Turkey, Greece

to Göreme, Cappadocia

From Trabzon I haded to Sivas, about 480 km. In the beginning it was still warm but once I climbed up into the mountains and got on the high plateau it was getting colder. I noticed that my righthand heated grip had stopped working so I had only one hand that was nice and comfy. I got to Sivas at around 16:00. The hotel was at a gasstation so the bike got stored in the Michelin Tire workshop.

The route:

Some pictures from the ride up there:

Somewhere during the night I twisted my neck or something because when I woke up this morning I could hardly turn my head. That made driving a little tricky but I did not have to do so much km’s today. I put on some extra layers of clothes so I was a bit warmer. The road and views where pretty similar to yesterday until you come to Göreme.

The route:

And the first glimpse of Cappadocia:

 

I will stay here for 3 nights and visit some of the canyons by bike and/or foot. Tomorrow I will go to the open air museum of Göreme and to the underground city of Kaymakli.

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Cappadocia day 1

This morning I went to the underground city of Kaymakli. It is quite impressive and not for the claustrophobic’s as some of the tunnels are really narrow and tight. At some point I felt a bit uncomfortable thinking about what would happen if the electricity would fail.

It was really busy and at some point a girl started to panic a bit due to the narrow tunnels. After spending about 30 minutes down there even I was happy to be back outside again.  After that I took the twisty roads and haded for some of the valley’s.

Then I went back to Göreme, left the bike at the hotel and went to the open air museum.

The route:

Driving around in this area makes you feel alienated from your own planet. It is weird and overwhelming.

More to come tomorrow…………

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Cappadocia day 2

Göreme by night:

This morning I woke up at the crack of dawn, even before the local Imam was ready for the early morning prayer, to make some nice photos:

But in order to make those pics I had to get in one of these:

Our balloon:

And off we went:

So close but I could not touch the rocks:

After we landed and I got back at the hotel I wanted to get some more sleep but my neighbours had other plans…. the girl got torn apart and screamed/moaned like crazy. So I went for breakfast and got the bike ready for some more exploring.

The route:

The Imam just did his prayer again so he will be calm for a few hours and I hope the neighbours will be out a bit more so that I can get a nap.

Cheers

 

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To the Mediterranean sea

Petrol in very expensive in Turkey so I tend to make a lot of Km’s on the days I travel and then stay only in places I want to visit something. So the last few days have been 6 ½ hours / 450 km a day to get from one place to another. I had to make one stopover somewhere on the coast at Tasucu.

The hotel was just 5 meters from the beach and the temperature was about 28 deg when I arrived.

The route:

The sunset:

The next day I planned to go to Olympos and that mend a 500 km trip to get there. Along the way I met Ben from Australia on a F800GS also heading for Olympos. We decided to travel there together. I had booked a cabin at a tree house lodge and got the GPS coordinates of the place in my TomTom but on arrival we had entered the ruins of the ancient city of Olympos on our bikes.

The route:

It was a long day and we were both exhausted when we finally got to the lodge. There was a campfire going and we kind of had a beer to many. Ben’s intention was to leave the next day as he is on a tight schedule to get to Istanbul. But it was raining the next morning and we both had a hangover he decided to stay an extra day. The afternoon we went to see the ruins by daylight.

The lodge:

The ruins:

The day after we moved on to Marmaris just as a stopover again as we both want to get to Efes and see the ruins. It was a great ride today. The roads are just amazing.

 

The place we stayed in Marmaris was weird. The bungalow we had was cold and the place was in a state of decay. But at least the food was OK and the bikes were safe.

More about Efes soon.

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Efes or Ephesus

From Marmaris we went to Selcuk a short ride this time we got there at around noon. We found a hostel and had some lunch.

The route:

After that we went to see the ruins of Efes (or Ephesus)

Koreans do not seem to be very impressed by the ruins instead the all stand in a  position and then get there photo taken sometimes even in groups:

And these Russians where having a toilet brake:

Back at the hostel we were aloud to park the bikes inside the premises:

Me and Ben:

I decided to stay an extra day here in order for me to plan my way back up in some more detail. I sent an E-mail to my biker friends in Istanbul and should be arriving there the 14th of November. If possible I will have another beer with Ben there. I hope some bike shop there can help me with the still leaking front-fork which got damaged while removing the old seal. And I need to have a look at the broken heated grip. Tomorrow I will go to Ayvalik and then on to Mudanya and maybe get the ferry to Istanbul from there.

 

 

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Made it to Istanbul

In Selcuk Ben and I saw this Bulgarian bike standing outside the a hotel the night before. We had bought some beer so we sat next to it for a while in hope to meet the person riding it. But he or she never showed. I passed and waited a bit twice more but no luck.

