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Old 04-09-2012, 07:15 AM   #46
asilindean OP
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Day 8 - Sochi; Sochi – Trabzon - by ferry

In the morning we went to the port to reserve tickets for the ferry. As luck is, we manage to get the last cabin on board. The tickets are reserved at Kassa 5 from port and there is an English speaking lady there. The price for 2 tickets plus the bike was 16.500 Ruble/650 USD, so actually this will be the most expansive night in the trip.

The hotel



Two cats in the morning



View from our room






Kassa 5




We left the hotel and find ourselves a nice terrace near the port with a small shop and an ATM where we spend the rest of the day between drinking coffee, watching people and taking small walks around the area until 6 pm when boarding begin.


Walking in Sochi



Countdown for Olympics



Port building





Where we spend the afternoon



New stickers



Doing nothing



Custom formalities took 2 hours and Tingis (the one mentioned in Colebatch RR ) was there. He was not impressed when I mentioned to him that he is famous in the adventure motorcycling world. He did not asked any money from us for handling the papers.


Waiting to enter the port



The ferry



Tingis



Securing the bike



Bye bye Russia, we will be back



Sochi Port






After securing the bike on the boat, we went to see our cabin: very small with no windows and extremely hot. Still better than nothing, considering that the difference in price between the tickets with a place to sleep and without was very small.
On the ferry we met 2 Russian guys from Moscow going to Antalya for Holiday.
We also had a very long and pleasant conversation with Ildur from Kazan. Top bloke. He was also going in Antalya for holiday. His wife and daughter were waiting for him there since they did not like to long ride by car. We talk a lot about various things while having beers on the deck. He has a night club in Kazan and as a former comedian he had meet President Putin.
The ferry left the harbor around 8 in the evening and arrived in Trabzon around 9 in the morning.
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Old 04-10-2012, 07:40 AM   #47
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Day 9 - Trabzon - Sumella Monastery – Giresun 200 km

Turkish customs – we spend there almost 4 hours for a 5 minute job. We were the last to leave the port. First went all the passengers, then all the cars, then us. They tried to imply that something was missing from my green card. I disagreed. They let us go.

The 2 guys from Moscow


Ildur from Kazan


Waiting in customs


We had a very tasty breakfast in Trabzon center and then took a short walk around the square.








The initial plan was to visit Sumela Monastery and found some accommodation around there. Since here we had all our bookings in advance, since we did not know the schedule of the ferry we did not planned in advance. We were free to stop whenever we wanted. Or, keep riding :)
The road to Sumela was a twisty but good 2 lane road going in the mountains south of Trabzon. Being Sunday the monastery was very crowded but beautiful. The monastery is close to Macka, about 30 km south of Trabzon. From Macka there are another 17 km to the actual site of monastery. Before that you will pass entrance of Altındere National Park (Milli Park) where one must pay a small fee. With the bike you can get as near as a few meters to Sόmela itself, where there is a car-park in front of Hagia Barbara Chapel. Also you have to pay the entrance to the monastery itself.








The position of the monastery is what makes it spectacular; I believed that it would be quite a challenge to enter there without the approval of the defenders.



The story of the monastery is something like this: built in the fourth century, before the Roman Empire split into east and west, by two Athenian priests, Barnabas and Sophronius. The fell into ruin numerous times throughout its history, the best moments of its existence being under Byzantine and Ottoman rule.
The last century was the worst for Sumela. It was abandoned following the chaos and inter-ethnic violence at the end of World War I. In the recent years Turkish government has stepped in to restore and protect the monastery and to turn it into a museum.
















Lots o people and indeed a very humid atmosphere.
When we were about to leave the monastery we met an very nice and helpful tourist guide from Uzungol – Ekrem who give us information about the area. We also met a couple from Greece coming here on a Scooter. Amazing.
Initially we planned to sleep around the Sumela, but being still early and wet, we decided to get back to the coast and find accommodation there. So we ride another 150 km and find a hotel in Giresum for 90 TL. Giresum it’s a very pleasant little town with a fortress up the hill (Kale) and a university. We eat some local fast food (delicious) had a beer on the hill and went to sleep.












A few words on the coastal road from Trabzon to Samsun: It is an excellent 4 lane road with a spectacular view of the sea and of the mountains. It will be part of the Black Sea Costa Road when the ring shall be completed. Not in my life time, but nevertheless.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:39 PM   #48
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When we took the ferry from Trabzon to Sochi a couple of years ago the computers were down on the Turkish side. It took us 8 hours to get processed and on board. Plus the ferry was 8 hours late leaving. No rooms left, so we sort of slept on deck.
Getting into Sochi was only a couple of hours.
Both Trabzon and Sochi were great cities.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:34 AM   #49
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This means we were lucky

Quote:
Originally Posted by LC4Dakar View Post
When we took the ferry from Trabzon to Sochi a couple of years ago the computers were down on the Turkish side. It took us 8 hours to get processed and on board. Plus the ferry was 8 hours late leaving. No rooms left, so we sort of slept on deck.
Getting into Sochi was only a couple of hours.
Both Trabzon and Sochi were great cities.
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Old 01-26-2013, 08:20 AM   #50
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Day 10 – Giresun – Sinop – 360 km

The first 200 km to Samsun were on the good 4 lane coastal road, then it turn into a 2 lane road. In Samsun there are 2 options: one is to take a sort of ring around the city, and the other one is to stay on the coastal road and ride through the city. We took the second option. It was wrong.

