Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Back in Europe

On Saturday morning arrived back in Europe. The trip is over!

Saturday, September 30, 2006


I took the 7am train from Lahore to Peshawar.

Friday, September 29, 2006


I spent the day dealing with matters relating to transportation, how to go home. Nothing quite worked out as planned.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I decided last night to see whether I'd be able to follow the rules of Ramadan for a day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


I sleep quite poorly. I was awoken at 3:30am by a bang on my door, which I did my best to ignore. Just as I was about ready to go back to sleep it was followed up by another bang.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Camping may have been free but it wasn't without cost. It happened that the camping spot was in an area claimed by a jealous stray dog.


Ramadan started today. I was woken at about 4am to the sound of activity & the smell of pratha (fried nan) being cooked.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


I'd been somewhat dreading this section of the trip.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


After breakfast I walked up the ridge, a spur of the Hindu Kush, that separated the Rumbur valley from the Chitral valley.

Friday, September 22, 2006


This morning I awoke very early, before even the morning call for prayer rang out from the half a dozen mosques around Chitral at about 5:30am!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


The previous day I decided to speed up my progress to the end of the trip.


I awoke early, I'm getting myself ready to be able to cope with pre-dawn breakfasts when Ramadan starts in a couple of days time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Another awful road day, though fortunately mostly down.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Near Harchin

The road out of Teru was pretty bad. It was heavy going even though it was flat.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


The road continued up the narrow river valley as with the day before.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


We are back cycling on a new road. It feels good to be back into 'discovery' mode, after the returning to Gilgit over the same road as we'd passed by bus.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I caught the first day of a polo tournament.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


It was cloudy & surprisingly cool in the afternoon. It even rained, something that has hardly happened where I have been in months. I did little more than sit around the guesthouse reading.

I cycled 0 km

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


It was cloudy & surprisingly cool in the afternoon. It even rained, something that has hardly happened where I have been in months. I did little more than sit around the guesthouse reading.

I cycled 0 km


The road continued as spectacularly as before, at times cutting through vertical solid rock. Tons of explosives must have been required to do this.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I had a second attempt at visa renewal at the Deputy Commissioner's office in Skardu in the morning.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Finally I didn't need to force myself to eat breakfast!

Saturday, September 9, 2006


I still felt affected by the after effects of the bug but began to get my appetite back.

Friday, September 8, 2006


I didn't go far today, not even leaving the dorm room until the Sun went down.

Thursday, September 7, 2006


After a relaxing rest day it was time to get back on the road though not too quickly.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Tuesday, September 5, 2006


We left Passu after a leisurely start to the day.

Monday, September 4, 2006


What a scenic day! It's hard coming up with suitably descriptive language for the road today.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Barkhun Checkpost

We knew that we wouldn't be permitted to cycle from Tashkurgan to the Pakistani border at the Kunjerab pass & would need to take a bus.

Saturday, September 2, 2006


I got up early to fix a couple of bike problems. I was greeted by the Sun coming up from behind Kongur Shan.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Near Karakul

Not long after we broke camp at the police checkpoint at Ghez the road started to rise.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Today is the last day in Kashgar. Tomorrow morning we head South in the direction of the border with Pakistan.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


As much as I was enjoying Kashgar I probably could have left today.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Today was supposed to be a continuation to near completion of the cycling to Kashgar. Things turned out a little differently.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Near Ulugqart

Having failed to get across the border yesterday afternoon we headed there when it opened in the morning.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Near Irkeshtam Pass

The heavy dew of the evening had frozen to my tent. The washing I'd hung on my bike was stiff with frost. It was the first freezing night since March!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Near Sary Tash

Today we may have cycled for a short distance but we went a long way.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Today was not supposed to be a rest day but I felt a cold coming on & Nick was up most of the night using the free Internet in his room.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


After the last couple of days of cheating by hitchhiking today was full on cycling.


After such a demoralising day as the one before we needed something nice.

