Across Continents

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Asia Minor

I was hopelessly lost. I’d been in Asia for about ten minutes. The problem was two-fold. Firstly, I’d disembarked from the ferry further south than planned, largely because one of the ship’s officers had explained that the northern tip was a ’Forbidden Zone’. This had been news to me, but I suppose that was the point. Military hush hush… The second reason for getting lost was much more familiar. The map. Big on scale, small on detail. But much worse than normal. Couldn’t find a single road sign that married up.

Asking passers-by wasn’t a huge help. My destination – Sile – was so far away that, in all probability, any road would lead there. Eventually. I’d resorted to using a compass and sticking to roads that looked like they might be going somewhere. To make matters worse, none of the road signs, of which there were quite a few, included distances, or even the number of the road you were actually on. It began to drizzle.

A few hours later, the rain by now fairly heavy, I stumbled across a more substantial road. I’d still no real idea where I was. There were two choices. Left or right. I chose the first. Northward. And downhill. I could at least cover some distance and, with a fair bit of luck, find somewhere that actually featured on my map.

Catching the odd glimpse of what I hoped was the Black Sea, I suddenly came across a sign for Sile. I’d a suspicion this was the scenic route, slow and ambling, not quite I’d have wished for with three hours of daylight left. But at least it was going in the right direction. I ploughed on, progress thwarted occasionally by road diversions, a funeral cortege, deep muddy potholes, and general uncertainty at each and every fork in the road.

As the light faded I was still feeling my way along what had become the coast road. The odd village, the better looking properties holiday homes I thought, otherwise nothing. Steep climbs and cautious descents. Slow, tedious progress. The few people I’d seen had all indicated it was still some way to Sile, and they’d all been as confused by my map as I was. And then I encountered a German speaker. ’Autobaun’ he said, pointing up a road off to the left. This sounded plausible, encouraging, so I took his advice, quickly finding myself on the D-20 dual carriage way that ran east, loosely following the Black Sea coast.

It’d been dark for a while, the rain heavy but the traffic light. I was still uncertain as to where exactly I was, but confident nevertheless I was heading towards Sile. And then a petrol station. Decided to stop and ask for directions. Must have looked pretty bedraggled. The two attendants insisted I join them and have some warm tea. A more welcome offer I could not have imagined. They explained there was a small pension about four kilometres further on, drawing me a small map so I’d not miss it. I thanked them profusely for their kindness, returning to the road for the final push to find shelter for the night.


One response to “Asia Minor”

  1. Colin says:

    Looking for Sile while still being closely attached to Emma, naughty Ken. Ha Ha.Colin,

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