After a day of planing and relaxing a bit it was time for me to move on as well. I left the next morning and went to Ayvalik. It is quite a nice city and has a Greek flavour. There are many small streets with shops and it is easy to get lost. On arrival I found out that the USB connector in the GPS logger had come loose. I tried to fix it in a TV repair shop but only to some avail. I was able to charge the thing again but could not download the stored data anymore.

The next day I went to Termal a small village underneath Yalova. The ride over there was cold and I had to put my wintergloves on. That was the first time during the whole trip that I was that cold.

TomTom could not help me much here. But I found the hotel and I could park the bike on the hotels terrace.

Termal was a strange place to me. It was the first time nobody, apart from some guy at the hotel, spoke any English or German. The place was full with hotels but the menu’s, sign’s, etc where in Turkish and in Arabic. Normally I do not pay attention so much but here it was the first time I saw woman warning burka’s. In a shop I was even asked if I was Muslim before he told me how much I would have to pay him. As if the price would depend on my answer. In the room there was an arrow on the ceiling and at first I wandered what it was for but I soon realised it was pointing to Mecca of course. I slept great but had a ferry to catch and overslept a bit so I had to hurry as the guys we met in Georgia would be waiting for me in Istanbul.

Once at the other side Mustafa picked me up.

And then brought me to the Touratech shop to get my bike sorted:

The guys did a great job and fixed my heated grip, replaced bought rubbers and got the fork done. They did not have the seal in stock but luckily I still had a spare. The removed the scrapings and filled the fork with proper fork oil.

Thank you guys I am a lot more comfortable with both hands warm and knowing the fork is OK again.

There adress:

Touratech Turkey

Sahrayı Cedit Mh.
Cami Sokak, 34734 Istanbul, Turkey
‎Tel: +90 216 360 3263

That night we went to a bike gathering.

 My sticker

Today I got the grand tour of the major sights in Istanbul and as soon as time allows I will share the pictures with you but now I am off for more crazy-dodging-traffic-at-high-speeds-riding through Istanbul.

Cheers

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Istanbul

I left Europe on the 26th of September and yesterday I set foot on her again after 51 days. Ali, my guide for the day, and I took a ferry from the Asian side to the european side.

First stop was the New Mosque wich by surprice I was allowed to enter.

The mozaiques and details are beautiful and it wasa nice place to be in. I have no clue as what those signs in Arabic mean, Mohamed can you help me out here?

Then we went to the spice bazar and the grand bazar.

It was still very early and somewhat quieter then normal I imagine.

We then moved on to the Blue Mosque:

Due to the crouds I did not stay so long it is a beutiful building though.

This sign was inside and made me feel a bit weird:

I do not want to offend anybody I would have taken the same picture if it would have been in the Notre Dame de Paris. But I think it would take a bit more then lets say 20 to 30 minutes to understand any religion, right? It made me feel as if any religion could be understood with just a few minutes with a specialist. If that is true then why are we fighting so much about it. Within each religion, against an other or what ever.

After that we went to the Aya Sofya.

Some Christian leftovers:

Then we went to the Topkapi Palace Museum. You are not allowed to take pictures in a lot of the rooms but they have some nice stuff on display there.

Then we went underground to this weird place where if understood correctly they kept water.

There are two shorter pillars that have a big square piece of rock underneath it with the head of Medusa carved in it. The weird thing is one is upside down and the other on its side. It is believed that this is done on purpose as the rock they are carved in is not from around Istanbul.

We went back to the Asian side and got my bike and got it washed. It deserved the extra care.

I contacted Ben but unfortunately he had no time to meet up again. I wish him all the best and a safe trip back to Australia.

Today I got to ride a big BMW R1200RT back to the BMW dealer here in Istanbul. They needed an extra driver. Al went fine but I was a bit worried though as motorcycles are pretty expensive here. The rest of the day has been uneventful the only other thing I did was clean the airfilter. That was a bit overdue and was indeed necessary. I will stay another day in Istanbul and then leave for Greece on Sunday.

 

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Website trouble

Made it to Greece and I am now in Thessaloniki. All is fine with me but I am having some website issues. I will post more as soon as I can.

Cheers

 

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Back in Europe, Wolsly made it to Greece

Istanbul was great I met some lovely people and had some good conversations about religion, world economics and what not. I was surprised how green Istanbul was. There is really a lot of trees and bushes around even though there are about 20 million people living there. I even got me a new GPS logger, it was quite expensive but it does a lot more then the one I had.

