Monthly Archives: November 2011

Bosphorescence

Of course, as I’m sure you know, Istanbul is such a beautiful city that even in my grumpy, thwarted and exhausted state I was able to appreciate its charms. And I was surprised. For some reason it was never on my radar before. Unlike most people, I haven’t always wanted to come here. But now, […]

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Hurrah, Christmas!

Excitingly (for me), my little sister is flying out to spend Christmas with me. So as well as getting to enjoy the festive season in the company of one of my nearest and dearest, I’ll be able to put in a massive order for Schwalbe tyres, Aztec brake pads, Specialized bar tape, custard creams and […]

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The end of Europe

Last week I finally crashed into Istanbul, burning out the very last of my energy in one glorious blaze. I’d been struggling for days. Ever since I was ill, a couple of weeks ago, my energy and motivation have been almost non-existent, even after long strings of rest days (three in Veliko Tarnovo; three more […]

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Cutting winter down to size

Planning and preparation don’t hold the same joy for me that they do for some adventurers, but sometimes they offer a degree of comfort. As I’ve discussed elsewhere, I always feel nervous about whatever challenges lie immediately ahead, and have found that this nervousness is reliably diminished by a few hours of research, the purchase […]

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Guardian angels

This is Jez. I met her in that hostel I stayed in in Sofia last week, and she very kindly invited me to stay with her in the small town in central Bulgaria, where she’s lived for the past two years, teaching English with the US Peace Corps. But unfortunately I had no plans to […]

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More Balkan hospitality

And then it was a nice, easy, comfortable day along the flat main road of the Kosovan interior to Prishtina. It was a busy, dusty, fairly boring road, but I didn’t mind – although I love the mountains, it was nice to be able to just put my head down and bomb along at 20mph […]

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Balkan hospitality

I’m told the Germans have a saying: Guests, like fish, smell after three days. It’s a warning not to outstay your welcome. But cycle tourists, of course, smell from the moment they turn up – which is why I’m all the more impressed and grateful that so many kind souls have taken pity on this […]

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Rest day blues

I really wish I could just keep riding my bike forever, but sooner or later my body starts to complain, and I notice I’m getting slower and more out of breath, and the miles seem longer, and the hills steeper, and the headwinds stronger, and I realize I’m due a rest day. And I was […]

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