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Orient Express - Paris to Istanbul by Bike: 2013
By Robert Shapiro - (contact)

Durusu-Istanbul: Sprint to the Finish-EFI

Sunday August 25, 2013, 32 miles (51 km) - Total so far: 2,206 miles (3,551 km)

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Sunset over the Bosphorus the night before our last ride.


Our last ride was a short one but as we climbed & descended the Turkish hills toward Istanbul we still managed to have a satisfying if not scenic ride. I again cycled with the usual group of "Spokers". As usual we were trailed by the sweep. In Gokturk we passed a Starbucks but Jimmy would have none of it. Fortunately we found a great local place right after a short but horrendously steep climb. The second climb which fortunately was not as steep but longer soon followed. It was then just an easy ride until we reached the Bosphorus, left along the coast & we had finished the tour.

We had lunch along the waterfront & congratulated each other on a job well done. There were more high fives & hugs than you could imagine.

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I celebrated completing the tour: EFI!!

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There was the ceremonial tossing of helmets, etc.

We took photos & reminisced.

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My wonderful, thoughtful & thoroughly enjoyable honorary Irish brothers Mick & Pat.

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We even had the Irish tanning contest between Liz, Mick & Patrick won by Liz.\

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The last photo of the "Slow Spokes".

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The staff celebrated as well.

Our private ferry arrived & we loaded bikes & bikers for a ride to Istanbul.

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Even the ferry boat was appropriately named Baba which is what my granddaughter Ava calls me.

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The "geriatric" division: Chet & I were responsible for raising the average age of the Orient Express riders.

The scenery was vivid in color & variety as we passed mansions of the Istanbul rich.

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We passed by the Byzantine fortress protecting Istanbul harbour.

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Passing under one of the bridges.

We even passed the president's summer home. We reached our destination after passing under the two bridges connecting Asian to European Istanbul.

The streets around the dock & all the way to the Ortakoy Princess Hotel were packed with humanity, some selling & others buying or avoiding buying. The traffic was a mess. I organized my luggage & headed down to where we left our bikes to disassemble & pack it into the suitcase. This initially was difficult & it took several frustrating hours to finally get the case to where it would close comfortably & also might be closed by a TSA agent who may inspect the bag en route.

We all assembled in the lobby & together walked to the Poisson restaurant by the waterfront for our last communal meal.

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Dinner at Poisson was enjoyable with great food, companionship & a great view of the Bosphorus & people in the square.

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The locals set off huge Chinese lanterns over the Bosphorus.

We were not disappointed with appetizers, main course, beer or wine & dessert.

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The main course was fish; probably some kind of sea bass.

In the process we celebrated Liz's 60th birthday with sparkling wine.

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Sparkling wine to celebrate Liz's 60th.

We also gave out awards to nearly every rider for something unique about them. There were awards for strongest rider (Rick), most birthdays celebrated (Mick who was congratulated for several days in a row after his actual birthday) & many more. I got the "Crazy Guy On A Bike" award for this blog....aw shucks! We had to finish the evening with a walk for ice cream. Tomorrow many of us will leave for different hotels & Jimmy will be flying back to Ottawa. I'll really miss the gang. The comraderie & chemistry of the group was outstanding & we all appreciated the efforts of each & every staff member. A special thanks to my honorary Irish brother, Pat, who graciously allowed me to use his computer after mine imploded. Since I'll have no computer when I move to my new hotel this will be my last post for a while. I'll be doing some sight seeing & shopping in Istanbul before heading home on 8/28. This will give me some time to think of an appropriate ending for this blog. Until then, AU REVOIR.


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"Orient Express - Paris to Istanbul by Bike: 2013" Copyright © 2013-2014 By Robert Shapiro - (contact). All rights reserved.
Page was created on August 25, 2013 23:19 PDT, last updated on August 25, 2013 23:54 PDT
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