so i survived istanbul to rome. was far less arduous than the pamirs would have been, but i still managed to make it seem difficult. got extremely crook off a dodgy chicken kebab i ate in istanbul that came home to roost (pardon the pun) a couple of days later combined with heatstroke and exhaustion, and saw me collapsed in the middle of the road, 200 metres from the hotel i'd booked at unable to move. a passing motorist helped me by calling the hotel and arranging for them to send a van to get me. from 200 metres away. after a 90km day. so i ended up stuck in a town called tekirdag for 4 days, unable to keep food down. still, 5 star hotel, $70 a night.
the north of greece was great - i speak some greek and look about as ungreek as one can, so got the lovely jaws on the floor moment in small villages as i rolled into town, sat down in the local cafe and proceeded to start speaking greek. it made paying for drinks challenging sometimes, which was lovely.
the east coast of italy (brindisi to pescara) was a bit meh, i gotta say. there was stuff going on at home that might have contributed to me feeling a little bit rushed and not focused on the trip, but by and large it was pancake flat with beaches that were either crap, or private. the food was spectacular though, and the little villages and towns are stunning. pescara is gorgeous, i'd go back there.
the guts of italy from pescara to rome was great, some really fun descents. italian drivers (excluding rome) are the most considerate i've ever encountered.
didn't see many other tourers in turkey, but got lots of thumbs up from other cyclists. in greece i saw quite a few after i went past alexandroupoli, while in italy i encountered far more roadies, some of whom appreciated me drafting them, and some who seemed to react like somebody had put a firecracker in their knicks.
couple of photos for the hell of it. i assume folks here will be more understanding than non-cycling friends of the fact that the subject of most photos is the bike, and not me.
the hotel where i spent 4 days crook
the worst road i've ever "ridden". 4 hours of pushing the bike in 35 degrees plus, constantly watching over my shoulder as i was in wolf territory.
kavala old town, i stayed in a place up to the right, and the road got steeper than that, probably 20% on cobblestones or so
google maps kept sending me down "roads" that really weren't. this sandy mess saw me unloading the bike so that i could ferry the panniers up the hill. a lot of the time these detours would see you back on the same, perfectly good road about 2 kms later, but would involve an hour of pushing the bike. later on i downloaded an app called kommot that all the germans i met (isn't it always?) were raving about. it's pretty damn good, i recommend it, but $30 in case you're feeling frugal.
eagle eyed viewers may note the front rack bag has disappeared - i sent it and some other gear back home as i wasn't coping with the hills.
and yes, i still laugh at fart jokes.
not much says "you've made it to rome" more than stumbling across this.
Clipperton plays tennis with the Glock 17 held steadily to his left temple.