Balkans 2016 – Day 3 : Istanbul to Örcünlü, Turkey

Woke up this morning at 445 am and feeling my bike staring at me asking me to set him up. Tossed and turned and few more times and woke up just in time when the morning prayers started. To me it signaled time to set up bike. Was happy that the bike was intact and all parts seems to be working. Next working on packing the panniers and rack bag. With that in the bag pun intended, went for my favorite soup shop for breakfast and came back just as Mustafa arrives. Mustafa my host does not stay at the apartment he is hosting me in and instead he stays with his mom a few blocks away. 

Had a bit of a chit chat with Mustafa before saying our good byes and finally setting out.

I decided to try out a new route instead and headed north on the old Erdine road towards road D020. It was a good choice. Traffic was bearable and on faster roads there was wide shoulders.  

However the day was over cast and rainy. It rain pretty much the whole day. It is as if Mr Cloud and Mrs Rain playing peekaboo just to irritate Mr Sunshine. the rain although mostly light came in waves making wearing the right clothing difficult as you’d feel sometimes too cold and sometimes too hot. 

In anycase I am happy to be on the way and inch myself towards Basel. Yehaaaaa !

Lions Project : RM 5.53 

My usual soup place. This time i am not sure what soup it is. Doesnt matter. tasted great
They serve other goodies as well.
Mustafa sending me off. Thanks for the hospitality.
Final pose before pushing off. Its already been raining lightly
City of Arnavutköy. First stop for superb grilled chicken Only 12 Liras for the whole bird.
Yummy. i fiinish the half and the rest keep for others.
Turkish yoghurt drink.
Part of the D020 road Nice rolling and wide shoulders. Traffic is also not high. you will pass by several forrested areas.
Found a nice paid campsite near the village of Örcünlü At frst they offerred me a nice chalet with fireplace for 100 TL but finally I settled for dinner and camping for 35TL.
Turkish Raki Made of Grapes,raisins and Aniseed distilled then water and sugar is added last. 45% proof. This will keep me warm on cold days but a tad sweet for my taste.
Dinner deal. Grilled lamb cutlets , turkish cofee and camping for 35 Lira.
Handy and cheap thermometer says its close to 16 C and droping Preparing fo a cool night of camping.
Welcome to my chill out camping pad
Look at the stars see how they shine for you.
There you go Darth is all soiled from todays wet ride but ready to take on Day 4

Balkans 2016 – Day 2 : The Waiting Game. 

Another day of waiting gives me the opportunity to acquaint myself with Istanbul again. Yes I been to Istanbul 3 or 4 times before around 20 years ago. After a great soupy breakfast I stuck around a little while before heading by bus to the edge of Bosphorous on the Europe side and took a ferry across to the Asia side for a quick lunch and then back via a senic Bhosporous tour. Headed back to wait for the luggage arrival but not a single sign. As it turns out it’s pasar tani Wednesday around the area I am staying and it was a massive one. Enjoyed the sight of the variety of local produce, spices and dried goods. Decided to head back again to wait. Still nada. Its almost 10 pm now nothing yet. To be continued. ………

Had a wonderful chicken vege soup with unlimited amount of bread. All for 4 TL only.
Scenes at Eminonu the edge of Europe along the Bosphorus. This is where you can hop on local ferries or do a Bosphorus tour
Do like the turks and relax with a cuppa bitter coffee. Yeehaaa
The view of the Euopean side of Turkey. Surprisngly doesnt seem to have changed much after close to20 years. I am glad that no signs of massive mega towers all along the Bosphorus
Rumeli Fotress. Built in 1452.
Hey Green peace. what are you protesting against now.
OK OK will act touristy and pose. Background structure is Kizkulesi aka Maidens Tower. Would have been interesting to take a boat ride over but entrance priced at 20TL is a bit of a rip off.
Transformation of a framers market
Fantastic array of stuff you can get here.
All the produce are super fresh and inexpensive. I bought a kilo of Peaches at 2.5 Lira only. That works out to be around 3.50 RM.
Hanging shoes
Head scarfs are very popular
Crowd swell.
More crowds
Entrance to my warmshower host ‘s apartment
Here with my very talented host. Mustafa was a graduate in Business Admin and now he is a graphic and multi media designer He is also the owner of Pilli bikes sepcializing in outfitting bikes with electronic kit.

