Luca’s Tour. The final leg.

From: Dimitrovgrad
To: Edirne
Dist: 127km
Weather: Chilly, scattered cloud, strong tail/crosswind


Took back roads through Voden, Aleksandrovo and Poljanovo. Very steeply undulating and quite draining. Killer crosswind also. Dropped on to E80 in to Harmanli. In theory I could stay on this road all the way to Istanbul now. Traffic not too bad, though as the road is being “improved” by the EU, I expect it is only going to get busier. Wind now mainly behind me and so flew most of the way, though when it did blow across me it was hell. Took me clean off the road a few times!

Rest day: Edirne
Weather: Cold


Old Ottoman capital, so an interesting place.

From: Edirne
To: Chorlu
Dist: 132km
Weather: Bright, cold, tail/crosswind


Istanbul about 250km away, so broke with my ethos of taking longer more interesting routes and decided to take direct route and get there in 2 days.

Very dull day on a wide, straight, constantly undulating road. Traffic not too bad as there is a motorway that runs parallel to this road and takes most of the lorries. Also, there is a wide gap at the side of the road that you can cycle on. Getting lots of friendly toots and cheers from random people!

Got to Chorlu at about 4, and was mobbed by kids in a backstreet who were fascinated by my bike. They were a rough looking lot, but very friendly and deferrent to an embarrassing degree. Despite their interest in the bike, not one of them dared touch it!

From: Chorlu
To: Istanbul
Dist: 118km
Weather: Bright, cold, tail/crosswind


Another uneventful day, plugging along the main road to my destination. Traffic got worse throughout the day. Some very long, steep climbs, though there were plenty of lorries also struggling up them at about 15kmh to grab on to the back of for a pull.

Last 30km in to Istanbul an absolute nightmare. Still don’t know how I survived the insane traffic. Welcome to cyclists hell!! Got to Sultanahmet at about 4 and found a hostel nearby. Total distance from London 6095km.

I Will try to put up some brief general notes on each country that may help anyone planning to tour in any or all of them. In the meantime I hope that this journal is of some use. Thnking about a similar trip? Stop thinking about it and just go for it!

Ed. Many thanks to Luca for a fascinating insight into Eastern Europe. I personally just couldn’t wait for the next instalment to come through and it has inspired me to think about doing something similar (the wife and kid might take exception to me disappearing for 3 months though). I hope the TORQ audience enjoyed it as much as I did and thanks again to Luca for keeping us updated on his progress.

By the way, if you enjoyed reading about Luca’s travelling exploits, I suggest that you purchase one of Bill Bryson’s travel autobiographies. They are packed with humour and information. I have recently finished his latest book ‘A Walk in the Woods’, where he walks the great Appalachian Trail. ‘Notes from a Small Island’ and ‘Neither Here nor There’ are fantastic too (and I don’t read much)