Friday, August 18, 2006


The top of the pass was very close & was reached in 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Near Kok-Jar

The headwind of the previous day hadn't gone away though was less strong.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006


I realised that my camping spot was sub-optimal. All through the evening & night trucks past by. The road surface by where I camped (but better elsewhere) was quite bad & the trucks made an awful clattering sound & shook the ground as they went across it.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Even the morning was not sacred to the bloody mosquitos. I'm sure that before I flew to Geneva in late July they at least left us this time to ourselves. Not anymore, it must be high summer I guess.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Near Kok-Moynok Bir

Jet lag had me sleep past sunrise & eventually be woken by the heating up of the tent when the Sun hit it. It wasn't until 10am that I got going. Nevertheless it was a quick day with a tailwind throughout.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Near Kant

I think the day started at 10,000m over Uzbek airspace.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Geneva & Istanbul

For the 3rd time in 6 months I find myself back in Istanbul. How is it that I find myself here? A reasonable question since last I wrote I was in on a cycling tour of Central Asia with latest etape ending in Bishkek.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Knowing that I am about to travel back to Europe I should be waking later but the last couple of days I seem to be waking earlier. Jet lag will not be helped by this trend.

Saturday, July 22, 2006


I wandered around Bishkek & found that it didn't have a great deal to see so I went to scope out the big daily bazaar to the West of the centre.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Near Bishkek

I got up at my usual time, as the Sun's first light came over the horizon. I'd like to say it was the joy of the new day that propelled me out of my tent.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Below Too-Ashuu Tunnel

I had high gastronomic hopes for today. It all started well with a fine breakfast of pancakes. Fresh fish caught from the adjacent river was supposed to be next, for lunch.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Near Ala-Bel Pass

I got up good & early & while having breakfast I watched the first rays of the Sun touch the hills around the lake before eventually arriving at the camping spot.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Toktogul Reservoir

It was warm today. It felt like a real summer's day should. The sun was hot, the was a loud chorus of the insects in the fields & trees & there was little cool air for a beleaguered cyclist to take in on the climbs.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Near Karakol

I finished the detour around the Uzbek Fergana region. I was getting a bit sick of the nearly flat agricultural land of the last couple of days so was pleased when the road began to rise.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Near Kochkor-Ata

During the night it poured with rain but wind dried everything up when I awoke with the sunrise.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Anjiyan Reservoir

I so enjoyed the Osh bazaar the previous afternoon that I went back again around lunch time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


A big pile of pancakes for breakfast at my homestay! I walked the 30 minutes down town clutching my distended stomach.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


It was another rather dreary day. The countryside was lovely but with cold, damp weather it was not so much fun cycling.

Near Kyzyl Korgan

We visited the yurt that given us the milk & kymys the afternoon before hoping to be able to get some nice photos.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Below Taldyk pass

Tajik Customs & Immigration was just below the Kizil Art pass which we reached at around 9am. Getting out of Tajikistan was as casual as coming in, the formalities were completed in under 10 minutes.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Below Kizil Art Pass

As I left the homestay I tried to gently complain to the homestay people via a translator about the poor value dinner. However the point was somehow difficult to get across.

Saturday, July 8, 2006


I got up a little before the Sun touched the tent. It was a cold night. Ice had formed at the edges of the streams. The wind that had opposed me on the way up was present but lighter than the previous day.

Friday, July 7, 2006

Near Ak-Baital Pass

I left Murgab after a nice breakfast & headed North. The road would be running through pretty desolate country for the next while. The next settlement of any size that I'd come to would be the village of Karakul 130km from Murgab.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006


After the previous day's difficult ride I got moving slowly. It was only a few kms to the village of Alichur.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Near Alichur

After the horrible weather of the previous night it was a relief that I was greeted with blue sky in the morning.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Between Langar & Khargush

I left Langar in the late morning. Earlier I'd scrambled up a path behind the village in the hope of finding some petroglyphs, scratched pictures made by people who lived in the area several thousand years ago.

Sunday, July 2, 2006


Apparently sometime in the last couple of days I crossed into a new unofficial time zone. Badakshan time is 2 hours ahead of Dushanbe time that I'd become accustomed to. Actually it really makes little difference,
it gets light therefore I wake, the Sun gets low I seek a campsite.

Saturday, July 1, 2006


Quite by chance I happened to be in Ishkashim on the day of the weekly 'border market', which is held in no-mans land between the Afghan & Tajik customs & immigration posts on the Afghan side of the Pyanj river.