One of Mustafa’s clients bike

Balkans 2016 – Day 1 : The wild swing of the Emotionometer

Sometimes you do not need to arrive to have an adventure. It’s starts the moment you leave your house. The drama started when checking in for my flight. I was almost to be denied boarding because I had booked a one way ticket and needed a proof of onward ticket. I had earlier been warned that this could happen by fellow tourers. I also researched that it also depends on the location and the carrier. Most carrier do this to protect themselves in the event the traveller gets denied entry and sent back. The carrier not only needs to send you back , they will also get a fine. The Airlines  are very strict about this. So they wanted me to buy a onward return ticket on the spot which I refused. Luckily I had a solution with a legitimate booked onward ticket with me as backup that I paid very little for ( less than 10USD ) and that got me off the hook and the finally allowed me to check in. If some of you want more details of this tai chi method just message me personally. 

Finally I am on my way now but still concerned if I would have problems at Istanbul immigration. I left Malaysia with mixed emotions. In  terms of my Emotionometer I was at 80% Anxious 10% Fearful and 10% Anticipation. 

Upon leaving Abu Dhabi for Istanbul the drama continues to unfold. The KL flight leaving for Abu Dhabi was delayed more that 1 and half hours due to some engine technical issues. They didn’t say exactly what the problem was but engine and technical and issue doesn’t sound all that assuring. Anyway as I sat in the window side of plane bound for Istanbul I was elated when the Captain announce that we would be able to see baggage being loaded. Great let me whip out my phone and take an Instagram moment while they load my bike box. Not a chance. To my horror, I saw the trolley with my box and bag along with other bags form the KL flight pull up the plane side and immediately was instructed to pull away and drove off ! At the moment there really nothing much I could do and watch my stuff carted off and already knew my bike and bag would not arrive with me at Istanbul. I Complained immediately to the crew but they say that’s not possible and told me  in any case they will  inform the ground crew and they would take care of it and that was that. Emotionometer just got dialed up twice!

Feeling helpless I decided to relax and dial down Emotionometer and just accept what comes when it comes. The flight was marginally bearable as I still have the the issue of getting pass immigration in my head. 

Turns out the process of clearing immigration at Istanbul was a joy and a breeze. I literally sail through the process.  So happiness and joy and Emotionometer swung go a different direction of 70% Joy 20% Anxoius 10% Excited. 

My flight landed 15 mins shy of 1pm local Istanbul time and after filling up the forms for the non arrival of my baggage and buying a prepaid data plan local SIM card , I got on a local a metro MRT was on my way to my warmshower host place at 330pm. The cost of the train ticket is 4 Turkish Lira. It was commical at the station as I was clueless how to get the tickets. Thankfully there are always nice local people to help. 

The bonus if you can call it a bonus is I now don’t have to unpack my bike set up and ride off from the airport. I now expect my bike and bag to be sent to where I am staying. 

I finally arrived at Mustafa’s home at Fatih around 430 pm  and settled in for the day. What a journey it was today. Tired but happy. Hoping for another swing to the Emotionometer when my bike and bag arrives tomorrow or not ?

Approaching Istanbul anc appreciating the vastness of the great city. Wow !
So looks like no bikes on the Metro. I am told foldies are allowed.
Do like the locals and take the Metro
Ok a gentle reminder that you are in Turkey
Main street leading up to Musatfas home. I am told national flags is being displayed all ovef thd city as a show of solidarity and patriotism after this years attempted coup
For bread lovers.
Dinner time and try something local. Turns out is more Syrian food as there are many Syrian that settled here.
Turkish tea a musf only 2 Turkish Lira
My dinner for today. A mix platter of hummus 10 Turkish Liras
A beautiful mosque near where I am staying. Even when it was rainiing i decided to walk around and have a closer look.

Balkans 2016 – Day 0 

Monday evening  I head for the airport to catch my flight to Istanbul. Trying to do it most affordably. Get someone to send to 1 Utama bus station- FOC. Take Skybus to KLIA2 – RM15. Take KLIA express to KLIA from KLIA2- RM2. If you have the time, this will work. It took me around 1 hour 45 mins to get from I Utama to KLIA. It was 8 pm so traffic was still a tad heavy. I guess you can make in faster rike during non peak hours. 

All ready to be loaded to be sent to 1 Utama bus station.
Waiting for the bus to come. A tad delayed due to bad traffic.
On the KLIA express

Balkans 2016 – Day -1

The incredible IKEA Dimpa bag. What an impressive and affordable bag. All my camping gear and 2 rear panniers can fit nicely inside this

Busy busy day of packing and meeting up with buddies for farewell fling. Packing is essentially done. Just need to tape up everything and we are good to go. Tomorrow will be a super busy day to get all necessary errands done.

That was the only cooler bag I could find. All my cooking stuff goes in here. Sexy pink is the new black ?
The bike is packed and ready to be boxed.