Friday, December 3, 2010

Hunting Snarks: A Journey in 8 Bags

From Snarks

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
 They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
 They charmed it with smiles and soap.

(Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark: An Agony in Eight Fits, 1874)

"In crook stories it is almost always the necklace,
and in spy stories it is most always the papers."

(Alfred Hitchcock on the McGuffin, interviewed by Francois Truffaut, 1966)

Often throughout this journey we have wondered why. Why are we riding all day into headwinds on sandy roads? Why are we camping on a bare hillside surrounded by goats? Why did we craft such an elaborate and outlandish way to occupy ourselves during our grand year off? The romantic in me would like to think that we were on a quest of some sort, for an elusive object that always remained strangely out of reach.

Turkey wrap-up

Total Kilometres: 1052
Cycling days: 21
Average kilometers per day: 50
Camping days: 11
Longest Cycling day: Mersin to Ta┼čucu - 102km

Thursday, November 18, 2010


From Istanbul

Istanbul must surely be the most richly imagined city in existence. Layer upon layer of exoticised accounts by centuries of western traveler-writers lusting for something other than their staid and grey origins. It has been the aim and the end-point of many journeys, a natural full stop to traveling.

Probably the most overused descriptor for Istanbul – ‘East meets West’ – colours the background of our Istanbul, though has become somewhat abstract merely through repetition. For us, these antique notions of place and relation are a long way from our multiethnic home neighbourhoods, but have long drawn westerners to see the East and continue to inform the ‘western’ longings of this city.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last legs

From Antalya to Istanbul

We sorely needed a detox from our 4 days of shameful, resort-style indulgence (despite its being interspersed with some actual medicine and learning). Back to basics, we said. So we hightailed it down the road to Antalya and beyond, chasing reports of forested mountains rippling down into the sea. Only about 15km beyond the city though, we found the new daylight savings time bringing darkness upon us earlier than we would like and we turned off the road to the beachside.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A fully sick conference

After an uneventful (read: nauseating for Ali) hydrofoil trip back to the Turkish mainland we backtracked from Tasucu to Silifke. We had a date with an Eurasian Congress and needed to cover some quick kilometers by bus to make it in time.

We successfully killed 7 hours in Silifke with the following ingredients: One Internet cafe. Two books: News from Tartary and Kim. One heavily moustached barber and two delicious kebabs. In no time we were nestled in the bus, staring at our personal TV screens watching what we aptly named ‘bus-cam’. ‘Bus-Cam’ is only marginally better than watching Turkish sitcoms (in Turkish). Thankfully, our bus-driver harbours no desire to become a script-writer. We passed the night away with incredibly boring episodes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cyprus Wrap Up

Total distance: 441km
Distance on unsealed roads: 15km
Nights spent camping: 5
Days spent cycling: 10
Average distance per day: 44km
Longest day: 77km
Maximum speed: 56.3kph
Highest altitude: 1850m

Tips for travelers

Some tips on ferries, border crossings and passport stamping.