Someone had recommended we stop by Bursa to see a green mosque but as we were climbing a hill in a little traffic in the heat the bike stalled it's second time this trip. Embarrased, I had to get off and push it to the side of the road to cool down before it would start again. Each time it's happening it's as I go to release the clutch so I figure it must be related somehow but don't know what.
Pissed off at the bike, the traffic and heat we skipped the mosque and got out on some open roads heading for Kapadokia (Cappadocia) in central Turkey as it was on our way...sort of. It was an opportunity to get away from the coast because as we've come to learn the coast normally means lots of people, lots of traffic and dirty. The ride was pretty uneventful but the scenery was nice.
More clouds coming our way
The Turks have gone beyond being friendly. At one point a guy gave us directions to a bank and we obviously missed the turn cos we couldn't find it so 500 metres down the road as we turned around we saw the same guy getting out of his car yelling at us to turn around and for us to follow him. Feeling like naughty kids for upsetting him he lead us to the bank.
As we travelled south east the rain travelled south west and we were constantly crossing paths with the storm front. With big wide open plains we could see the rain moving towards us so at times we would gas it to beat it or just shrugged it off and cop it sweet. This was one of those moments we could see the rain in the distance but not wanting to sit around and wait for it to pass we dove headfirst towards it. 25 metres before we entered the 'wall of water' we stopped - we could physically see where the rain began. We knew this was going to be horrible - hailstones, side winds, drops of water that felt like hail stones the whole thing...then we passed out the other side of it into sunshine. It's these sort of moments that I love being on the bike, seeing and feeling the elements and being completely at mother natures mercy.
We stopped for our second chai (tea) and the locals refused payment.
This guy invited us in for our third chai. One of the big faux pas is to talk about politics when you first meet someone - bit difficult when the guy is a political refugee that used to live in Oz. Really nice guy thats starting a walnut business.
On the way to Kapadokia we passed some really interesting rock formations near Gulsehir where people have carved stuff into the sandy rocks.
We camped the night amongst the formations.
Possibly the best breakfast ever - baby food that are biscuits that turn to mush, cheerios and a cuppa
The trip to Cappadocia goes through some amazing scenery
And finally Cappadocia, where there are more formations but people actually lived in these dug out caves
We went down a trail looking for more of these foundations
Until the trail became a walking trail but that didn't men it couldn't be done...until the steps started. As we tried to turn around the bike sunk into the wet sand. A tourist happened by and offered to lift it out.
With the bike out and my dignity in tatters we headed back for the main road to take in more great views.
The landscape was so varied, lush green mountains, crazy rock formations, desert, red sandy clay - a bit of everything.
We climbed to the top of the mountains then turned the bike off and coasted for the next 40k's as the road twisted through the valley
Mosques in beautiful locations
Back on the coast of the Black Sea we found a nice spot in the forest out of the way to set up camp. We've learned now not to set up the tent until close to dark and do all our other things in the meantime. Right on dark two Turkish blokes turned up and right next to where we wanted to set up they sat down and starting doing shots of Raki (a clear alcohol). We joined them thinking without light they would move on but they stayed until the fire flies starting dancing around us. By then the bottle of raki had finished and they're actions became unpredictable so we left and found a hotel instead. They were nice though and one of the guys gave me his prayer beads which to me is a pretty big deal.
Turkey absolutely ripped our budget to pieces by £300. We budgeted £30 a day which is pretty unrealistic anyway. Cost of fuel is £1.62 p/l
We entered Georgia mid-day and Patty got hassled a little at the border cos she looks Indian (she's Fijian Indian) - apparently the indians are taking the jobs in Georgia.
First impressions of Georgia were that cows are taking over - they're everywhere! It's not a like a cow on the road is a shock but they are literally everywhere.
Second impression was the locals are really friendly and offered all sorts of advice.
Third impression is they're all bloody mental drivers. At one point on a two lane road we saw a bus overtaking a truck and another 4wd overtaking both the truck and the bus on the shoulder in the gravel with a truck coming the other direction.
We've shat our pants on more than one occasion as buses scream past us then slam on their brakes to get in the two metres of space between us and the car in front.
One of the few lucky insects to survive the wrath of the tiger
A spot by the Black Sea to camp and chill out.
We bribed some dogs with milk to guard us for the night
An old USSR plant
Shishlek. If you're on holidays it's also a rule you grow some type of questionable facial hair. Through South America it was a filthy looking mo-hawk and now it's a porn star mo...Patty loves it.
We're now in Tbilisi so I can prepare and sit these exams. I've taken the covers off the text books and torn out all the extra pages to try reduce weight but they're still 5kg.
I've got itchy feet and just want to get back on the road!