Friday, June 30, 2006


Unfortunately something I ate tipped my delicate stomach back into diarrhea mode, the 3rd time since arriving in Central Asia. I began to wonder whether I was suited for this kind of trip. I regretted turning down the previous day an offer of a lift in a Landcruiser ferrying UN staff to Ishkashim. They were working for the UN office on Drugs & Crime so it would have been interesting to have learned about that aspect of this region.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I moved slowly into Khorog. I felt quite worn out from the relatively long 2 previous days.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

15km North of Khorog

I was really enjoying Tajikistan. The people were friendly, with a smile on my face & a wave I would almost always get a similar response. The landscape was glorious. Even when chaykhanas weren't around to feed me there were fruit trees beside the road to keep me going until I found somewhere to get something to eat.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Near Deh

I continued to follow the Pyanj river down into which the mountains of Afghanistan & Tajikistan fell vertiginously, sometimes literary.

Monday, June 26, 2006


Today was a day of spectacular scenery. From my camping spot at about 2200m it was a relatively easy climb to the Sagirdasht pass at 3252m.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


I set off with a full bottle of delicious dugh, courtesy of the builders. I've found something to seek out in chaykhanas.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Near Ezgand

The road went up & down all day. In spite of finishing 100m in altitude below where I started it I must have climbed more than yesterday.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Near Obigarm

I headed out of town after one final go at my favourite Internet cafй in Dushanbe.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Another rest day, I must be getting soft. However it was nice to relax & recover on a second day. It has been easy to stay in Dushanbe. It has a number of decent & easily accessible Internet cafes & as an especially appreciated bonus there's lots of food around.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Today was as dedicated to rest & recovery as I could make it, with a bit of information gathering thrown in. I checked out of the hotel, have breakfast & went to find my Dushanbe contact, Daniela who worked for a local NGO called MSDP.

Monday, June 19, 2006


I awoke feeling very lethargic. I initially thought it was due to the long & hard previous day however as the morning progressed I realised that all was not well with my stomach.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Near Anzob Pass

After enjoying an experimental porridge mixture of rice, fresh cheese & sugar I set off towards the mighty Anzob Pass. At 3307m it has no peer in Europe, though it's not particularly high by the standards of Eastern Tajikistan.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Iskander Kul

Not long after leaving my camping spot I came to the turn off to the lake of Iskander Kul. Off the cuff I reversed an earlier decision & headed up the road.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Near Ayni

Not wanting to deal with the staring kids longer than necessary I ate breakfast quickly & got away as soon as possible.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Near Gusar

It was the first day of validity of my Tajik visa & there was no time to be wasted in entering the country.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


After a lazy morning chatting with Zokir I headed into town. At 11am I learnt that the Pakistan Embassy had graciously granted me a 1-month visa for the princely sum of 96USD.


Today was embassy day. I spent it entirely at either of those of Chinese or Pakistan or in taxis going to them. I had it planned with military precision & it almost went wrong from the start, as usual a bit of luck fell my way.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Feeling fully recovered I began to feel restless. I'd decided to take a side trip by public transport to Tashkent to get visas for China & Pakistan.

Sunday, June 11, 2006


The guesthouse was just the spot for some rest. My stomach responded to this nicely & I was able to eat the generous breakfast in the communal courtyard.


My long previous day meant that I could afford to relax knowing that I wouldn't be going further than Samarqand.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


My digestion was back to its old tricks the whole day, with trips to disgusting petrol station pit toilets or convenient bushes every couple of hours.

Friday, June 9, 2006


Feeling reinforced by being able to eat a good breakfast I felt able to head off from Bukhara. Though I left it until the early afternoon.

Thursday, June 8, 2006


I slept well & at breakfast my stomach was now accepting limited quantities of solid carbohydrate. Consequently I had the energy to get further out into the city. The first stop was at the local branch of the National Bank of Uzbekistan. I got to the modern marble clad building that housed it at 9:45am, 45 minutes after it opened, to find that the exchange desk had run out of money & was told to come back in the morning at 9am!

Wednesday, June 7, 2006


I felt awful in the morning. I couldn't face eating bread, the only carbohydrates I could stomach was sugar in tea & from a handful of dried fruit.

