The ferry will be here in one and one-half hours. Please be on the pier at least 15 minutes before departure time."

Finally! I'd been on Samos, the Greek isle closest to the Turkish coast almost a week now, trying to cross over and complete my bicycle tour.

Each day for five days I'd visited the gentleman at the travel agency only to learn that the overdue ferry would arrive . . . "tomorrow." Now I was 90 minutes away from the last leg of my trip, a bicycle ride up the west coast of Turkey from the Roman ruins of Ephesus to Istanbul, the city of two continents. On the 45 minute ferry ride, less than crowded with only two other paying customers, I pondered the events of the last half year. Almost six months earlier I had left California with my new 12 speed bike, my week-old panniers and my xeroxed instructions on how to fix a flat tire--I was going on my first overnight bike ride. I flew into Brussels, Belgium, then bicycled up to Sweden where I visited friends and basically bounced from party to party for two months. By the latter half of September, Sweden was growing increasingly cold and wet and I decided to try to bicycle to Greece. Through the Eastern Bloc. Alone.

The first few weeks were disastrous:

During the first week it poured--I was soaked, along with all my gear.
During the second week I made the mistake of photographing near a railway station--forbidden in the Eastern Bloc countries. I spent two days in jail for my troubles.

During the third week, my bicycle was confiscated by Czechoslovakian border guards. With the help of the American Embassy in Prague it was returned--after eight days of shuttling between the Embassy, the train station, and the Tourist Office.

Circumstances improved, however, just as I was ready to give up, and October-November saw a trouble-free ride through Hungary, Yugoslavia and Greece, where I spent nearly a month looping the Peloponnese. From the port of Pireas, just outside of Athens, I took a ferry as close to Turkey as possible, only to spend the last 5 days trying to cross the remaining few kilometers of water. It was now December 6th, and the Turkish coast was an hour away.


Finally...on the ferry.
Greece was left behind... And the next few weeks would be in Turkey.
Leaving Kusodasi, I stopped to enjoy the scenery.
  Next: Kusodasi to Selcuk  
2008-2014 by Bill Fridl  ( )
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