From Silivri it takes 80km to our Hotel in the Center of Istanbul, 40Km of it are in the periphery of the center. The population of Istanbul is about 15 Mio, counted in 2016. Before we started on Sunday moring we checked again the roadmap for alternative routes to the highways with 3-5 lanes (in one direction). We prefer to ride longer with a lower level of adrenalin. We pass a nice park with a restaurant when we see a group of bikers having breakfast. They wave to us and we do not hesitate to stop and join them. It’s really nice to meet some locals, I mean some people that are leaving in Turkey. The biker group had different nationalities: Turkish, Albanian, Bulgarian, Kasachstan… Later we met some of them again when they caught up with us closer to Istanbul.
After our nice rest we continue our ride. The next surpise waits for us: a street at least as steep as the famous one in San Francisco is waiting for us. We manage about 75% of it biking,and then we have to walk. It was just too much. As soon as we stopped a young gentleman has asked if he could help us, if we need drinks or food or anything else, he was really friendly. With shaky legs we managed to get to the top. The closer we got to Istanbul the wider the streets are getting. It needs a lot of concentration with all the crossings and cars and trucks changing the lanes; do they stop, do you get the right way? Who was ever in a traffic jam with his bike on a road with 10 lanes with cars, trucks and buses? We have at least the advantage to go inbetween, but sometimes even we have to stop.
We missed the border of the town, but we realized that we had reached the city because the density of shopping centers increased. We passed new nice parks with bulks of families having their Sunday barbeque. Many of them had brought their carpets to sit on, the grill was partially on the bike path, the doors of the cars were open and the music playing, it was just beautiful to look at.
The last happening for us was just before we arrived at Besiktas in the late afternoon. A Soccer match Besiktas against Fenerbahç was just to take place. Tthe fans were all dressed in the team colours, they were heading towards the stadium in thousands singing, drumming, igniting petards. All these pedestrians blocked the street.
After all we arrived at our hotel directly at the Bosporus close to the bridge that connects Europe and Asia. We still can not believe that we have travelled by bike to Istanbul.