Of course the fuel line broke again. Fixit and ride on.
80 km before Sinop the road narrows again for 50 km, and with 20 km left to Sinop it gets good again.
Side stand contact broke so I switched on direct. It is like that ever since.
The road has spectacular views of the Black Sea.

In Sinop we had no reservation and most of the places where full. We find a hotel, a bit expensive (130 lira) with breakfast included.
The legend say that Sinope, daughter of the river god Asopus, outwittedZeus. He wanted to marry her, and promised she could have "anything she wanted." She requested eternal virginity, and Zeus, outwitted, allowed her to enjoy it here on this promontory giving the town its name.

Sinop is known also for the attack of Imperial Russian Navy over the Ottoman fleet in 1853 which was in port there. The "massacre of Sinop" was one of the events precipitat-ing the Crimean War (1853-1854) in which Great Britain and France fought with the Ottoman Empire against the Russian Empire.

Also the Cynic philosopher Diogenes (c. 412-323 BC), who carried around a lantern "looking for a good man" (and not finding one), was born in Sinop.

We visited the Kale and the port and had a less than impressive dinner at Saray restau-rant (supposedly famous for fish dishes). The City is very small and it’s made famous by model wooden boat. You can find then anywhere in the city.





















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Old 01-26-2013, 08:30 AM   #51
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Day 11 – Sinop – Amasra – 330 km

Day 11 – Sinop – Amasra – 330 km

We had an early breakfast on the top floor of our hotel with a nice view of the sea, then we hit the road.



It was a tough ride. The road is theoretically a 2 lane road, but in fact it a one and a half, or just one. It runs close to the sea with endless ups and downs and a very strange surface of the tarmac. Luckily there is no much traffic on the road except some local cars. Still, the ride and the view were spectacular. I took us 8 hours to make the distance of 330 km.

The coastal road mentioned in an earlier post in under construction only until Sinop. There are major road works when one get close to Amasra.

On the way I lost the chain guard as a tribute/souvenir to the Turkish roads. It was shit and expensive and it only confirmed what sambor1965 was saying in an earlier tread here.












We stop for lunch somewhere on the road. Turkish food is delicios.



Nice view





Somebody was tired












We managed in the end to find a room at Amastri Hotel – 300 lira for 3 nights and breakfast. The room was big and clean, but no AC. They have pool and a courtyard for the bikes. We put the bike right in front of our room.

Amasra Sofrasi is the best place to eat in Amasra. We went there every day.



By night

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:34 AM   #52
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Better late than never

Cheers,

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Old 01-26-2013, 09:07 AM   #53
asilindean OP
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Day 12&13 – Amasra



Amasra is indeed as described by various travelers: charming. It has 2 harbors instead of 1, and 2 small islands; one linked to the shore by a bridge (Bόyόk Ada, Big Island) and and Tavsan Adasi (Rabbit Island) and of course a Kale.




Church Mosque was built as a Byzantine church in the 9th century AD. The church is a small chapel and after Fatih Sultan Mehmet conquered Amasra in 1460, it was converted to a mosque. The church mosque was closed to prayer in 1930.





Amasra Castle was built during the Roman period. The walls of the castle were built by the Byzantines. The front walls and gates were built by the Genoese in the 14th and 15th centuries. Though located on a narrow peninsula, a tunnel under the castle leads to a fresh water pool.

















Went to Amasra Museum which chronicles the city's Roman, Byzantine, Genoese, and Ot-toman history.

In the central square, between the two harbors lies Baris Akarsu Monument dedicated to a Turkish rock musician who died in a car accident at a young age.









The night time is the right time


Next day we went for a trip with a boat around the harbors, and at the end of it took a swim right of the boat. Endless jelly fish, but they do no harm. the captain of the boat was a former military from the navy and had stories to tell. he knew little english but his young nephew did the translation.




A nice place to eat play backgammon, have a tea and smoke




All in all we had two relaxing days on the Black Sea shore and it was great.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:15 AM   #54
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Day 14 – Amasra – Istanbul – 460 km

The lazy days were over and it was time to continue with our journey. We woke up really early in the morning to get to Istanbul before the afternoon traffic. We will be there in no time.
Do you know how you make God laugh? You tell him your plans…
So, after we took one nice shot of the sunrise we left.




The route we choose will now take us south, away from the sea in order to try and have a good time to Istanbul. Amasra – Bartin – Gokcebey – Devrek – Mangen – Yenicaga and then the O4 highway to Istanbul.
The stretch between Bartin and Yenicaga is a two lane road, and when we ride there were a lot of road works to upgrade it to a four lane road.










