The German athlete’s plan to cycle his way from his country to Bodrum, a popular holiday district in the western city of Muğla, was originally initiated to raise awareness of the Turkish-German friendship. Ernst was planning to visit his childhood friend Cengiz Mandalinci and spread messages from the two connected cultures along the way.
However, after passing 2,500 kilometers on two wheels to reach Istanbul, Ernst’s trip was interrupted due to the military coup on Sept. 12, 1980. After waiting for one week to be granted permission to continue his journey, Ernst was given a negative answer, and was forced to return to his country.
Twenty-nine years on, now a 68-year-old Ernst is on the road again to complete his journey. The German is expected to be in Bodrum next week, and will be welcomed by Mandalinci.
"We spent our childhood years together," says Mandalinci, a 70-year-old captain in Turgutreis. "It is really exciting for us to meet again, and is nice that he will complete his journey of friendship."