than 100m from where the ferry docked. It is known as Anzac House. I thought the price was very cheap until I saw the room which has 10 bunks and 6 or 8 beds in my room. Fortunately, only 4 are occupied, one at each corner. I managed to have a shower and get out for yet another chicken doner and a beer, only with food again.

My passport has very kindly been posted to an address in Fethiye by the kind people at the Isik hotel in Edirne. That is one big problem off my mind.

A shortish day in prospect tomorrow so I may have a sleep in but the weather isn’t so good so a decision to be made in the morning.

Today's route

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