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Near Jandar

I let myself sleep in until the unprecedented late hour of 7am. I didn't emerge from my tent until the time that I would normally be on the road.

Monday, June 5, 2006

North of Turkmenistan/Uzbekistan Border at Farab

The bug still has me in its grip this day. The only calories that I can convince my stomach to deal with are oral rehydration salts & Fanta. I have to force myself to drink water.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Near Turkmenabat

This desert was becoming much more challenging than that from Yazd to Mashhad. The wind started up as soon as the Sun came up & from 8am or so. To attain a speed above 12km/h was bliss.

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Near Repetek

Today the wind was unrelentingly against me. I never made it out of the smallest ring on my crankset & stayed in the largest few on the cassette. For non-cyclists this means I was in low gear all day.

Friday, June 2, 2006


I decided to take advantage of a willing lift to go right to Bairam Ali & turn this whole thing into something positive (i.e. get ahead of where I would have been had it not happened.

Thursday, June 1, 2006


I awoke especially early in order to be at the border at 6:30am, though I might as well have slept a little longer as no-one who could inspect my passport or bike as necessary arrived until 7:30. Though when they did arrive I was dispatched to the other side of the border fairly quickly, the only hold up was with the policeman who wouldn't stamp my passport until inspecting every page 3 times & the same with me against the photo.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Today was so much better than the day before. The headwind still blew but nowhere near as hard. My fears of a nightmarish slog through Turkmenistan receded a little.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


It was with regret that I left Mohammad's house. He'd been a perfect host, making me feel welcome & comfortable in his home & helping me to get a bunch of things done that I couldn't have done myself.

Monday, May 29, 2006


I was getting pretty comfortable in Mashhad. The food was absolutely great & it was really nice to hang out with someone.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Yet more rest. I had my bike given a good service & had my camera cleaned.

Friday, May 26, 2006


Today was a total rest day. I relaxed with Mohammad, my host & ate lots of excellent food made by his mother.


I awoke to clear blue skies at 8am, the latest I'd slept for a long time. We were in a lovely valley with steep vertical walls going up a couple of hundred meters.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Near Mashhad

I had one objective for today, get to Mashhad without becoming part of the awful Iranian road toll statistics.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Near Robat Sang

I still felt a little off this morning. Moreover I wasn't feeling enthusiastic about cycling.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


This morning I had intended to get going early. Instead I only left at a little after 8am after having a bad tempered argument with the hotel manager over the bill.

Monday, May 22, 2006


I had a bad night due to the stomach bug. I hadn't been able to eat anything the night before & didn't feel like anything in the morning.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Near Bagestan

I must have picked up a stomach bug. In the morning when I arrived in Ferdows I went to get a sandwich. I could hardly stand the smell of the food frying in the shop.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

25km South of Ferdows

It was a head down & make up time day. I was getting sick of the desert & the lack of greenery.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Between Tabas & Deyhuk

I set off from Kharavan with high hopes, & against the opinions of the villagers, that I'd be able to pass the mountain range via the road on my map. Unfortunately they were right & the map was wrong, the road ended about 10km later.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


To the North of Tabas there was a range of mountains. The highways in the direction of Mashhad went around this range. My map showed a wiggly white road that went through the range. The colour of the road indicated that it wasn't asphalted. This was my kind of road.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Near Tabas

I keep getting up earlier & earlier. This morning I awoke at 4:45 as the sky was getting light. I generously gave myself a lie-in of 15 minutes before my alarm went off.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Near Robat-e Posht-e Badam

In the morning, along the way to Kharanaq I noticed a couple more tight clusters of greenery, like the one that hosted me during the night. I wondered whether finding water in the desert might be easier than I had thought earlier.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Near Kharanaq

I'd had enough of Yazd, being in a city & sleeping in a building. Even so I lingered to fill myself up at the generous breakfast buffet & chat with fellow guests.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


The day started as indulgently as the previous one, over long breakfast. I justified this on the grounds that I need to make up the weight lost earlier in the trip.

