It’s starting to feel a little more real!

29 04 2012

So we are going on a bike ride and up until now we have had no bikes!

After many hours of Jimi searching far and wide for the perfect machine, he found me a ‘Ferrari’ as he called it! (Well it was black and red)

Only a small problem, it was in London and we are in Manchester. Thanks to a helpful auntie, problem solved, we borrowed a car and drove to get it. I was assured by Jimi it would be worth the early start, long drive, expensive petrol and heavy traffic jams along the way!

So we set off and hoped it would fit me and feel right to ride. (I secretly think Jimi was hoping it wouldn’t fit me so he could have it.)

After the Sat Nav nearly taking us the wrong way up one way streets, down industrial estates and crazy drivers beeping for nothing, we reached our destination.

Duuuuum duuuum duuuuuuuuuuuum… it was perfect! We were greeted by a friendly face, freshly brewed coffee and a nearly brand new Thorn Sherpa bike, perfect size, mint condition, and dare I say it, beautiful (Yes Jimi I think its beautiful, and not just a bike with two wheels.)

So I have my bike now and it feels as though everything is coming together for our trip, only a few more things to get and we can be on our way.

Jimi had a few days of intense jealousy and looking longingly at my bike until he found a bike which he will go and pick up tommorow… from Edinburgh.

From opposite ends of the country but he has the same bike as me, only a black one (and not as good.)

So now I have THE bike, I need to get practicing on it now and await the big day to arrive. (86 days to go, not that I’m counting!)


Cycling and Kebabs!

18 04 2012

So my holiday in Turkey taught me a lot about cycling and actually living in Turkey as a cyclist. (Me and Jimi will live in Turkey for 6 months from November.)

The first thing I noticed about cycling through the city of Antalya, when your cycling along the road is that people in cars don’t go slower, they don’t wait patiently for you to pass; they beep long and loud until I eventually had to pull in on the pavement and wait for them to pass!!

There are no cycle lanes and as a cyclist you have to decide wether to cycle on the pavement and avoid pedestrians, or dodge through beeping traffic.

So with Jimi still not able to ride a bike due to a silly car door; I decided to do a little bit of riding in Turkey. (Not the two day mountain ride we had planned.)
I thought I’d cycle to the beach, have a swim and then cycle home. So in between dodging the tram, ignoring the angry beeping car drivers and on occasion dodging pedestrian walking in the middle of the road I made it to the beach.

Another difference of Turkey which I cannot decide is a good thing or not; kebabs are eaten any time of day, not just at 11pm after frequenting the bar!

So after a ride to beach, sweating in the heat, hungrily I tucked into a Turkish kebab at 1pm in the afternoon! This can never be a normal food of choice for my lunch but in Turkey this is standard.

I am looking forward to my Turksih experience, not necessarily the beeping swerving cars but definately the kebabs at midday and the amazing scenery that Turkey has to offer.

Lycian Way- ‘Like’

14 04 2012

We have been in Turkey for a week, so here’s a little story about what we got up to.

We come here a lot to visit my (Jim) Mum, she’s lived here with Terry in Antalya for 7 years. Mum writes a column in a English language national newspaper and is a Primary school teacher too. Terry is a travel writer and Archaeological Tour Guide.

A few years ago Terry was part of a team that way marked and wrote a book about the Lycian way, a 509 km way-marked footpath around the coast of Lycia in southern Turkey, from Fethiye to Antalya. We have been meaning to walk a stretch ever since and as I still can’t cycle since I killed a car door with my chest we couldn’t complete the cycle tour in Turkey we had planned.

So we took a bus from Antalya and after a couple of changes were in Olympos, an ancient city that once housed Romans, pirates and Greeks. There are also some rather more recent dwellings, treehouses, which are home to a new generation of travellers- the backpackers! It is now a well established destination on the ‘packers circuit of Turkey. We chose to stay at Bayrams on my sisters recommendation and guess what? She was right as usual, a lovely little place that had a fire in the evening that everyone gathered round and enjoyed dinner and cold beers together, it’s 35tl each including breakfast and dinner!

But back to the Lycian Way, we did the leg that starts in the Ruins of Olympos and heads west up a steep valley. It is clearly marked with red and white stripes. We hiked for a couple of hours until we reached some more ruins where we sat and downed our water. We were drenched in sweat, I can see why they don’t recommend you do it in summer, a cloudy spring morning is hot enough. The four bottles of Efes the night before had not helped our hydration levels.

We ‘liked’ the Lycian Way and if you like walking you will too. Especially if you, like us, enjoy hiking away from the crowds of the Alps and such places. We didn’t see anyone all day but we’re sure we heard something big in the woods. Although we had just watched the Liam Neeson film about wolves 2 nights before.

Oh I almost forgot, there is a beach to read (sleep) on and a sea to swim in!

Poker, canal boats and the Olympic stadium

2 04 2012

What do they have in common? Us and our weekend.

On Friday we hosted the second of our charity poker nights. This time with more people and better beer. We had 2 barrels of Starry Night ale brewed by Richard Brazen at the Star Inn in Higher Broughton Salford. It is delicous!

Luckily the government hadn’t told people not to panic buy ale and salted snacks so there was plenty for everyone and fueled by this winning combination we all got tremendously merry and lost. Well I say lost, actually 3 people won but donated all their winnings to Oxfam. What lovely (drunk) people. Thanks to everyone who made it a great night and particularly the generous winners Paul Neary, Jemma McKenna and Andy Mac/ Jambo. We raised £230 which is brilliant.

After tidying up and kicking out the last remaining friends we caught the train down to London and spent a lovely day and evening with our friends on their canal boat in Angel, London. I’m always left feeling vey jealous of these boat people. It seems a wonderful way to have a simple life in an inner city environment, they also have a lovely sense of community with new neighbours pulling up for a coffee regularly and sharing stories.

Sunday we attended the ‘Jason Middleton Olympics’. Ok so it was actually the Gold Challenge, one of the Olympic test events. Jason won a place to race the 100 metres through his work and we turned out in our tens to cheer him on. Alas it was not meant to be and he finished a gallant third. The stadium looks great and I’m sure all those lucky enough to get tickets will have an amazing time.

Starry Night don't do weekends but if they did….