Arival to Istanbul and transfer to Black Sea coast
07.06.2010 - 08.06.2010 25 °C
After long winter and spring, summer was near and I finally got a chance to escape again. This time Teddy joined me on trip again and we choose Turkey for destination. It was first planed to cycle 3 different routes, but things got complicated again...
We started from Ljubljana airport on 7.6.2010. Because my plane ticket was for return and Teddys not, we were on different planes. He left LJ airport hour and a half earlier than myself. The first problem occur short after Teddy went into the airport. He called me to come in and help. I was little surprised when I found out that my travel mate is not on the passenger list. I was the one who booked both tickets and I was sure, that I double-checked everything. We soon solved the problem and found passenger with "S" letter instead of "Š" letter. When booking on web, I didnt have "Š" letter to choose, so I decided for "S" instead. Funny what difference one letter can make...We had luck and Teddy was able to catch the plane in direction Istanbul. After 1,5 hour it was time for me to start with boarding. I also had some problems and they charged me additionally 50 eur for bringing my bicycle on plane. I started to argue, but soon I noticed, that it is better to calm down. The payment was their standard procedure, but informations on their web page were also unsuficient. I knew that they charge for snowboard, wheelchair, instruments, but nobody mentioned any bicycle. We settled this problem and I was able to hand over the bike to airport stuff. When I entered personal laguage control, they noticed my tent in the bag. Because I might damage someone with spikes during the flight, I had to go back again and hand my tent over to the stuff. I was not happy, but you got to do what you got to do. There was no reason for non cooperation and I was on the plane soon after.
Flight was not even 2 hours long. Because there was no meal served on the flight, I only drank few Efes beers which were free of charge.
After landing in Istanbul Teddy was waiting for me on airport. Together we bought tourist visas which are obligatory. If you arrive with plane, you must buy it on the airport before entering Turkey. For 90 days visa we payed 20 eur each. With visas in our passports we had everything we needed and we started to prepare out bicycles for the trip. I had some bad luck again and damaged first inner tube before I was able to cycle at all...This took me some more time to change the tube and than we were finally ready for transfer to main bus station. We bought the jetons for subway, but when worker noticed our bikes we had to buy 2 more. Not sure if this is obligatory, but we did as they told us. Main otogar (bus station) is on other part of the city, but you get there with subway in no time. By subway it is possible to reach almost all important destinations and it is cheapest way of transportation beside the tram.
From main otogar we wanted to reach small town called Amasra on black sea coast. There was no direct link between Istanbul and Amasra, so we had to look for other options. We soon found out, that we could maybe find bus to Zonguladak, another town on black sea cost 100km western from Amasra. Main Istanbul otogar is a bussy place which never sleeps. Bus companies employees are shouting from all directions and offering different bus tickets. Best way to search is reading advertisments with names of destinations. There is plenty of bus companies, but nobody can take you to all places. Turkey is huge country and that us why they need many bus companies. After hard battle we were lucky and bought one of last 2 tickets for Zonguldak that night . In Turkey most people travel with buses. Bus companies are well developed and provide services all over the country. Buses are comfortable, staff very friendly and rates funny low compared to western Europe. They have even stevardess (ussually a man) on buses which is serving drinks and snacks from time to time. Althou I dont prefer buses so much, it was special experiance which I dont regrade. Later I traveled with bus mny times and each ride was something special.
We were driving almost whole night and arrived to Zonguldak at early morning. Bus station was still closed and we had some time to drive into the old town center. Shops and bars were still closed and we only drove for a while to make few photos. On bus station we found out that it harder to reach our start destination as we thought. We alredy traveled for almost 24 hours and we were still not in Amasra. Now they told us, that first we must drive 50km to south to town called Devrek and than from Devrek to Amasra. We entered smaller bus and after one hour we arrived to Devrek. Here we had to wait another 2 hours for bus to Amasra. On this bus we had another funny experience. 10 km before last station bus driver asked few passengers left if it is ok, to went into car-wash and stop for a while. Because nobody complain we were soon enjoying washing bus on the petrol station. Ofcourse we didnt left the bus but stayed inside. I was feeling like a child for a while.
Amasra is really nice town on black sea coast. We choosed this town for the start destination because here starts old coast road to Sinop....Now we were really tired and hungry. First we wanted to eat something and than only rest. We decided for small restaurant in the town. We wanted to eat only 1 kebab and later in hotel some dinner. Qwner and cook had prepared a nice game for us and probably also for other tourists. Cook was speaking german language and camed to our table. Than he asked us into the kitchen to choose kebab we want to eat. We choosed the food and went back to our table. After food arrived we knew that we made an mistake, because it was served on plates. We wanted only durum kebab in pancake, but now they brought us dishes ala carte. We couldnt complain, because we actually ordered this dishes. After we asked for check we become little angry. They charged us 35 eur for the food and this was really to much (for durum kebap we would pay 5 eur). We payed the bill and left to search for accomodation. After checking few places we noticed, that people dont want to negotiate and all they want is a lot of money. We were expecting something else and that is why we decided to leave this unfriendly town. We had to cycle another 30km of hills in direction east before we reached cosy small village Cakraz Bartin. Here the tourist season starts in beggining of July and is ending in end of August. Mostly visitors are families from Ankara who come for summer holidays. Here you can find beautyfull small sand beach and aproximately 20 small hotels with sea view. Because camping was closed we asked for free room. First owner didnt want to negotiate so we went on. Second one was more friendly and gaved us room with breakfast for 40 TL 8arround 20 eur). Later we found out, that this is very reasonable price for room and you can get it almost anywhere in Turkey. We were very tired but after dinner there was still some energy for exploring the beach and the village.