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Old 05-21-2013, 05:10 AM   #946
Dickyb OP
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...........Johnny had never seen a tortoise in the flesh (or shell). This cheeky chappy obliged






The happy couple







Leaving the upper pastures behind







It was time to head down and home for dinner








A great day with great company. All the best for your future travels Johnny


Cheers,


Dickyb

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Old 05-24-2013, 08:20 AM   #947
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Taming Tigers in Turkey........

Now some folk have been wondering where the author of this thread

VIA MEDITERRA - The journey around the Med with an HP2

had got to. Well, he's been busy taming Tigers here in Turkey







"Oi, ride it like you stole it!"








"That'll do nicely"








"Dirty it up a bit too while you're at it!"






..............................


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Old 05-24-2013, 09:04 AM   #948
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Ah ! Here he is !
And Die Fräulein ?
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Old 05-24-2013, 10:59 AM   #949
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kktos View Post
Ah ! Here he is !
And Die Fräulein ?

She will be along shortly







.....................
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Old 05-26-2013, 05:49 AM   #950
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.................Dirk was in town to do what he does best







Diana was in town to do some modelling, shooting and off roading













on her big Beemer



















Cheers,


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Old 07-16-2013, 04:42 AM   #951
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"Bless me father for I have sinned...................."

Felt a bit of a confessional thing coming on after years of enjoying myself on the sun kissed Med coast of Turkey. Popped into a mosque and tried to remember how the chant went. "Bless me father for I have sinned it has been more than a day or two since my last confession..........."

"Nay lad, nay," muttered an angelic voice in a thick Yorkshire accent. "Take theeself to a proper church, one with a big steeple with walls hewn out of solid rock and big f..k off wooden beams. Once there prostrate thyself and make amends to the big lad. While your at it, take Cluj that stuffed dalmatian pup on a pilgrimage to the town of his spawning. Oh, and peace be with you my son."

And so it came to pass that we mounted our noble steed with Cluj strapped safely to the Mrs and headed off in search of redemption

Muffin saw us off the premises






Alas, the road to redemption was not to be all plain sailing. Well it might have been were we mounted in a boat rather than on two wheels. A mighty storm hindered progress. Petrol stations provided agnostic sanctuary






Our first stop in Christian lands was Idilevo in Bulgaria. Home of RTWDougs Motocamp. We took the road less travelled








"Hey, let's follow the little folk 'cos we know the big chap looks after children!"







Nope, seems as though they worship false gods powered by petrol around these parts







Now I am more than capable of finding my version of heaven and spiritual completeness on two wheels. The Mrs is less shallow and craved the smell of incense "Let's plough a furrow onwards and upwards" suggested she. So off we went in the general direction of Rila taking in the Troyan pass







Lake Batak







and another lake







and another one! Crikey, Bulgaria has a Lake District







Eventually managed to find some holy water







which made the Mrs look all blurry. Two flowers in one shot







Anyway, enough time to repent tomorrow at the Rila monastery


The following day dawned, always a relief. Time to seek forgiveness











Impressive, in many respects













Though Cluj was a tad nervous of the men in black







To calm the little chap down we took a cable car up Rila mountain passed the seven lakes where he could meet one of his own







Didn't seem to do him, or the Mrs, much good though








Little lad seemed much happier on the way back down.






Bulgaria, a land of contrasts, got to love the place

Next stop Transylvania and more churches than you can shake a prayer book at!


................................

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Old 07-16-2013, 07:39 AM   #952
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great update as always
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:12 AM   #953
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..........Now if you like churches on steroids the Saxon villages in Transylvania are the places to go. Got to cross the Transalpina pass first though. Cluj prepares to do a runner while the Mrs is not looking








Now, a bit of history courtesy of Wikipedia " The Saxon villages of Transylvania appeared in the twelfth century when the Kings of Hungary settled German colonists in the area. They had a special status among nations in the province and their civilisation managed to survive and thrive, forming a very strong community of farmers, artisans and merchants. Being situated in a region constantly under the threat of the Ottoman and Tatar invasions, they built fortifications of different sizes. The most important towns were fully fortified, and the smaller communities created fortifications centered around the church, where they added defensive towers and storehouses to keep their most valuable goods and to help them withstand long sieges." One of the smaller towns was Cristian near Sibiu








Gotta just love these places. This one was looked after by a cuddly blonde haired, blue eyed matriarch of advancing years. There was no doubting her German lineage or her dedication to her cause


How do Romanians go to church?







