Posts Tagged ‘Biga’


Today was a day of thoughts. The road was straight and the wind was strong, and my thoughts were on Australia and my youth. I had studied the war-poet Wilfred Owen at school, and I felt a lump in my throat as I approached the almost sacred Anzac territory of the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli peninsula. My family was here 100 years ago, as were the families of the lovely people around me that have welcomed me to their country. War is such a horrible thing.

On the road to Çanakkale

On the road to Çanakkale

Rugged up like a mummy I went out into the cold – which wasn’t that cold. I peeled off the layers and basked in the sun (briefly). And who was there, but the 2 French girls James and I met in Croatia before entering Bosnia Herzegovina?

I meet the French cyclists again

I meet the French cyclists again

It was a day of clouds and sun, with beams of light piercing the clouds to make for beautiful vistas.

Sunset in the military museum.

Sunset in Çanakkale

Sunset in Çanakkale

And, just after having installed myself in the Anzac Hotel (an appropriate place for my stay), I stumbled across 3 heavily laden bikes with 3 bike tourers – a group of friends from France cycling to Iran in the winter (!). We ended up having a lovely evening sharing our left-wing radical views and discovering some common interests and activities of touring cyclists. Follow them on their blog: http://bikingtotehran.tumblr.com

Touring cyclist get-together

Touring cyclist get-together


Is it cheating? Well, no. I’ve already cycled all the way from Holland to Istanbul. This is just a side-trip waiting for my flight to take me away from the winter. But, yes. It was cold, windy and very bleak, and I hitched a lift with a truck. Such a lovely offer.

Such a warm offer.

Such a warm offer.

On arriving in Istanbul my state of being flipped. It switched in a nanosecond. I was a world-cycler, ready to battle through wind and rain, up hills and through traffic to get to my goal. Once my goal was reached, I became an exhausted shadow of myself, ready to nod off at a minute’s notice all through the day, finding it difficult to muster up the energy to negotiate Istanbul’s slopes on foot. My body was tired, and so I stopped, and became a lounger. The weather was perfect for lounging – rain, grey and cold.

Grey Istanbul

Grey Istanbul

My cycle trip for 2014 finishes on December 5 with a flight to Australia and then Taiwan before returning to Istanbul at the end of February. Bleak as it is, after 3 days in Istanbul as a pedestrian tourist, Drahtesel was calling – ‘ride me, ride me.’ I want to visit Galipoli, a very important place for Australians, New Zealanders, and Turks for where a lot of lives were lost in the First World War.

Drahtesel may have been calling, but, at 5am when the alarm went off to catch the early boat across the Sea of Marmara to Bandirma, I wasn’t motivated. In negotiating the steep stairs of the B&B with Drahtesel, a water bottle fell off and broke. Why am I doing this? Riding off into the dark, the wind and the rain? Without a definite goal in front of me, this trip was not motivating.

The road was freeway-like (like the D100 towards Istanbul), but not much traffic, and less hilly. It was cold, though – the days of frolicking in the turquoise waters are past.

The grey road to Biga

The grey road to Biga

Feeling sorry for myself, sheltering from the wind at a service station, eating a chocolate bar, a kind truck driver offered me a lift to Biga. I was planning on stopping there for the night. A 30km trip in the warmth was much more appealing that on the bike in the cold. Time for a cheat. 🙂

The kind truck driver

The kind truck driver

Now in Biga, things feel different. I am warm, and am being showered by gifts. The truck driver gave me biscuits and apples. The hotel owners any number of cakes, biscuits and turkish delight. And the butcher gave me my whole meal for free. I am a friend. Lovely people, everyone!

Thank you Adnan for the lovely dinner

Thank you Adnan for the lovely dinner

Çanakkale is about 100km away, and I am looking forward to seeing the place where the Anzac soldiers fought. How will I get there? Probably by cycling. Or maybe, if a nice truck driver stops…