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Month: April 2024

Round the coast to Pergamon (ancient greek ruins)

Round the coast to Pergamon (ancient greek ruins)

I could put the names in the title, but they’re fairly meaningless.

The hotel in the first Aegean town, Altınoluk, had the most phenomenal breakfast.

Here’s a picture.

I only had the salad, cheese and meats, olives, chips, hash browns and bread with jam and honey.

Apart from that the room and hotel were fairly new. I cycled into the beach front promenade resort type affair, (called Altınoluk), for dinner, which was bland and disappointing. Still, it didn’t cost too much.

Had a really late start the following day, (Sunday), as the next stop over was only 60km away. Not far at all.

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Çanakkale to Altınoluk

Çanakkale to Altınoluk

When I was looking at the roads on Google maps, they all looked so level. Nothing spectacular to see on ‘terrain’ view.

The reality was it was 4 hours climbing, 1 and a bit hours down hill at the end.

As some consolation, the wind was behind me on the climbs. By the time I had reached the coast, it had switched direction. Still. You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

I’m holed up in my hotel now which seems pretty new. It’s not a great big chain, but having been here a couple of hours, it seems pretty functional.

My hotel in Altınoluk


There’s quite a lot of beaches here now, all of a sudden as we have hit the Aegean. With the beaches come beach front bars and eateries, many of which have failed and fallen derelict. Others just mothballed for the winter with workers busy bringing back to life.

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Gelibolu to Cannakale

Gelibolu to Cannakale

Probably the easiest day on my trip so far.

Gelibolu bay - Gallipoli bay
Gelibolu bay – Gallipoli bay

A meagre 30 miles or so.

My muscles will be thanking me for this time off.

Boutique hotel

Didn’t think much. If I’m honest. Breakfast was good. Room was noisy. TV has less working channels than all the other hotels I stayed in, (all 2), still. No English speaking channels when the others did. There were other things which were lacking the attention to detail which is the essence of the ’boutique’ experience.

Breakfast at 8 rooms
Breakfast at 8 rooms

They tried to charge me for an orange juice. That was with breakfast. Not really happening is it? First hotel ever where they’ve tried to charge me for the juice I’ve had with breakfast.

Got off quite swiftly.

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Kumbag to Gelibolu

Kumbag to Gelibolu

Very testing. Wind in my face. Lots of hills. Significant hills which were long, steep and on winding roads.

After the first 12 minutes of so getting out of Kumbag, spent the entire morning stood on the pedals.

This really didn’t go away, or at least the wind didn’t. It was joined by a hailstorm later on!

The hills did improve in that the bends went away. When you’ve got bends like that, it’s impossible to sit down and just cycle normally.

In terms of the geography, flora and fauna, things were much more interesting.


Was late at the hotel, service started at 9.

It was a nice breakfast.

Breakfast at the Novo Port - yum!
Breakfast at the Novo Port – yum!

Kumbag is the first sea level area for quite a distance, which I guess is why it’s got the port.

Novo Port - View of Kumbag port
Novo Port – View of Kumbag port

The hotel, Novo Port Hotel, tried to fleece me a little on the dinner. When I arrived at 20.00, the idea of eating in and just being able to relax made me ask, ‘how much is dinner?’. To which she said €8, fish and chips. I thought, this is a good deal, but I didn’t really want the chips so much, so she said salad. So I said, ‘ok’.

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Cycling around Korakoy and Dolmabahçe palace

Cycling around Korakoy and Dolmabahçe palace

Tomorrow I will begin the cycling part of my journey. It was a lucky thing that I decided to visit some of the galleries and musea on the other side of the river.

Derailleur trouble

It turns out the front derailleur was not functioning too well and it took me around 30 minutes to sort it out. I ended up having to take it off the frame entirely and reset it’s position.

It must have taken a knock somewhere, either in the hotel or in transit, meaning that it wouldn’t reach the higher gears 17 – 24.

Better to discover it now. Get it out of the way.

Cycling around Karakoy

After that I cycled down to Karakoy which is on the other side of the river.

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Young Turks

Young Turks

And old ones. Here in Istanbul. And, lots of tourists too. Of which I am one.


