Ok, there wasn't much cycling involved and we are three months late but we have finally made it to Istanbul. The architecture is astonishing and the people are very kind - especially considering we only know a couple of words of Turkish. Interestingly, despite all of the reports, we have had no hassle in the bazaars although perhaps this is because Steve looks so mean/ grumpy with his new beard. Our hotel is 400 metres from the site of the anti IMF and World Bank protests but our parents will be pleased to read that we managed to sleep through the tear gas, water cannon attacks and baton charges.
It is a little sad that we didn't get here as planned - cycling here would certainly have made for a very cool expedition. Things we must do differently on our next trip include:
- Take heed of weather reports - it wasn't much fun cycling in torrential rain/hail/snow in Spain.
- Do some training before we leave - lots of Christmas celebrations followed by a month in Asia wasn't the best preparation for a cycling trip.
- Plan a route that takes into consideration our limitations - Steve seemed sure that we could cross the Pyrenees in winter with 20 kgs of luggage. Sadly we barely made it over the Surrey
- Our cast iron stomachs - no food poisoning despite eating at as many local restaurants/ street stalls as we could find.
- Our ability to stay (reasonably) positive when faced with 10 inches of snow/sore knees/extortionate prices in Costa Rica.
- Our abundance of friends and relatives who supported us throughout the trip - every email, skype call and comment on the blog cheered us up and kept us going. Special thanks to those in Pelaw and Dallas who took us in and nurtured our weary souls when we needed it most.
I don't know when/ where our next expedition will take us although we have just received news of the London to Cape Town rally in 2011... so stay tuned.