Joy! I’ve just reached Istanbul having cycled all the way across Europe from London. I was worried that it wouldn’t feel special to reach here as Istanbul is somewhere I’ve visited before, but, as it turned out, during the agonising three days cycling towards it my memories of the place are what spurred me on to reach it a day early. This may seem like a depressing post but I will now detail probably the three most physically gruelling days of my life.
I’m taking a couple of days off in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, before I set off on the final 450km leg into Istanbul. I’m in a very good mood having just smashed through the 2,000 mile barrier on my way into the city! The last five days from Bela Palanka have been tough as I’ve been trying to manage the pain in my knee. It no longer hurts but it constantly feels like if I push my luck and ride too hard then it will go and lock up again.
I’ve finally left Western Europe, crossing the line where the Iron Curtain once stood, and have really started to feel that I’ve cycled quite far from home.
After a couple of relaxing in days in Vienna, stuffing myself with Apple Strudle and Sachertorte, at the wonderful company of my friend Ronnie and his partner Chris’ flat, I set out on on the days ride to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia.