So we’re crossing Turkey… again. We already did the scenic route inland past Cappadocia, we did the fast route on the dual carriage way. Now it’s time for the holiday route along the Black Sea coast.
Our bikes need new shoes and Jörg gave us the contact details of Bora’s tyre shop in Bandirma. Unfortunately he does not have the Heidenau K60 Scout we love so much, but the Continental TKC70’s will do. That means we take a small detour past the Sea of Marmara first.
We leave Istanbul the same way we came, on the ferry and head for a small but recommended camp site on the coast. Time for a short beach holiday while we wait for the tyres to arrive.
On the ferry, we meet Najib and his family from Peshawar, Pakistan. They are on holiday in Turkey and are on their way to the mountains near Bursa to escape the Istanbul heat.
And a real beach holiday it is!
On Tuesday, the tyres arrive and we head for Bora’s shop. Since the shop mainly installs car tyres Jo gives the mechanic a hand by removing and re-installing the wheels on the bikes, while I explore the shopping mall down the street. 2 hours and a lot of tea later we leave with brand new, very black rubber on the rear. The TKC’s are more road oriented and we’re curious to find out how they perform on gravel. It will probably be a bit more slippin’ ‘n slidin’.
From Bandirma we go north east via Bursa and Adapazari to the Black Sea coast. We haven’t really seen much of that part of Turkey and our short beach holiday has inspired us. We also hope to escape the heat a bit. Istanbul was brutal!
The closer we get to the sea, the more clouds move in. By the time we find a nice campground, it has started raining. Fortunately, it is just a short evening shower. We do get a very beautiful rainbow in return!
Since there’s no food available at the camp site and we haven’t bought any supplies today, we first ride a few kilometers down the road to a small restaurant for a delicious salad and some köfte on a terrace overlooking the sea. Then we return and go to sleep early, but not before some tea with the camp site owner.
In the morning the views are just stunning!
We decide to take a more inland route towards Samsun and stay away from the main roads for a while since they turn out to be all dual carriage way or are under construction to become one. The amount of road works in Turkey is almost beyond belief.
The inland route does not disappoint and we are treated to some very nice small and twisty roads. Before we head towards the coast again we stop at a fuel station to fill up. Again, we are offered some tea. While we are sipping on that we are approached twice by Turkish Belgians spending their holidays here. A funny coincidence, as they are the only Belgians we have met during our entire stay in Turkey.
We reach the coast again just before Samsun and start looking for the campsite Ahmet from the Ant Camp campsite near Bandirma recommended. Sadly, this campsite isn’t nearly as cosy as Ahmet’s. It’s on the outskirts of town, near a very busy road and with the loudest Muezzin ever just across that road.
We are just about to start cooking some dinner when our neighbour Mehdi arrives on a rather strange motorbike. At first, from the front, it looks like a big KTM but it has the BMW logo on the side and when we look closer, it turns out to be one of those Chinese adventure travel lookalikes. It looks impressive though!
Since that over-eager Muezzin cannot be silenced even by earplugs, we are up and running pretty early. It will turn out to be an uneventful day anyway. Grey skies and boring roads since this time there isn’t really an inland alternative to the busy coastal route towards Trabzon and the Georgian border.
We have run out of oil to lubricate the chains through the nifty homemade chain oiling system Jo installed on both our bikes, so the mission for today is finding that Stihl or even better Husqvarna shop where we can find chainsaw oil.
Around lunchtime we reach Ordu and we decide to grab some hot food. It has been raining on and off and compared to Istanbul it’s getting colder. We’re clearly not used to that anymore.
Just when we are looking for a place to park the bikes, we spot a Stihl logo next to some coffee shops. Happy days! Warm food and mission accomplished for the day. We walk a bit further down the road and it gets even better when we also spot a Husqvarna logo. We like to stay true to our brand!
The rest of the day is wet, wetter, wettest. Not keen on camping, we find a cabin in one of the many rafting camps along the Firtina river near Ardesen. From here it’s just a short stretch to the Georgian border in the morning.