A special thanks goes out to Osman for hosting me for 4 nights, to Mustafa for all the help and Ali for showing me around.

My host and his girlfriend:

But it was time to move on and Sunday I left for Greece. I spend the night in Alexandroupolis.

The route:

I made it to Thessaloniki yesterday where I will stay for 2 nights.

The route:

Last evening I went out for a drink and some food and I just had the most expensive beer since I left home about 70 days ago. Zoom in on the pic:

Lets just say it is my support in boosting the Greek economics…….

The last few days have been somewhat low on pictures the only thing I got is this pic of me and the bike while riding.

Anyway I am happy to be back in Greece again. I selected the “avoid highway” option on the TomTom again and the road was great. The temperature is somewhat dropping and when I wanted to use my fixed heated grips again the right hand one did not work at all and the left one burnt my index-finger at first, burned a hole in the new rubber grip and then failed as well. This is getting annoying, I spend €40,- for new rubbers and probably need to cut them to pieces in order to fix the heaters again.

I combined all the gps logs again and drew the missing part in there:

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Polygyros,Pyrgadikia and Polykastro

In Thessaloniki I found these baby’s:

Until I get my heated grips sorted this will at least make a big difference, if not even make it better. It does not look that fancy though.

 I left Thessaoniki at around 08:30 and it would be about a 1 ½ hour drive to Pyrgadikia. It was raining in Thessaloniki so I got to ware my Oempa Loempa outfit again. Once near the cost the weather started to clear a bit.

Somehow that day was an off-day. The memory of my camera was full and it did not tell me that. I made a lot of pictures but only a few where actually stored. My new GPS-logger thingy did not connect to any satellites during the whole trip down to Pyrgadikia so now track was stored. And since they had a storm the night before there was now electricity in the village.

Anyhow the place has changed quite a bit. Also behind the beach. I had a walk on the beach, the valley at the end and the freshwater spring. It was all still there and felt familiar but it was different. Maybe because it has been 19 years since I have been here. Once back in town it was time for lunch and it seemed that only one place was still open. I had a frappe, some souvlaki and Choriatiki. Some guy sitting at an other table started talking to me. It was a nice surprise as his English was very good  and had the same passion for motorcycles and traveling as I have. When I told him that we used to spend a lot of time with the Drostinakis family. Janis told me that Panos was in town and helping out with collecting the olives. So after dinner he showed me where there house was. I did remember that it was up the hill but not much more than that. On our way up there Panos and his father passed us with there car. So I got to spend some time with them. It is amazing how the universe plays this kind of jokes/games. I mean Panos lives in Hamburg, Germany. The day that I show up in this small town, about 3000 km’s from both our homes, we get to meet and it turns out to be his birthday too.

So again Happy Birthday Panos.

But as I had someone waiting for me in Polygyros and the sun would set soon I had to move on.

On my way out of town:

Spot the sticker!!!

And the sunset:

The route:

I met up with John and his family in there house and we went out for a drink. While telling him and some of his friends about my trip and showing them some pictures I found out that a lot of pictures from Pyrgadikia got lost. The next morning after a very good sleep and a lovely breakfast we shared some more stories and he showed me some pictures of his travels. Then we went back to Pyrgadikia to get some pictures.

The beach:

Now that we were not alone we parked the bikes on the beach:

 

The NO CAMPING sign is still there:

The restaurant were we used to eat sometimes:

The freshwater spring and the valley in the back:

John:

He then should me some beautiful places around Chalkidiki on our way back.

We had some lunch and soon after that we parted ways as I had to get to Polykastro and he had to get back home.

Thank you again me friend and if you are ever in/near Holland let me know.

So I got to Polykastro around 16:00 and called my long lost friend Christos.

The route:

He came to pick me up and brought me to his parents house. It was wonderful to meet them again after so many years.

They have a few apartments for rent above there house, one of them is empty and is now my home for a few days. After some catching up we went to see his wife Dina and 3 children, Dimitrios, Eleftheria and Penelope. That evening me and Christos went out for some beers as we had a lot more to catch up on.

More to come soon

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Some of John’s pictures

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Last days in Greece

On Sunday I moved on to Ioannina. It was somewhat a boring ride until I hit the mountains.

The only downside where the clouds and the fog.

I have some mixed feelings about Greece. It was great meeting all those people from my youth and I will not wait another 20 years to see my friend Christos again. But the crisis is overwhelming. I know I alone can not change things so I understand the radicalisation but violence is never the answer. Our governments need to man up and a lot of “high placed” people need to take responsibility for there actions. I do not have the answers but I wish I could do something to help.

The route:

The next morning Albania…

 

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