Friday, May 12, 2006


In the morning the hotel served up a super breakfast, a buffet with all sorts of yummy things, yoghurt, nice bread & great scrambled egg. The only thing that was missing was bacon, for that I have some time to wait. I certainly got my money's worth, not leaving the table for over an hour.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Another totally clear desert morning dawned. The view was superb, the heat haze of the previous afternoon was absent & the jagged brown mountains were clearly visible. There was no sign of civilisation aside from our tents & the road.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Near Qal'eh Khargushi

The morning was absolutely cloudless. After breaking camp we followed the asphalt to Varzaneh where we filled up with water & found a very minor unpaved road through the desert to Yazd.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006


After 4 days off the bike it felt good to be moving under my own steam again. It was quite warm in Esfahan already at 6am. I wondered what it would be like closer to the desert.

Monday, May 8, 2006


At some time after midnight the bus stopped beside the highway. I was too dozy to take this anything but a good thing, an immobile bus was easier to sleep in. Unfortunately the bus had stopped because it had broken down. It wasn't fixable.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Night bus to Esfahan & Shiraz bus terminal

The night bus dropped a dazed me off in Shiraz at 6am. The walk into town woke me up. Along the way I ate some delicious fresh warm flatbread from a street-side bakery.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Night bus to Shiraz

In the morning I set myself the task of renewing my Iranian visa. The guidebook had said that Esfahan was the best place in Iran to do this.

Friday, May 5, 2006


What a horrid night's sleep I had. I stayed in a full dorm room at a hostel. Esfahan in May is like Amsterdam in the middle of summer. The dorm's ventilation was a window onto a busy street. There was no question of closing it even though it was so noisy.

Thursday, May 4, 2006


After some late showers the previous night I was surprised to find a clear sky & everything dry in the morning. It soon got quite warm, more so for quite a while. Under the Sun the land around looked more like a desert, the rocky hills brown & the red brown earth between the road & hills sparsely covered in low dry thorny vegetation.

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Near Ahmatabad

An overcast day dawned, not cold but with a hint of the possibility of rain. The clouds remained so for the rest of the day, it rained a bit but was never cold even above 2200m.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Near Hasanabad

The dry hill theme continued & began to bore me. That which I could cope with much more was the fantastic tail wind.

Monday, May 1, 2006

Near Komeyjan

It was interesting staying with Somayeh & Mehdi. They were a lovely couple. However the jitterbug in me regretted the time in the previous afternoon & the morning not moving.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


I awoke when the sky brightened a little before 6am & realised that the area adjacent to my campsite was the city dump. I made a mental note to make every effort to camp before the Sun goes down to be able to scope a more suitable spot.

Saturday, April 29, 2006


The long previous day with the late arrival in Bijar hungry & dehydrated along with the lack of rest at the noisy mosaferkhuneh meant that I felt pretty blah. A perfect time to find an Internet café.

Friday, April 28, 2006


Today was a very long day. I dropped back down Takab from Takht-e-Soleyman. The weather was much nicer than the day before, no squalls of rain. Though the same wind began to blow, for most of the day it did so in my favour.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


The day started rather miserably with cold rain & bits of snow. It was all the worse as I'd managed to mislay my waterproof overgloves.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Between Sanjud & Choplu

I woke with the birds & was on the road by 7am, it was going to be a long day. It was overcast. The road went through rolling terrain, mostly following a river.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


The comforting pitter patter sound of rain of the previous night became annoying in the morning. The ground around the tents was muddy & extra care needed to be taken to keep dry things dry.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I spent my 38th birthday doing what I'd been for the last 6 weeks i.e. cycling.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


I arrived in Tabriz & gave Hanif a call. He told me to take a taxi to Bagher's place & that he'd tell Bagher that I was coming. To my surprise Bagher was standing right behind me. He'd come to meet me at the train. He took his role as a host very seriously.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Night train to Tabriz

After the near back-to-back 20 hour bus marathons that I did in Turkey the 12 hours on the bus to Tehran was a piece of cake. Moreover there was no bicycle in the hold to be concerned about. That which bothered me was Tehran itself & the Turkmenistan Embassy there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Night bus to Tehran