Just kidding, this chap was probably off to toil in the surrounding fields. A climb up to the clock tower yielded stunning views of the town and the land beyond













Whilst those without a head for heights took refuge from the 35 deg C heat







Bubbly gal went on to explain that the streets of Cristian were a stork nursery Apparently the storks are rounded up (somehow) in Autumn and ushered into massive greenhouses where they are fed over winter and then released again in Spring. They re-occupy their old nests and get on with the business of raising the next generation








Just along the road we trundled into the UNESCO listed town of Biertan







dominated by it's fortified church













The fortified churches provided sanctuary to the inhabitants of the villages whenever the 'orrible Ottomans or terrible Tatars felt the urge for a bit of raping and pillaging. Each church had at least one, often three, surrounding walls with towers strategically placed along them







Praising the big lad above was an arduous affair with the negotiation of a stairway hacked out of the local forest







More industrial carpentry was required to support the roof of the bell tower













Whilst inside the church more subtle carpentry was employed













Whatever one's religious persuasion it is hard not to be moved by the size of the buildings and the skill employed in their construction



Next stop Sighisoara.


Rolling up at the hotel we expected the "No room at the inn" treatment". Instead we got a "In my father's house there are many mansions and you can have one for 50 bucks a night!" greeting






There are plenty of sights to see in Sigy. This one cost me three Hail Mary's and two Our Father's from the Mrs








For anyone with an interest in photography the place really becomes interesting as the sun goes down























A magical place


Next stop, Maramures and the Merry Cemetery

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Old 07-18-2013, 03:07 AM   #954
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.........Now if you want to go out with a giggle the Merry Cemetery at Sapanta, on the Ukranian border, is the place for you















A young chap singing "Bestiality is best, boys."?









There is, however, tragedy among the humour









For a little village the inhabitants were a racy bunch. Her attractions were her downfall








Cluj's instincts took over causing him to gaze at the last round up









But the grim bloke wielding the scythe has no respect. In the end even the chronicler gets chronicled







We arrived at the cemetery on day one of a three day religious holiday celebrating the Holy Trinity. Locals arrived in traditional dress








To hear the priest conduct mass









The priest chanted, the choir responded. We weren't the only ones to hear the voices of angels that morning







Next stop, the wooden churches...............................

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Old 07-21-2013, 01:35 PM   #955
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..........We left Sapanta with souls sedated and rolled through pastoral countryside







to the monastery at Barsana








Exquisite architecture, beautifully landscaped









The monks accommodation was non too ropey either













The wooden church on site is typical of many that can be seen in more humble settings in local villages













The monastery failed to soothe my soul in the way that the Merry Cemetery did. Divinity meets Disneyland! Pay to get in, pay to take photographs, pay extra to take video. Don't walk on the grass, don't cross the rope barricades, don't attempt to engage with the scowling monks and if you don't want any of your religious beliefs shattered then don't for one minute make comparisons between the privileged position the occupants of this fortress of faith enjoy and the less salubrious surroundings of the local villagers, the ones doing the graft, toiling in the fields and wearing smiles instead of frowns. Time to head off and see how a tin or two of paint can transform a place of worship. Off to Bucovina on the back roads



"Hey Cluj, why the long face?" "Nice hat by the way"








"Oh, I see "









Better head for the pass, The Prislop Pass which connects Maramures to Bucovina , sharpish!








Phew, what a view








Next stop, the painted monasteries of Suceava








....................................
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:19 AM   #956
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......Off to Humor to see if the nuns have a sense of humour. "You got any bad habits, luv?" "Only the one I'm wearing, sweetie!"








Turns out the nun was a novice nun who had a few more years of poverty, chastity and obedience to go before she became a fully fledged soul sister. Now since the age of 10 I've had a healthy contempt for black robed, mothball smelling sisters of mercy when one of them, disguised as a teacher at my infant school, nearly brought me prematurely closer to my maker by knocking seven bells out of me, almost impaling my head on a coat hook. And all for "accidentally" knocking a glass of water over Mary Kelly's watercolour which looked set to beat my pathetic entry for the weekly class painting competition!



Anyway, all that self denial can't be good for a healthy woman. If the eyes are indeed the windows of the soul the harm done is plain to see as the years advance














Well, unlike shallow bloke here, at least they have their beliefs and novice nun was charming and extremely helpful. When asked why the monks and nuns replied with a grunt when asked a question she went on to explain that they were probably observing a vow of silence, something the Mrs has never attempted. Ouch!"