Was on Saturday. Technically Sunday when I disembarked the plane. A detail which I failed to account for when booking my airport taxi on The fact is they selected my arrival time based on my flight number. They got it wrong. This isn’t money I will be seeing again.

The taxi I haled outside the airport turned out to be cheaper. Just goes to show.

LHR terminal 5
LHR terminal 5
Istanbul airport
Istanbul airport

I like these airports. All very modern. You can now take the ‘Elizabeth Line’ which will take you direct from Paddington to any LHR (London Heathrow) terminal.

After the taxi shenanigans, it did mean I arrived at the hotel later than I envisaged. I was tired. Carrying my bike in my bag in addition to all my luggage first to the bus stop in Kidlington, then to and around the underground in London, then around the airport in London, then again when I got off the plane in Turkey.

Pretty tiring. I was tired.

Acclimatisation, R&R

Was what I did yesterday.

Had a little look round on my bike. I’m close to Sultanahmet, the historical centre of Istanbul. I really didn’t feel like doing a lot. Certainly no activities.

Assembling the bike takes about 30 minutes.

Me and my bike bag

It’s a great way to get around any city. If you don’t mind the hills. I just wanted to look around and some of the hotels in areas that I decided not to book. Out of curiosity, to see what I was missing.

Bosporus from Karakoy Harbour
Bosporus from Karakoy Harbour

I like it here. It’s about 500m from the bazaar. There are many clothing and accessory shops here selling knock off goods to foreign venture capitalists. And locals alike. It’s knock off central.

The hotel is pleasant. The roads are quite. Breakfast is free as are the steam room and sauna. The hotel was reduced by around 40% in price through genius discount. The room is nice and big, big enough to assemble the bike in without any problems.


Has definitely improved since I got here. It’s gone from cold and raining to sunny and warm.

Great news!

Yeni mosque
Yeni mosque

Bosporus, Hamam, Bazaar

Although not in that order…

After a decent night’s sleep, felt a bit more energetic! The sun was shining, the weather was warm. There was a couple of things I needed before I depart on my travails on velo. Nothing serious, just stuff I didn’t bother to bring over.

Took a walk over to the Bazaar with a vague shopping list in mind.

So little pressure, so much time, the ideal way to just kick back and relax for a couple of hours immersed in the sights and smells until eventually I got the the items I needed.

Bosporus river cruise

As I was walking down toward the river area to get some food, I got kamakied (Greek – street sales person) into a river cruise.

Due to my blood sugar induced lack of enthusiasm, my negotiating tack seemed to work a treat and I beat the tout down to the pretty reasonable price of £2.50! That was for an hour’s cruise.

Here’s some pictures.

Suleymaniye Mosque
Suleymaniye Mosque
Istanbul from the Bosporus
Istanbul from the Bosporus

That felt pretty worthwhile. Especially after seeing some small porpoises surface whilst we were out in the channel.

When I got back to dry land, it was time to get the food I was after originally, a fresh fish baguette, again at a discounted price! I sat and relaxed on some dwarf sized garden furniture provided by the café.

Took this picture of a cat. He was relaxing also.

Cat sleeps in box
Cat sleeps in box

Looks happy in his box! Non?


Walked back to the hotel and had a little nap for a couple of hours. I also wanted to research a good Hamam to go to for the afternoon. A Hamam is a Turkish bath where they will wash you and scrub you in intense heat.

There seemed to be few within walking distance. After a quick check, I just went to the nearest. The reviews were good. It seemed the same as any of the others.

It’s been 25 years since I’ve been to a Turkish Hamam. I do remember them being cheaper and more brutal. Maybe one of the perks of beating up foreigners in the guise of doing them some sort of service has gone now, and the prices have shot up. Who can tell?

What I can tell you is the Hamam cost me £43 for approx 2hrs.

That is pretty shocking.

Last time I was here, same thing, slightly better and longer rub, about £8.

Once I get out into Turkey proper, the prices may drop down to a ‘normal’ level. I can’t imagine you’re going to get any Turkish people in there at that price.

No doubt there will be more about that later, after a few long days cycling, there’s nothing like sitting in the steam room or sauna, but when it’s £43, you will be thinking twice.

That’s the first time I’ve felt like I’ve been fleeced since I got here. Still, there we are, it is still a unique and absorbing experience.

More next time.