Today was supposed to be a bicycle rest day but ended out being pretty bike active.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I had expected to reach somewhere just before Tabriz & spend the night as the previous 2, in the woods. I had arranged to stay with a friend of a contact in Mashhad, in the North-East near the Turkmen & Afghan borders.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Between Jolfa & Marand

The morning started off misty but soon cleared up. Shortly after hitting the road I passed through a police checkpoint. The Aras valley had become quite narrow, though the river ran swiftly it wasn't very wide. My road followed along the river on the South side. An enclave of Azerbaijan surrounded by Armenia started only 50m away on the other bank.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Near Qezel Qeshaq

The morning didn't start so well. I awoke to the sound of rain & it continued until the afternoon. I grabbed some oranges & warm freshly baked flat bread then headed on.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Maku - Iran

The clear view of Ararat was replaced by cloud & rain. Fortunately it cleared up pretty quickly. The Sun was out by the time I'd cycled up to the Ishak Pasa Seraji, an palace built by the Kurdish lord of the region in the 16th century.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Just after breaking camp it started to rain, not cold but enough that it couldn't be ignored. In spite of this I had a good morning. The road gently dropped & I had a tail wind. It felt nice zooming along at 30kmph.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Near Tuzluca

I hadn't paid much attention to the location of the village mosque the previous evening, just across the street from my camping spot. But I sure did at first call for prayers at 5:15 in the morning. I’m becoming used to it but that volume just couldn't be ignored.

Friday, April 14, 2006


The morning started cold, the bus a few kilometres before Erzurum for a breakfast break. The temperature had noticeably dropped since leaving Istanbul.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Night bus to Kars

The bus was another marathon. It left the Harem bus station on the Asian side of Istanbul at 2pm, to get to Kars near the Armenian border 20 hours later.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


The bus dropped me on the highway into Istanbul rather than the bus station as I'd been told when I purchased the ticket. I was learning fast that the bus ticket sellers say what is necessary to make a sale. The bus staff, drivers & conductor (guy who hands out drinks & checks tickets), are the bosses. It wasn't a nice introduction to Istanbul traffic.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Night bus to Istanbul

I took a dolmus to Harran, another town mentioned in the old testament hereabouts. It was once an important trading town on the road South to Syria, the border was only a few kms away.

Monday, April 10, 2006


In the morning I slogged the 40km from Bozava to Sanliurfa against a stiff headwind, the same I'd battled with the previous afternoon.

Sunday, April 9, 2006


A combination of a drop in altitude & a tailwind was great in the morning as I dropped down to the shore of the Atatürk dam. However I ran out of altitude to lose & a change of direction turned my tailwind into a headwind.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Between Kahta & Adiyaman

After the last 2 days of gung ho mountain action today was pretty relaxing, though there was plenty of up & down. I left the pension at Karadut having made good use of the facilities not available in a field. Clothes were washed & dried. Tent no longer the burden it had been the previous days from being packed wet.

Friday, April 7, 2006


In the morning I passed through the village of Tepehan. It had the look of a place in the middle of nowhere. From there I ascended & descended steeply. The latter was rather disappointing considering that I had a lot of altitude to gain to get to my objective for the day, Mount Nemrut.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Near Tepehan

After 4 days of cold weather, 3 of them with snow, I was due a change, at least that's what I thought. It had rained during the night & also in the morning. However as I left town it brightened up.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006


After replacing the rear tire, I set off, into increasingly cold rain. Soon the rain became a mix of snow & rain.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Between Balaban & Kepez

After the day before's snow & just bearable cold today started with sun & blue sky, remaining so for the entire day. However, like yesterday it was quite cold but I was well rugged up for it. It was a great cycling day.

Monday, April 3, 2006


I felt much better this morning as shown by the return of my annoying habit of waking up just before the first call for prayer at 5:30am or so.

Sunday, April 2, 2006


I rose very late. Whatever it was that had stricken me the day before continued though I felt better. I didn't have any food for when I felt like eating again & when that would happen I'd have some catching up to do. At shortly after noon I packed up & set off.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

Near PinabaÅŸi

This morning the Giardia infection that I thought I'd conquered returned. You can look up the symptoms elsewhere.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Near Talas

I had to leave Göreme sometime. The glorious days of an almost cloudless & warm sun, t-shirt & shorts weather, came to an end.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


I liked Göreme so much that I stayed an extra day. It was nice to just relax after the active rest day on Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Eclipse day! In the morning we moved from a fairly run of the mill & slightly expensive pension outside the centre of Göreme to a really cool one which had cheap dormitory beds in a cave!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


It was the coldest night of the trip so far. Fortunately my sleeping bag & liners were up to the task. In the morning the inside of my tent was covered with condensation, which froze while I cooked breakfast.

