Arriving in style

 I hold on tightly and focus on the narrow white line painted on the road. Cars brush past just inches away. I look for a way to escape, but the double barrier makes this impossible, or if not, more dangerous than keeping going. I pedal on, finally after 3 km there is a gap and I can leave the the motorway, I feel quite relieved. The day started off on a two lane road with plenty of room for me and the trucks, I looked forward to getting to the coast and seeing the sea for the first time. After just a few kilometers the farmland turned to factories and the air became thick with smog from the manufacture of every imaginable product. Chimneys big and small belched smoke in a range of colours, black, brown, white, yellow. This mixed with the every increasing fumes from the traffic to shroud the land in a yellowish blanket. My excitement about the sea vanished as my map told me it should be just 1 or 2 kilometers away, I strained to see it, but nothing. Finally I was able to make out a dark coloured boat on the horizon, but still the water was invisible through the smog. The road eventually reached the sea and the turquoise of the Mediterranean became visible, the factories vanish behind and apartment blocks and seaside hotelssprouted like mushrooms out of the landscape. The 2 lane road grew to 3 then 4, 6, 8 and 10. Horns honked, buses swerved, trucks lumbered, fumes belched, engines rattled, brakes screeched, and I pedaled. All this and my speedometer tells me I'm still more then 30 km from the center of town.
As I board the ferry destined for Asia, Istanbul glows all along the horizon, minarets and domed roofs accent the skyline. The big smile on my face is proof enough that I made it in one piece to this fascinating city.