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Old 10-30-2012, 06:17 AM   #31
shooty13cris
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Hey, i'm from Romania and i need to say that you were on the wrong road ! From Sibiu to Pitesti is not TRANSALPINA, it's just Olt Valley, an usual road ! You missed two of the greatest roads in Europe, you crossed between TRANSALPINA and TRANSFAGARASAN :) Transalpina is road 67C, from Sebes to Novaci , and Transfagarasan is road 7C crossing Fagaras Mountains ! By the way, great ride !!!
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:35 AM   #32
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Hey, i'm from Romania and i need to say that you were on the wrong road ! From Sibiu to Pitesti is not TRANSALPINA, it's just Olt Valley, an usual road ! You missed two of the greatest roads in Europe, you crossed between TRANSALPINA and TRANSFAGARASAN :) Transalpina is road 67C, from Sebes to Novaci , and Transfagarasan is road 7C crossing Fagaras Mountains ! By the way, great ride !!!
HaHa really shooty!!

No wonder we were disappointed

If you read back to the day we were going for the Transalpina and the meeting with Fanni who was the guy on the old John Deere, he convinced us that the way i wanted to go which is the road you are talking about the 67C from Sebes to Novaci was rubbish and we should go Sibiu to Pitesti.

Never mind, it just means i have to come back to Romania now
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Old 10-30-2012, 08:24 AM   #33
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Glad you enjoyed Turkey and the wonderful hospitality of Turkish folk.

Cheers,

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Old 10-30-2012, 10:11 AM   #34
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Glad you enjoyed Turkey and the wonderful hospitality of Turkish folk.

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Thanks Dicky, they were amazing, even in Istanbul which truly shocked me.
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Old 10-30-2012, 10:29 AM   #35
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Day 11 Cide to Goreme, Turkey

We were heading to Goreme today, Al had seen some pictures of the ghost chimneys and made it one of his must see's on the trip.


The view from Al's tent this morning

As we were coming down the steep rocky track that had been so easy to scale last night I must have touched the front brake as the front end tucked up underneath me and threw me over the handlebars. I smashed the screen off and whacked my left leg against a rock.


Ouch

Al helped me lift the bike upright and I managed to get back to the road with no further issues. My leg was a bit sore but as usual the pain had knocked my confidence. I could not forget about falling and for the next few hours I rode like a complete novice, I was wobbling around corners and not looking where I was meant to be looking so I started cutting corners and drifting. It did not help that it started to piss down with rain and when the shiny surface gets wet it also gets slippery.

If I had a low point on the trip then this would have been it.


Another Kebab and the best one yet.

The roads were still good and the scenery was spectacular. I tried to take a few pictures but they don’t give any sense or feeling of what we were actually seeing. This part of the trip really reminded me of Nevada or northern Arizona, gorgeous mountain roads with amazing valleys and peaks. I just wish the rain would bugger off.





We eventually did speed up and I started to get some confidence back. These roads seemed to be less travelled than the coast roads and had a covering of fixed gravel on top. This was a lot grippier than the shiny surface.



We covered about 350 miles today and got to Goreme for about 4pm. We went straight to Dilek Campsite which is in the town centre with hot showers, a swimming pool, WiFi and seemed nice and quiet.



Dilek Campsite


The View from the tent

Looking over the bikes, we realised they needed some serious maintenance and set aside a few hours in the morning to give them the TLC they deserved.



Then it was out for a wander around the town and another kebab or 2.
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Old 10-30-2012, 11:27 AM   #36
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maaaan, I'm really enjoying your trip!!
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:14 PM   #37
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Well i move just west of Berlin next year Bigboy, we can definatley include you in our next plans if you fancy it. We need someone to come along next time to write the report
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:52 PM   #38
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Day 12 Goreme, Turkey

I was up early this morning, not because of the need to go sightseeing or because I wanted to get on with the bike maintenance but because a twatting dog was barking next to my head at 5 o clock! I think it would have been an early start anyway as there was a few hot air balloons overhead.




Al wanted to go off roading on some of the tracks around the town today but my knee was giving me pains similar to someone sticking a sharp pencil in the back of my leg so standing on the pegs of a bike was not going to be possible for me. He was a bit unhappy with me I think but I was more gutted as he was.