Monday, March 27, 2006


The night bus dropped me off in the 'otogar' (bus station) in Aksaray at 6:30am. I had surprised myself by sleeping a little on the bus, quite something given the jarring roads.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Night Bus to Aksaray

During the early hours of the morning I'd been disturbed by a sound like a snort coming from outside the tent. Imagining a rabid wild dog or even a wolf - I was on the edge of a national park - I froze & kept completely quiet in my sleeping bag. No more sounds were heard & I quickly went back to sleep. When I got up I saw the hoof prints of a deer just beside the tent.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Near Çukur

I realised how much I was in the mountains the following morning when I went over a pass & had a clear view down to a valley below.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Between MuÄŸla & Kale

Today the mountains began. It took some getting used to & a lot of food. I could hardly eat enough, though on reflection it was more likely that I failed to eat at the right time & was just unable to catch up.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Near Milas

I had wind in my face the entire day! It started during the night & was so bad that I almost ran out of matches trying to light my stove to cook breakfast.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Lake Bafa

After a late start (it's so easy to get comfortable at a real home) & a tour around the area where Ann & Graham live I set off in the direction of Lake Bafa.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Today was the first official day of Spring. It was a corker. At midday it was over 20 degrees C! I rolled up my trousers & did without socks, of course there was no need for a jacket. For the first time on the trip there was a very real risk of sunburn.

Monday, March 20, 2006


The sun poked its head through abit in the morning & came out in great style in the afternoon making the Roman ruins at Ephesus a lot of fun.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


After a nice morning been shown around Foça I set off in the direction of Selçuk. I figured that I'd only get to around Izmir. I didn't figure on how much of a pain it would be to get around Izmir.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


This morning was one to test my resolve. When I looked out of my warm room it was overcast. After the shower the first drops of rain were falling. The rain got worse through breakfast. As I wheeled the loaded bike out I saw that the tire was completely flat, then I remembered that checking the innertube was one of the tasks I set myself for the day off the bike.

Friday, March 17, 2006


I liked the pension so much that I decided to make Bergama my rest day. As the day progressed I felt this was a good move.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


If there was a theme to today it was 'eating'. The first course was porridge cooked with milk, honey & raisins, which I made with the help of my little camping stove.

Near Edremit

The morning opened in pleasant silence, other than the sounds of birds singing & cows making their sound.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Near Berhamkale

The day dawned miserably, at least weather-wise. The forecast had been for a significant drop in temperature with rain & that's exactly what I got.

Monday, March 13, 2006


It was a bit of a late start. Gelibolu harbour was worth wandering around and I figured after such a long day on Sunday that I deserved a slower start.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


A much better day in all respects. The wind hardly bothered me and was with me for quite some of the day. Like the day before it was quite warm, around 15 degrees in the middle of the day.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


In the morning I set off from the guard post of the Gendarmerie at 8am. It was heavy going, when it wasn't very hilly there was strong head wind.

Friday, March 10, 2006


The Sun came out! It was still cold and quite windy but most importantly it's sunny. At midday it was around 10 degrees Centigrade. This morning I packed everything up and cycled down to the Yenikapi ferry terminal.

Friday, March 3, 2006


A couple of weeks of rushing; with panic and euphoria altenating. As the day that I had set as that for departure getting closer and closer the time spent feeling in panic increased. Friederike has been wonderful. Somehow her worries about finishing her thesis and mine about the preparations for the trip cancelled each other out.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Got my Iranian visa!

This morning my Iranian visa was granted, or at least that was what the agency that was arranging it told me. I'd originally applied with my UK passport but didn't get a positive response. As a result I'm travelling as a Kiwi, which seems right!

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

My 2005 in cycling

It was a good year for cycling. No scrub that, it was a great year!