On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

Camping at a petrol station

By Stuart Lowe on

Aside from briefly being woken by the musical sounding muezzins at 3.30am, I slept about 12 hours. I packed and said goodbye to the "campingplatz führer". As her toilet blocks had no toilet paper I was now on the hunt for a toilet. Thankfully, the D100 has lots and lots of petrol stations on it so I managed to relieve myself.

I had around 200 km to go. The D100 was fairly quiet either because it was a Sunday morning or because of Ramadan.

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D100 road in Turkey

So far, in almost every petrol station or shop I've been in the owner has followed me around. It is slightly disconcerting.

I came off the D100 into a little town. I stopped at what looked like a little cafe with some men outside drinking tea (chai). I say cafe but it could have been a little community centre or someone's house. I motioned to ask if I could buy some tea. Between three of the men they worked out what I was asking and I was bought some. They told me the price in Turkish. I'm so glad my Turkish friend Selin had taught me how to count to 10 in Turkish when I was at university.

I shared almost no language with the men. There were pantomimic gestures, a few words of German, some use of Google Translate, and I learnt the word for "flat" in Turkish: düz. Apparently it was flat to Istanbul. Brill! They were lovely and I thanked them before heading back on my way. I'd only gone a little way down the street when I saw an open bakery. The bakers were making loaves and I was able to buy one for lunch. It was still warm and very tasty.

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Chai in Havsa.

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Bakers

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Western Turkey

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Western Turkey

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Western Turkey is starting to feel like Western Iowa but with less corn and a better hard shoulder

I decided to cycle on ahead of Thomas Stevens. I have better roads and want to make the most of the relative quiet today. It may not be this quiet tomorrow.

As the afternoon went on I got surrounded by rain clouds and there was lightning behind me. I got reminded of furious pedalling away from storms on the great plains of the US.

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Mosque

It was getting into evening and I was a little short of Çorlu. Remembering some things that Tess and Francesca had told me in Serbia, I asked some guys working at a petrol station if there was camping nearby. I mentioned that I had cycled from Liverpool. They were Chelsea fans but said I could camp around the back of the petrol station! Behind the petrol station the ground was more suited for tent pegs than the real campsite I stayed in in Edirne last night! They also showed me the toilet. It had toilet paper. They even came to check everything was OK when their shift ended later on. Such fantastic hospitality.

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Great petrol station guys

Tomorrow I will head for Silivri. And hopefully to a shower.