Week 19


OK, let’s talk Turkey… I don’t mean fundraising (though it would be good to see more of that…), I mean that country between Bulgaria and Iran that seems to be 10,000 miles across! The peacocks are halfway across, and the wee monkeys and snow leopards are both just south of Istanbul.

I think we all need to know from the wee monkeys what was in those apples they were munching on last week? The new superfood, obviously! On the strength of that wonderful fruit they’ve now zoomed through Istanbul, stopping to look at nothing as far as I can tell, they’ve caught up and passed the snow leopards  and have ended the week about 25 miles ahead of them, overnighting in the port city of Izmit. I hope they at least take time there for a paddle in the sea or a turkish bath!


Izmit has grown into a bustling port city, and holds a strategic position at the head of the Sea of Marmara, where it supports the shipping needs of much of Turkey’s export goods. Though it’s ancient and historic (archaeology dates its foundation back to the 8th century BCE) Izmit is now a pretty modern and industrialised place. It’s important for its freight port, oil refinery and massive paper mill (which provides half of Turkey’s paper) so it doesn’t sound like the kind of place you’d enjoy a stroll along the prom prom prom where the brass bands play tiddle on pom pom

That said, Izmit boasts three museums (you’ve a lot of history to show off when you’re over 3000 years old!) a fun fair, remarkable rock formations on the coast (our featured image at the top of the diary) and a lovely coastal park. So not a bad place to stopover, all in all.

Whirling Dervishes in Istanbul

Those snow leopards, though – a bit distracted by the delights of Istanbul, methinks…  I wonder if they delayed a day or two in the city in order to enjoy something classically Turkish? Who could blame them – I know I’d delay a journey in order to be able to see this particular Turkish delight: the Whirling Dervishes, who dance to get closer to God. Click to get a taste of them.


The peacocks are now high in the mountains and no doubt glad to be in something of a cooler climate for a while at least. They end the week close to the town of  Koyulhisar. With it’s various parks, mosques and museum it seems a nice place to take a break. It’s been a steady climb into the mountains on a long straight road, hugging the Kelkit River, where I guess the peacocks may have stopped to paddle a few times – but no swim suits – modesty, please!

I’m glad that we’re passing this part of Turkey in the summer, as it’s high enough for snow and gets very cold in the winter – it makes me think that the tigers might have to get a move on…!

Chloe and her grand-daughter!

Sorry to say, ‘getting a move on’ might not be the motto of the week for our wonderful tigers. Not a lot of miles clocked this week except by Chloe, so they’re still close to Sankt Pölten, on the way to Vienna. Perhaps the night skies over Austria have been so stunning of late that the tigers have taken a keen interest in the stars, and have spent a few nights observing them at  the Leopold Fig Observatory. Who knew astrophysics was their thing…? Those tigers…!! But hang on… maybe it wasn’t astrophysics that grabbed their fancy. Maybe it was OFFROADING! Yes, that sounds more like our tigers!


I’m really delighted to announce that we have a new member of the thousand mile club. Congratulations to Emma who passed this wonderful milestone this week. like daughter like mother, eh? I should have got Niamh to spill the beans on Emma but looks like I’ve missed my chance. Of course, Niamh, you could always drop some juicy stories in the WhatsApp group! Well done, Emma, you’ve been an inspiration and a driving force behind this whole Chaparda Challenge and we’re all so proud of you and pleased for you to have passed this milestone.

Not only has Emma passed the 1000 mile mark, but her personal fundraising total has passed the £800 mark – £883.76 to be precise. that’s a fabulous amount of money to have raised for World Medicine, Emma. Thank you so so much. All of the money raised this week – over £176 – was contributed by friends and patients of Emma and in all that brings our fundraising total to £1,659.

The total distance covered this week was 384 miles, so a big thank you to everyone.

Sorry I didn’t make the coffee morning on Saturday but by all accounts it was a great success, so could we try for another one in a few weeks?

NADA materials from Phoenix

And how fabulous to see all the donated items from Phoenix for the Refugee Friends Clinic which opens on Wednesday afternoon. We look forward to hearing how the first day went.

So another eventful week passed, and enjoy the week ahead.