We decided on a Turkish breakfast in a local restaurant which consisted of ham, cheese, fresh bread, jelly and an omelette. Very nice. Yet again a random waiter came over and spoke with us for 20 minutes about Goreme. His name was Adnan; he was Iranian and had been exiled from his country. He spoke great English and it turned out he had been in Manchester for a couple of years studying Interior Design but when money became a bit tight he came back to his family in Turkey in the hope they could save enough money in a few years to emigrate to Australia. He gave us a few local knowledge tips about what to see and do and left us to enjoy the food.

We went back to the campsite to start sorting the bikes out, clean the tar off, and check all the fluids. I had to tighten the back brake up and try and sort some wind protection because of the missing screen.


The missing screen

Al was removing the fuel tank to tighten the headbolts that had been removed to fix his oil leak. Maintenance done we locked our kit away, dressed light and headed out on the bikes to see what we could find.

First stop was Kale Girisi which is locally known as a castle, but having been born and bred right next to Caerphilly Castle in Wales I fail to see how this tiny monument warrants that title. See if you can see my issue, one of these photos is taken from my bedroom window in Wales the other is Kiri Castle.





It was pretty impressive mind, even if the scale was a little smaller than I think a castle should be. We walked to the top of the ramparts and could see this was the highest point around and therefore gave some spectacular views.


The view from the top

We did talk some bloke into taking a picture of us right on the top next to the flag and for some reason his girlfriend wanted to get in the photo with us.



From there we rode down to a viewing point overlooking the chimneys, There was loads of tourists with several bus tours arriving the same time as we did. I don’t suppose I should complain about this though as those that came from Istanbul would have sat on a bus for up to 10 hours to see what we were visiting. We sat for about half hour watching the large parties of people and drinking a cold can of coke and noticed not one of them spent any money in the local stalls, not even to buy a drink.




Just a small selection of the views

Al's afternoon was taken up off roading around some of the tracks that local companies take quad bike tours. He came back with a big grin on his face. I had been bored lying by the pool getting some sun with a cold bottle of Efes lager, so was particularly annoyed when he told me had fallen off. You see Al does not fall off very much so when he does it is usually a big one. He even forgot to take a photo for the ride report. I should say Al did get fully kitted up for his off roading, he just never took any photos





After a nasty experience in Morocco Al feels the need to be physically abused by hairy men. Some of you may have heard it called a Hamam. It is an activity where you get naked with another bloke in a steam room and they batter shit out of you with big sticks……. Or that’s what it looks like in my brain anyway. Al was determined to get me in there and had been working on me for days trying to persuade me. The only way I was going in was if he found me a nice blonde female masochist called Kristina who just happened to work in a Hamam in Goreme. It was never going to happen, so Al left me in a pub while he went off to be violated by the local pain giver. I have to say he looked quite relaxed when he returned but so was I, I had drunk 4 bottles of Efes for half the price of his massage.



The view from my pub

We had both OD’d on Kebab since getting to Turkey so I had the chicken pizza and Al went for some Turkish stew on a sizzling platter, why is it whenever you got out for food, whoever you are with gets a much nicer looking plate of food than you.



We went back to the campsite for an early night as we wanted to make a quick getaway in the morning. However there were 2 tents pitched so close to Alan's tent that the material was touching. Andreas, Paul and his girlfriend whose name escapes me had been to a 3 day rave at Lake Van and were in town to support their mate, who was a DJ and playing at Bar-Bera, a local club. They did invite us to join them but as we wanted to leave early kindly declined and sloped off for some kip. If I had realised what was to come I would have gone partying til the early hours.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:13 PM   #39
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Well i move just west of Berlin next year Bigboy, we can definatley include you in our next plans if you fancy it. We need someone to come along next time to write the report
ohh really? that's cool, because I got only cca. 300 km to Berlin
count on me ;)
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #40
Duke63
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Great photos and journey.

Turkey sounds great.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:52 AM   #41
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Thanks Duke


Day 13 Goreme to Side, Turkey



Last night was the worst night's sleep I think I have ever had. Firstly people were up laughing and joking until midnight (how dare they)), then the twatting dog started barking until 2 am, the ravers got back to their tents at 3, someone rattled my tent at 4 asking "do you have a light man?". By this time the dog was at it again and at 5:30 we were attacked by a squadron of hot air balloons who decided to light their afterburners about 10 feet above the top of my tent. Now I remember why I don’t like campsites.






Early morning Baloonists

Today was a sad day, we stop heading East and turn South heading towards the coast. As the name in the title suggests, Cappadocia was to be our Eastern most point.