Humor monastery is famous for it's exterior frescoes dating from 1535 and predominantly red in colour













Humor also has the most impressive interior frescoes










The monastery at Voronet is renowned for the blue colour used in it's exterior frescoes. Built in 1488 by Stefan the Great the exterior walls were painted in 1547








The church of the Voronet monastery is considered "The Sistine Chapel of the Orient" for the great fresco covering the whole western wall: The Last Judgement










While Jesse's Tree covers the southern wall,











The monasteries were indeed beautiful to behold but little Cluj was getting more than a tad homesick so it was time for him to go home. Heading out of Suceava to Bistrita through pointy-toothed bloke's stomping ground









the heavens opened and we got soaked to the skin. When the rain finally stopped there was only one way to get dry, speed up and get a blow dry.............with the inevitable result









The guy who stopped us looked at our Turkish number plate and waved us on. His pal, sat in the car, was having none of it . For twenty minutes he shuffled my docs from one hand to the other and eventually wrote out a ticket for 54kph in a 50kph zone. Strange what goes through the mind when stood in a roaring gale, wind chill steadily lowering your core temperature, watching a large bellied bloke trying to decipher UK driving licence codes whilst his mate turns the car heater up. "Um, wonder if his pistol is loaded." Head shot, belly shot, what's my best shot?" Fortunately the shelter from the wind offered by his partly opened door, which I'd jammed open with my right thigh in order to catch some warmth, paid off. My delirium wore off and with my stock of "Good will to all men" positively overflowing as a result of over exposure to religion I blessed him, his family and his worn out Dacia and promptly f.....ed off



Three hours later we got Cluj home









Next stop. The House of Fun..............Hunedoara



.........................
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Old 07-25-2013, 06:49 AM   #957
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............ Happy Hunedoara, home to the House of Fun







Situated on the edge of a grim steel mining town Hunyadi castle is an imposing edifice where Vlad Dracul, father of Vlad Dracula was once imprisoned. If you are suffering from an abundance of mirth, merriment and good humour a tour round the torture chambers will soon change your mood
















Now Vlad the Impaler, by all accounts, was not a particularly hospitable chap. He was well known for the punishment that he adopted, the impalement, this is the reason why he was named Tepes, which means The Impaler. The method of impaling criminals and enemies and raising them aloft in the town square for all to see is associated with his ruthless image. Almost any crime, from lying and stealing to killing, could be punished by impalement. Vlad the Impaler used various means of torturing including, cutting of limbs, blinding, strangulation, burning, cutting off noses and ears, mutilation of sexual organs, scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to wild animals and boiling alive. Death by impalement was slow and painful. Victims sometimes endured for hours or days. Vlad the Impaler often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns. The most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles in the outskirts of the city that was his target. The height of the spear indicated the rank of the victim. The decaying corpses were often left up for months.









What a grim old place










After witnessing various forms of Romania hospitality we were filled with trepidation. We were due to spend the weekend with a Romanian. Would we have to provide our own spears?



"AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" Who zat?










Turns out the man behind the mask was Adrian Silindean, author of Black Sea Tour 2011 - 2up on a Transalp and general all round good egg. Adrian took us back to his place and showed us the sights of his home town Timisoara




















Timisoara is where the 1989 revolution kicked off in Romania. Other notable notes include it being the first city in Europe to have electric street lamps (1884) and the second to introduce horse-drawn trams (1867). More importantly, to us anyway, there was to be a motorcross meet the following day.



Juliet stayed at Adrian's and plucked her nails and polished her eyebrows, or whatever women do to pamper themselves. We met up with Adrian's mate Gelu. Gelu checked that he still had two wheels and that the elastic band he uses for a chain was in imminent danger of falling off it's sprocket. ( I walk my dogs with tighter chains )










The riders were good
















Bet those dudes couldn't ride a twenty year old Transalp to Vladivostok and back and live to sing about it though Thank God!










Impressed the locals though









Anyway, the roaming Romanian was all revved up after watching the motorcross and managed to blag a go on Gelu's KTM.










"Incoming









Phew!









After a couple of hours of hooliganism it was time for three sweat soaked smelly blokes to retire to the local ice cream parlour. Angelina was between film roles, apparently








Next stop.....................Home!

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Old 07-25-2013, 11:01 PM   #958
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wow, more good stuff.....


awesome.
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Old 07-26-2013, 11:28 AM   #959
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Thanks DCrider and NSFW. Didn't know anybody followed this nonsense

Cheers,


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Old 07-31-2013, 09:38 AM   #960
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Wish I could come to Turkey and follow you in person Did a trip to Turkey in Jan '08, loved it, hit the usual tourist spots but given it was winter we had much of it to ourselves, do hope to get back some day and see the eastern part.
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