On Monday, the weekend shut-down is over and I look for a way through the traffic chaos into Istanbul. I choose the highway, which widens from 2 to 4, to 6 and finally to 10 lanes, because all side roads are hopelessly congested.
Finally in the city, I meet Simon, a bike traveler who has driven here from Germany and from here on is stuck for the time being.
I enjoye the city with all its mosques, the Bosporus and the wonderful food. But I also use the time to visit different consulates. The question is how it will go on for me from here. The southern route is impossible at the moment because all countries east of Turkey have closed their borders to tourists. The only option left is the northern route via Romania to Russia and then directly to Vladivostok. So I try to get in contact with the Russian consulate. I try it by phone and by mail, but get no answer. The first attempt to call in person was canceled, but the next day I could finally get in, but was dispatched quite shortly with a negative decision.
I knew this could happen when I left Munich, but being stuck here is still frustrating. I get my bike back in shape and decide to stay here for now and use the time to go around Turkey. I will go south along the Mediterranean coast to the Syrian border. Then along the Iranian border through the mountains, where it should be quite cold to the Georgian border. In order to stay well trained, I will not take the direct route, but will take every pass in the area if possible.
Early in the morning, still in the dark, I cross the Bosporus by ferry. Simon and his girlfriend accompany me for a while. Today I drive 130 kilometers and I am still in Istanbul. I don’t see a piece of undeveloped land.