Istanbul – Samsun, 10.11-20.11.2016, 6140km | Along the Black Sea Coast I

Istanbul – Samsun, 10.11-20.11.2016, 6140km | Along the Black Sea Coast I

**Or four times climbing Mt. Everest**

It was sunny and warm when I left Istanbul after two weeks on Thursday, 10th Nov. I just cycled with shorts and shirt – the weather was perfect. Although I only started at noon I did more than 100km and slept the night in a nice park.

The following day an abandoned house served as hotel for me and I got a taste of the hilly road that was lying in front of me.

On Saturday I turned onto the coastal road D010 that would guide me the next 14 days to Georgia.
In the beginning it had 4 or 6 lanes but began getting narrower soon and the climbing started. The road usually passed right next to the Black Sea – just about 200m higher. The villages in opposite were on the same level though so I could always conquer 400m of elevation. And there were a lot of villages and the road was steep.
The first part to a break took some time. In the end I found a nice place to eat at a retirement home where I was even given the lunch that was also served the pensioners. One security guard asked me for my Facebook account. I denied and said he could have my email. He replied a bit sad that he only had a g-mail-address not an email-address.

I always drove into the dark that began at about 5pm. The road was not busy so it was great cycling as long as the weather was nice: The from moonlight illuminated landscape, the whooshing of the sea and of the wind in my ears as well as the singing birds were the reasons for me to look forward to these one or two hours of the day.
What makes Turkey a paradise for cyclists and hitchhiker or people sleeping outdoors are the numerous areas for picnic often with covered pavilions that make sleeping very easy. Most of the areas also have sanitation and water springs.

Already in Istanbul I heard that Black Sea people like weapons and shooting. But when I looked for a place to pitch my tent and pee I heard gunfire nearby. Some moments later I spotted the muzzle flash. The people only shot in the air but knowing that a semi-automatic weapon is fired nearby just for fun was not such a good feeling.

The good weather was not for long. During the evening of the third day it was obvious that it was going to change. On Sunday, 13th Nov, rain started after a sunny morning. At a temperature of 14°C and the continuous climbing it was horrible: Either way I sweated under my rainproof clothes or the rain made my clothes wet. I decided for the first choice because I thought it would be healthier. The rain was not heavy and not longer than 3 hours straight so my clothes could dry from time to time. But changing clothes was getting on my nerves – especially the trousers cause then I had to take off my shoes as well.

The part between Zonguldak and Bartın I cycled through some villages where I misheard the sounds of a sawmill with the ones of a milking plant, as stupid as it may sound. Still I got a bottle of milk and pitched my new tent for the first time at the harbour beach in Kurucaşile. The tent covers the 6m² canvas completely but looks smaller as it is – I like it a lot.

Monday was characterized by changing weather like the following days. It made the cycling in the dark not fun anymore and also the road became quite slippery. In the evening I arrived to the best place for sleeping along the road in my opinion: Doğanyurt. I came to this little village before the supermarket A101 closed and rewarded myself with almonds covered in chocolate and yoghurt for mixing with honey (yes, it can be a real delight). The place for sleeping was just perfect. A Russian hitchhiker couple already pitched theirs there under a pavilion but there was still enough space for me. So I prepared food and enjoyed the last episode of Germany’s most famous TV show Tatort.

On Tuesday, 15th Nov, it rained constantly. I started late cause I ate breakfast with the Russians – a rare occasion not being alone when waking up.
I wanted to sleep in Türkeli but there was just no suitable place and it rained and rained and rained…. At the end of the town was a building shell without barrier at the entry. I asked a man who seemed to run a little shop next to that shell but I think he said I cannot sleep there. Well in the end I didn’t care and moved in room at the back. Unfortunately there were no window glasses in the ground floor yet so the wind was drawing a lot but at least I stayed dry.

Samsun came nearer and since my start in Istanbul the land became flatter. The northernmost town of Sinop lying on a peninsula was visited by me cause initially I just wanted to stop by at Carrefour to get some Lokum sade. They didn’t have it so I warmed myself for some time near the coal bucket of shoe polisher Hassan.
When I arrived to the village of Gerze where I would sleep I was kidnapped into the gas station where I asked to get access to WiFi and served several çays. After I was let go I made myself at home in a park. Unfortunately my camping cooker got destroyed that evening.

After 8 days, one thousand kilometres, four theoretical ascents of Mount Everest and a not so fresh smell I finally arrived to Samsun. After some problems with my host I was spontaneously hosted by Serkan, which was very good cause he is very funny and open-minded.
How nice is was to take a shower and enjoy a beer with 130% taxes (6TL ~ 2$). According to “president” Erdoğan Ayran is the national drink and alcohol a shame (like cigarettes).
I didn’t do much but relaxing. Serkan and me went eating Künefe and to a cool Dürüm döner otobus restaurant. There I was asked if I don’t have a father which means why my parents allowed me to do such a impudent journey by bicycle. As if it wasn’t enough the owner wanted to convert me to Islam.

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