The cycle from Tsarevo to Malko Tarnovo tested us. The route (whilst beautiful and fragrant: at times it felt like we were cycling through a botanical garden) was let down by a frustratingly poor road surface, which meant that after slogging up the long ascents, we weren't able to fully enjoy the sweet downhills, for fear of hitting a pot hole at speed! Whether it was the humidity or the fact that we were a bit out of practice, 70 of the 71km we cycled were spent dripping in sweat! It wasn't pleasant and our legs (and at times our instinct) were screaming at us to return to the comfort of the hotel! At least there were plenty of roadside springs to quench our thirst and wash the salt out of our eyes! It was a long and tiring re-introduction back into touring cycling and 5km after crossing the border we sneaked into the woods to make camp for the night. (Wild camping in Turkey is very, very easy so far).
In the morning, we were rewarded with smooth roads, a slight tailwind and some wonderful descents as we approached the town of Kirklareli (Both of us reaching speeds of over 70kph on one particularly long downhill stretch!) where we topped up our supplies, ate kebabs and chatted with friendly and inquisitive locals.
The following day, with the winds still causing us stability problems and the sky looking grey and threatening, both Ashley and I were feeling a bit lacking in the positivity department! A chance encounter with three German touring cyclists (and a couple of swigs of plum brandy) brightened the mood and we ended up the day a mere 50km from Istanbul!
There is one major benefit with the strong winds: I was able to wash pants and socks in the roadside water fountains and strap them to my rear panniers to dry!
Love and hugs. X