Riding with friends from Luleburgaz to Edirne (78/15,663k, 760m)

(written by Dave)

First a quick report on the concert last night.  Yes, we could hear it from our room but it was not too bad.  Either that or we were just tired.  It started about 9PM, an hour later than advertised but that’s how it goes with big stars I guess.  We never did figure out who was playing.  About 10PM, when the call to prayers started, the concert music stopped.  We thought it might be the end of the show but rather it was just a pause to let the call to prayers  complete – ah, Turkey, with 5 calls per day, 35 per week, they still figured a concert pause was appropriate for the 10PM Saturday night call.  I remember hearing the concert start back up but nothing much afterwards – I slept hard I guess.

We were up early but not moving too quickly.  We managed to pull away from the hotel just after 8AM.  There was some fog and it was almost chilly.  No rain however, so we were happy.  We were both sort of slogging it out when at about 10k we saw two cyclists coming towards us on the other side of the D100.  We hopped off our bikes but were not able to cross over before, Zafer and Murat, two local cyclists from Babaeski, had hopped the divider and were standing with their bikes on our side of the road.

They were riding out and back from Babaeski to Luleburgaz but we got to chatting and they offered to re-jig their ride so that we could all have tea together in Babaeski.  They called ahead to the power plant where Murat worked and arranged for the tea to be ready when we arrived.  They then took turns pacing us over the next 10k until we arrived.  As promised, the tea was ready and we all managed to down 3 cups while discussing bicycling, Aussie rules football and power generation, among other things.

When it came time to depart, Zafer and Murat decided to continue re-jigging their ride, offering to escort us through town and a further 10k beyond.  The 10k eventually turned into 20k before they finally had to turn back for home.  Having seen almost no local riders in Turkey, we felt quite lucky to have met Zafer and Murat (now known as “Sparky” due to his work – we gave him an Aussie nick name, much to Zafer’s delight).  Zafer’s English was great and we were able to ask him about all sorts of things we’d been wondering about.  Being able to not bother looking at the map and getting some route information for the rest of the day was nice also.  I can’t see how we’ll ever not stop when we encounter cycle tourist once our trip is over.  Zafer and Murat really gave us a boost of energy and we were grateful for their willingness to change plans just for us.

Once back on our own, we both decided it was time to eat something so we pulled over at a servo in Havsa.  Here a young puppy provided much entertainment while we snacked and drank yet another complementary tea provided by the servo staff.  We were just sitting there and the station attendant came over with two fresh cays, making it a four-free-tea day, tying our Turkey daily record.

We had another 25k to ride to reach Edirne and thanks to Murat had a good idea of how many hills were ahead.  As we crested the 4th hill we spotted another touring cyclist stopped on the other side of the road.  We stopped and crossed over to meet Leo from the UK.  He is heading east, not sure how far or how long.  He had a great bike, lots of clever handmade additions that he made in route from the UK or before he left.  His triple stacker water bottle holder was a thing of beauty, perhaps something that we might consider if we try crossing Australia again.  Leo came through some of where we are heading and vice-a-versa.  We took some time roadside to exchange information.

We finally reached Edirne about 1:30.  Not the fastest day we’ve ridden but we did make some new friends that helped turned a day that started gloomy into a day with some great travel experiences.  It was Nancy’s day to look at hotel (yes!) so we settled into a kofte (meatball) restaurant, had lunch and I hung out while Nancy did the room search.  She checked inside three hotels, plus two that did not have rooms available or were too expensive.  We’ve ended up at the Tuna Hotel, a nice mid-range hotel with walls that look more salmon pink than tuna red, but there you go.

Edirne is famous for cooked liver (ciğer).  It is prepared in a unique local way (whole pieces, not puree, of liver, covered in flour, are deep fried inside a cauldron full of boiling vegetable oil) and served with an extra hot dried and crunchy pepper.  I was tempted to try some at lunch but held off.  I will do so later and report back.  (Nancy will probably just have a taste of mine).

We plan on being here tomorrow as there are lots of things to check out.  Edirne was the capitol of the Ottoman Empire before they worked up the strength to attack and take over Constantinople (Istanbul).  This period lasted for over 100 years in the 1400’s.  There are still many famous buildings here but the city has been in decline for centuries.  In the 1700s 350,000 people lived here.  Today population has dropped to 140,000.  The Balkan wars and both WWs had a big impact on the population.

Off to dinner now.  It could be liver!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

7 responses to “Riding with friends from Luleburgaz to Edirne (78/15,663k, 760m)

  1. becki boehnke

    riding in flip flops? crazy? and you all seem to shop at the lemon yellow vest shop….stay safe!

    • They were Teva’s and the matched Leo’s bike perfectly – bit of this, bit of that. He’s a clever lad and I’m sure that running repairs will be a big part of his adventure. I only wish he were blogging so that we might enjoy all that he encounters.


  2. You’ve got to love those unexpected encounters! Sounds like a really good day! Thanks for the Hotel pics! Looks pretty nice. Love the poppies. Have a good day…

  3. I just returned from a Turkish festival in Reno. We saw a demonstration about how to make Turkish coffee and then tried some and some cay. We also had some lahmacun and something that was similar, but started with a g. The lady who served me has been in the US only five years and I think she said she was from Adana. I told her about your trip and that everyone was so friendly. She said, “Thank you.” We tasted a lot of other yummy stuff, too, both sweet and savory. It was fun.

  4. Sounds like you went from a gloomy day to a GREAT day! Good fun and information from friendly cyclists! It’s comforting to know that there are others out there doing similar things. Looks like we have rain coming all week – soon it’s time for Rose Festival!

  5. Greetings from Zafer and (Sparky)Murat. Thank you for your nice blog and pictures. We would like to see your pictures in Edirne. If you revert the same way, please contact us. Nancy and Dave good luck and wish you success. Hello from Babaeski to everyone! Note: Seven referees too much. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s