…we sailed down the Bosphorous after boarding a boat at Sariyer after our last 50km peddle and arrived in Ortokoy. Busy busy road coming out of Tayakadin,onto a quiet hilly road littered with household rubbish, buildingdetritus and roadkill, under Roman aqueducts, up another hill or two through leafy cool trees, and then down, down, down.

First a glimpse of water,a change in the air then onto the paved dock waterside. We were jubilant. Beer and chips all round as we basked in the sun and snappedour very last photos of each other. Into the hotel, out for a bite toeat, back for a nap prior to our celebratory dinner and slide showattended by forty-five happy tired folks, dressed in the best sevenweeks camping and stuff bags can muster. But our farewells had already been made as we hugged and congratulated each other on the wharf.

The last three riding days have been full of challenge. The knowledge that the end was nearing and the need to be focused and vigilant was still all important, never left me as I counted off the kms,thanking my lucky stars that this or that vehicle did not run me down.To give the Turkish drivers their due, most were extremely courteous and certainly encouraging, if loud horn tooting and vigorouswaving are any indication, but it only takes one, as it always does, tochange something forever. Fortunately we all arrived without furtherincident, and were also pleased to hear updates about our colleagueswho were injured, especially Neil who is still in hospital in Germanybut expected to return to the US next week.

So here I am at theend of my rest day reports. Eight of us are continuing onto Beijingalong the Silk Route. I am full of admiration. As for my nextadventure, well now, I’ve heard there are some fantastic rides in NorthAmerica…

The last stats…
July18: Kirklarelli to Saray, 76 kms, almost four hours
July 19: Saray to Tayakadin, 90 kms,hot and hill after hill after hill all day long, about five and aquarter hours and then a bush camp! Whose crazy idea was this as we satin a grassy place with no showers or toilets, waiting for the ‘end’.
July 20: Tayakadin to Sariyer, 52 kms, about three hours

Read janice’s blog; Wheels on Fire: Cycling from Paris to Istanbul