Our first stop was the Ilhara gorge. Not the most spectacular of gorges I have ever seen but fairly pleasant all the same. As we pulled into the car park (which was free for motorbikes) we spotted a space under the shade of some trees and pulled up. The guy who had waved us in to the car park came over and said in a proper cockney accent "alright geezer, where you from then". His name was Kev; he was from Wimbledon and was over helping his cousin set up a car parking business. Small world eh.




My knee was still grating so Al walked down into the gorge firstly to take a photo or 2 and secondly because the cheapskate did not want to pay the equivalent of 20p to use a toilet.

Pushing on from Ilhara towards Konya on the 300 we could clearly see Mount Hassan with snow still covering the top, it is the second highest mountain in Central Anatolia standing over 3 times higher than Snowdon at 3253m. That is one big hill!!

We got through Konya and headed towards Manavgat on the 695 and everything changed. This road is the best road I have ever ridden. It was continuous 4/5/6 gear bends for about 50 miles. The road surface was perfect, not once did I see any of the shiny black surfaces which litter the roads in this country. The scenery was also something pretty special, not only was I in new favourite country but I now had a new favourite road.




Upon reaching the coast we were again going to try and find a nice secluded beach to camp on for the night, this time there was no chance. This place is tourist central and there were people everywhere. We ended up in a town called Side. There was no way I was getting a hotel but it was going to have to be another campsite and we found one pretty close to the beach called Pensyon Istanbul. It could only be loosely called a campsite because there was only enough room for 2 small tents. A quick walk into and around the town and we saw many familiar sights to those of us that have been on Mediterranean beach holidays, neon signs, lots of boards proclaiming to have the best English breakfast in town, cheap yellow, blue, and purple shots and millions of shops selling tat.





I have spent months in places like this in a previous existence and I don’t particularly enjoy them anymore. But we found a nice looking place down by the harbour, had a few beers and the obligatory kebab and called it an early night.



I just hope we get some sleep tonight.
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Old 10-31-2012, 01:11 PM   #42
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Day 14 Side to Pamakkule, Turkey

I had a great sleep; Al however said there was music thumping from the local pub until about 4 am. I must have just been knackered and just slept through it.

Today we headed West through Antalya and up the route 400 with a view of doing a big loop around the coast road and then heading to the 'salt' mountain at Pamakkule.

The road was described to us as the best road in Turkey by one of the locals we met at breakfast this morning; we would be the judge of that. Heading out of Side there are several shiny black grass topped roundabouts, one of which had just been watered. Al gave it a bit too much throttle on the way out of the corner and had a massive slide through his back wheel. He saved it, but it even slowed him up for a while.

We pulled over for a trip down the Tunisian memory lane and had a breakfast of cake and fizzy pop, lovely.



The route 400 is indeed a very pretty road. The scenery is stunning with the sea to your left and mountains to your right for a good hundred miles or so. I would however not say it was a good motorbike road at the moment. it is in the process of being re layered and the procedure for laying roads in Turkey seems to be spray loads of hot tar all over the road, chuck tonnes of gravel on top and then let the cars using the road push all the stones into the tar. The problem with this is the cars create piles of gravel in the parts of the roads that their wheels don’t touch causing several hair raising moments for a bike riding from the inside to the outside of their lane.

The strangest thing happened today. I had pulled over to take a picture of the huge Turkish flag you see below. All of a sudden I could hear voices behind me, I looked around and there was no one there. I then started to hear voices all around me and it freaked me out a bit so I chucked my camera into a pocket and shot off towards Al who you can just see by the flag….. more on this later.


The flag with Al sat just below it

We stopped for a proper lunch at Kalkan in a small restaurant called Kuru's place. I had a local dish called Kofti in yoghurt, while Al had some sort of meat stew. I was amazed to see that it was all cooked by a Turkish cookery class, who just happened to be 5 lads from England on a stag weekend. I don’t remember the last stag weekend I was on being like that, times are a changing.

When we arrived safely at Denizli and stopped for fuel we were again offered tea and again we graciously accepted. It had gotten quite cold and the tea was a godsend.

About 2 minutes after leaving the garage we were waved over to the side of the road by a policeman who informed us we were speeding. There is no way we were speeding as we were in a queue of traffic, but he said if we paid him 150 Turkish Lira he would let us of. His English was not great so we tried to pretend we did not understand him, then that we had no money on us. No luck and he sent us over to the police car where his boss was waiting to issue us a ticket. it was strange that the only cars waiting here for a ticket were all foreign cars and one guy in particular who drove a car with Bulgarian plates on was really going for the cops. We stood back with a smile on our faces and waited our turn.