Planning to get there fast, I was not careful enough with the gas consumption and 3.6 km from the gas station I run out of it. It was on the highway and most of the traffic passing by were lories on diesel. Not good.
I was not happy.



I had to options, to get by foot to the gas station and get a bottle of gas and come back or push the bike there. Not feeling good to leave Oana and the bike there I decided to push.
Boy, 3.6 km slightly uphill it’s a long way…
No bike passed us in this time. Finally I got there, filled up and drink a lot of water. Of course 5 minutes later a KTM entered the gas station going also to Istanbul.

The closer you get to the big city the traffic gets denser and the driving more aggressive. From the moment you start seeing the outskirt of the city and until the moment when you cross the bridge in Europe and enter the city center is a long way.

We manage to get there around 2 a cloak, before the big traffic jam and until we entered the small streets of the Old City, we had no problems. There it was a bit of a jam, but after some navigation on small one way streets we got to our hotel. This time we had reservation to a very nice hotel in the Sultanahmet, 5 minutes walking from the Blue Mosque.
Afyter a nap and a shower it was time to eat and discover the city. It was the first time we were there and after that we promise we will return.

We eat on a terrace on the top of a building on the way to the Blue Mosque, then we wonder around the city. Entered Blue Mosque, admired Hagia Sofia in the evening sun, got down to the Bosfor, to the Galata Bridge where we admired the sunset and the local fisherman.

Blue Mosque






Women have to cover themselves


Hagia Sofia







Galata Bridge














We loved the city with the people, the smells of kebab and fish and we simply embraced the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the place.
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:22 AM   #55
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Incredible pictures. Looking forward to the rest of the report (and then the next one ).
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:32 AM   #56
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"Planning to get there fast, I was not careful enough with the gas consumption and 3.6 km from the gas station I run out of it."

Reason you ran out of juice or was your clutch slipping?




Great pics of places I've yet to see after being here for 8 years
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Old 01-27-2013, 09:40 AM   #57
asilindean OP
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,

you have good eyes :)

But no, the odometer is at zero because the cable from the front wheel to the dashboard was broken. I think I mentioned that on Day 6 - Sudak - Feodosia - Kerch.

The clutch is another story yet to come. Hope to see you in June at Doug's.

@ALPINEGUERRILLA: thanks, your reports and pics are also stunning. The next RR will start after I finish this one and as is to be expected it will take a long time to be done :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dickyb View Post
"Planning to get there fast, I was not careful enough with the gas consumption and 3.6 km from the gas station I run out of it."

Reason you ran out of juice or was your clutch slipping?




Great pics of places I've yet to see after being here for 8 years
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:13 AM   #58
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Day 15 – Istanbul

The next day we spend it sight seeing on the European side of the city. First stop was at Binbirdirek Cistern or The Cistern of Philoxeno which is a man-made subterranean reservoir in Istanbul, Sultanahmet district.

There we had the first coffee of the day




Since we had our appetite open for water storage places we moved to Basilica Cistern:






We continued our walk towards Hagia Sofia:



Hagia Sofia



Bridge over Bosporus


Galata Bridge



Topkapi Palace

In the Harem



The Pool for the Sultan's Harem



a bit of rest in the park



The Bazaar





Market around the Bazaar



Wise cats













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Old 09-24-2013, 02:50 AM   #59
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Day 16&17 - Istanbul – Ildievo – Bucharest

The following morning we made for an early start in order to beat the traffic on the way out of Istanbul. The target for the day, the last day of the trip was the same as last year's: Doug's Motocamp in Idilevo, Bulgaria. I like to go there as often as I can, and I especially like to end or start the trips there.
Nice place, lovely people, good beer :)

Getting ready to leave early in the morning:


The way out:




In Bulgaria we crossed Shipka Pass and paid a visit to Buzludzha Monument


Buzludzha is a historical peak in the Central Stara Planinna, Bulgaria and is 1441 metres high. In 1868 it was the place of the final battle between Bulgarians rebels led by Hadji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha and the Turks.

The Buzludzha Monument on the peak was built by the Bulgarian communist regime to commemorate the events in 1891 when the socialists led by Dimitar Blagoev assembled secretly in the area to form an organised socialist movement. It was opened in 1981. No longer maintained by the Bulgarian government, it has fallen into disuse.
Buzludzha is reached by a 12 km side road from the Shipka Pass.





Shipka Pass Monument




We arrive at Doug's Motocamp were Ivo and Poly took great care of us.


The bike is safe. Time for beer :)



Time to change the front wheel bearings:








So that is the end of this year trip.
Around the Black Sea: 18 days, 4200 km, 6 countries and 2 ferries. A great ride, beautiful places, lovely people.


We will come back to Doug's place for the HU Mini Meeting at the end of summer.

Also the next year trip (2012) across Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, Far East Russia to Magadan and back will start and end here. RR soon to come (I'm slow and lazy).
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Old 09-24-2013, 07:39 AM   #60
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Also the next year trip (2012) across Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, Far East Russia to Magadan and back will start and end here. RR soon to come (I'm slow and lazy).
I'm looking forward to read this ride report
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