Around the world by bike
(120km - 8days)
14/9 - 21/9 2007
14 September – Girne, Cypres
I left the Baltic cycle group who was heading for the Greek side of the Island. I and was offered accommodation by Vidmantas, a friend of Sigitas (leader of Baltic Cycles), and decided to stay in the town as he was away for the weekend and had his house all to myself.
15 September - Girne
While in Girne I took the bus to Nicosia to try and find out about a visa for Syria, but the Embassy was on the Southern side of the island and therefore on the Greek side which I needed a visa for. No one seems to be able to help, so I went for a leg wax and pedicure instead. I was sure things would sort itself out.
16 - 17 September – Girne
I explored the coast around Girne by bicycle and what a fantastic coastline it was. The island is very mountainous and barren but the coast is lovely with many beaches, and unfortunately, many new developments, which spoils the rural feel of the island, but that’s development for you. I understand that it is also endangering the nesting places of the sea turtles which have been coming to breed here for centuries.
I spent another day in town to see if I could get in contact with the Syrian Embassy. Vidmantes offered to try and get the correct telephone number, but still, I could not get an answer. I decided to leave things and try my luck at the Syrian border.
18 September - Girne – Kaplica - (Odometer not working) – 60 km
The following day I thanked Vidmantes and cycled out of Girne in the direction of Famagusta. It was a short day, of cycling after which I found an idyllic spot on the beach to camp, it even had a beach bar and restaurant, I thought this was as good as it gets and pitched my tent. It was getting to the end of the season, and only a few super white Brits in their Union Jack swimsuits still remain.
19 September - Kaplica – Famagusta – 60 km
Left my little paradise and cycled over the mountain (nothing like a mountain pass first thing in the morning). Although there were campsites outside Famagusta, I opted for a hotel close to the harbour, as the ferry to Mersin left at 8h30 in the morning and the ticket office opened at 7h00.
What a fascinating old city Famagusta turned out to be, I could spend hours wandering around the ancient ruins. By then I was also terribly bitten and had bumps all over my face, arms and legs, and nothing seemed to stop the itching! Argggg
20 September - Famagusta - Mersin (Mainland Turkey) - By Ferry
I was up early loaded my bike and cycled off to the harbour just to find that the ferry was at 8h30 pm and not in the morning as stated in the email. I spent the day wandering around the Salamis Ruins which dates back to the 11th Century BC - after being destroyed by enemies and several earthquakes, there is still an amazing amount intact. Then, off to the harbour where I met 2 Nepali guys cycling around the world. I later had my doubts whether they were, in fact, cycling or just making use of public transport with the bike to score free accommodation and food.
21 September - Mersin – Atakia - By Bus
What a rust bucket the ferry was, it was as basic as it came but at least with some seats where one could and sleep. The trip did not take 9 hours as stated on the ticket and we arrive in Mersin the following morning at 9h00. Had some drama on the boat as a man fell overboard and (rust bucket or not) the ferry promptly turned around and picked him up again. Not an easy task in the dark, hats off to the captain!
I was by then still with the 2 Nepali guys, as they were also heading for Syria. We decide to take the bus to Atakia on the Turkey/Syrian border as I was out of visa time in Turkey. If I could not get a Syrian visa at the border I wanted enough time left on my Turkish visa to go back to Ankara to get one. In Atakia we found excellent accommodation at Sister Barbara’s where we stayed for the night. After waking to one of the Napoli guys fondling my breast, I yelled at him, took my stuff and found a bed in another dormitory. The little bastard!
The following morning, I packed up and cycled to the Syrian border and never saw the Nepalese guys again.