The Bulgarian man came over and said in English "Don’t pay them, they are robbing Bast***s!" We had no intention of handing any money over to these 2 but I will be happy to pay if it saves me being arrested next time I am in Turkey.



The policeman who pulled us over came over to admire the bikes and said "I have Yamaha RD350. I ride fast everywhere, but I don’t get ticket. I Traffik". Police everywhere, all the same. (Cue police GSer now calling me a twat:) )

I still have the unpaid ticket as they did not tell us how to pay it, so it is a souvenir in with my insurance and spare keys.

When we pulled into Pamakkule which means ‘Cotton Castle’ in Turkish we practically fell into the salt mountain. Within seconds a nice bloke called Ondar came over and tried to get us to come and stay at his B&B. I was not having any of it but he said we could camp as well. It would be 30 TL for camping or we could have a nice room and breakfast for 40 TL. I took one look at Al "Comfy bed it is then".




We quickly changed into something lighter and took a walk up to the salt. It was at this point we found out it is not salt but a substance called travertine which is a sedimentary rock deposited by the hot springs. The hot springs are created by volcanic activity deep underground and it was an immensely pleasurable experience walking up the side of the site in the hot water.



There are pools everywhere which you can lay in but it was getting dark and pretty cold so we made a beeline for the top and sat there on our own with about a 1000 other tourists watching the sun go down.








This was when Al dropped the bombshell on me, remember I said I had heard voices in my head when I stopped to take the photos of the flag, well out of the blue Al says “you know when you stopped to take the photo of the flag I heard voices all around me and there was nobody there”. I am not a believer in ghost’s or the like and I am sure there is some logical solution but come on, that’s a bit weird…. Isn’t it?

We had enough of Kebabs by this time so it was omelette and chips for me washed down with some ice cold Coke.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:08 AM   #43
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great destination, great bikes, great food. Count me in!
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:16 PM   #44
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great destination, great bikes, great food. Count me in!
Thanks loutre, we are about to shoot for home so stick around for 3 more days and you will see just how it ends.............for now:)
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:56 AM   #45
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Day 15 Pamakkule to Alexandrouopolis, Greece

Funnily enough we had a good night's kip last night, no beer and a comfy bed to sleep on. Breakfast was the good old Turkish affair of ham, cheese, bread, olives and jam. This place was well worth the 15 quid we paid for B&B.


Breakfast

We were shooting for the border with Greece today. Not wanting to fight through Istanbul again we decided to use the Lapseki ferry. It was a long but enjoyable day. We were still on half decent single track roads and as we were following a map not a sat nav we made some errors and ended up seeing things we would otherwise have missed including huge melon fields and their owners and their stalls selling the melons on the side of the road.


Melon Stands


Thousands of ollives drying in the sun

We timed it perfectly for the ferry and arrived seconds before it was due to set sail. it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, and it was a very pleasant sailing other than having to use a drop toilet for the first time, which if im am honest could have done with a little bit of a clean, ie make sure your feet don’t touch any brown bits.




The Ferry

We crossed the border at Ipsala and I am now certain that unless I am intending on stopping in Istanbul this is the way I will come to Turkey next time. I have spent a time in Cyprus and helped control the border between North and South Cyprus in Nicosia. The border crossing always took hours and I have to say I was expecting the same here but it was nothing like that. They looked at my passport, saw it was British and waved me through.



As we were getting to the border I spied a 650 single with British number plates on it. Its owner and rider was a recently retired guy called Barry, who in his own words was spending his retirement money before he dies. We had a good chat and it turns out he was going via Istanbul to meet a friend for a few days before heading to his birthplace in India. Oh to have the time of a retiree.

We were determined to wild camp tonight so made our way up into the hills around Alexandrouopolis and found a secluded spot to pitch the tents.




Al was not feeling to well; he had eaten something a bit dodgy and needed to find a toilet every 10 minutes. He had tried to 'eat through it and take loads of Imodium' for the last few days but that had not worked. so he had been fasting for about 12 hours and was going to push through until tomorrow night before he eats again. Me being a good mate I got my cooker out, sorted a nice big spag bol and sat right in front of him eating it.
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