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Old 09-28-2007, 10:22 AM   #61
Marcin
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Very nice report I enjoyed it alot especially photos from Poland my homeland ZYWIEC
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Old 09-29-2007, 01:34 AM   #62
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Day 19

What a beautiful mornig alone at the beach.
I get up 7-ish and do my morning routine (eat, pack, "optimize traveling weight").
Just when I am in a rather helpless position between the rocks I hear my name calling...
crap! who could that be in the middle of turkey? And with such perfect timing?

Apparently my friend Aleksander had made camp two kms down the very same beach, got up earlier than me passed my bike on the street and called my name...
Well, it is nice to see him again. He took the straight line on the coast whereas I took the detour through the mountains yesterday.

Again, I really am full of respect for his achievement of bicycling 'round the Black Sea.

While I finish getting my bike packed and have my morning swim he goes on. When I finally hit the road half an hour later I meet him 16km down the road. That guy is fast! He would have been even faster if it wasn't for that flat tire that held him up.
We chat for a bit and this time manage to say good bye properly.

Apropos tires: It doesn't cease to amaze me that I didn't have a single flat tire on the whole trip. This is nothing short of a miracle if you look closely at for instance Ukrainian streets: cars lose bolts at all times...noone cleans the streets in towns or cities. I managed to "miss" all street garbage in approx. 9000kms.

I ride on, generally westbound. The landscape is beautiful, the people really friendly.




Tobacco. (I think )




After a fairly long ride by my standards I find a really beautiful campsite near the city of Sinop.
When I have pitched my tent the owner comes to me and talks to me about bikes. He sold his GS a year ago but after hearing the story of my trip he might get himself one again, the wife approving, of course




418kms (Turkish roads are really good)





@scumshine: no, my "little problem" was not really over. I just decided to not give a shit anymore, if you know what I am saying
That particular evening I was really looking forward to my dose of medicine.
I really found living in Turkey rather cheap. But then, I didn't need much. Petrol is expensive, though.

@Baghist: At the end of the trip there will be a photo that was inspired by a posting of yours in the "Tunnel Thread"... wait and see

@Marcin: "sto lat"
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:36 AM   #63
ozzy
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great ride......nicec report...
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:48 AM   #64
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Nice report but....I can't believe you travelled that much through Ukraine and didn't post any pics of Ukrainian hotties!
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:27 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by HighAlpineDrifter
Nice report but....I can't believe you travelled that much through Ukraine and didn't post any pics of Ukrainian hotties!
Ahh well, in ukrainian times I was still in love with that polish girl...
You know, I am one of the abiding guys...even if it was just a phantasy...
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Old 10-01-2007, 01:53 PM   #66
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Day 20

After getting up at around 6 I do my duty to write a couple of postcards...Then my stomach is up to some breakfast...

Packing, swimming and watching the local wildlife are the next steps into the day.

Sea cows.


After chatting with the campsite guy for a while I start riding along the coast. The seascape is just beautiful.


During most of the journey greater navigational skills weren't needed - if the sea is to my right side I am on the right way.


After a couple of kms I do take a little detour into the mountains, though. And it's really worth it. In just a few kms I get to an altitude of ca. 1000m. The road is curvy and really beautiful.


The only thing that kind of gets me down every effin' five minutes is that damn ABS failure alert. It all started going down the drain in Poland on the second day of the trip. Using a bit of thread I was able to repair it till Russia. From then on the blinking of the ABS lamps conditioned me to feel the urge to press the ABS button every five minutes...
Then again, this was the most serious damage of the bike for the whole trip. It, blink, could, blink, have, blink, been, blink, worse, blink...




The road leads me to a high plateau. The heat is almost unbearable but that landscape is something I had never seen before.
I laugh out loud when I see this truck:






All of the people I met were really friendly and nice. I do meet some Anatolian asses though.


It still fascinates me to be in a country with a noticeably different architecture. We "civilised" westerners often think that the culture of places with different buildings is inferior to ours. I don't think so. In terms of friendliness and hospitality we have much to learn yet. (well, I'm speaking for Germans here )


One of the main reasons why I take this mountain route was the medieval town of Safranbolu. My guidebook said that it would be worth it and it was indeed.






Walking through the bazaar I notice a small sign that says "Berber". Well, yes Turkish is almost as easy as English...it means Barber.
I have been bearded for the last 10 years and I'm not the most flexible guy I know. But this has to be tried. I enter the shop and ask the barber to shave me. He nods, walks to the back, gets his "shaving-shirt" on and takes the knive. At first I feel a little uneasy but that's probably just my conservativeness standing in the way of relaxation. When half of my old face is gone and nothing is to be undone I decide to get over my doubts and enjoy the procedure. He is very skilled - I am not. More often than not he corrects my facial expression...well what can I do?
When he is done shaving he applies all sorts of ointments to my new face - some burning, some soothing. A hot towel. Then a little powder and I am ready to go.
The whole experience took well over half an hour and cost only a couple of cents...




Self portrait with the new look. Still sceptic...


So, with optimized aerodynamics I ride on - back to the coast. But somehow I must have miscalculated the distance and when I finally stop it's well after dark. I am close to the rather dirty mining city of Zonguldak and there is no camping possibility to be found. So I just stop on the main road just outside the city and sleep between plastic bottles and cans in the roadside bushes...

470kms
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Old 10-01-2007, 02:03 PM   #67
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you're the man DT

I'm similar trip starting this winter. Your report is helping me out big time in the planning department. Especially grateful for detailed descriptions of border procedures, ferries, etc. I don't know if its feasible but I'm planning on hanging around Crimea for the colder months. Turkey if Crimea too chilly to ride.

I also must thank you for recommending "Everything is Illuminated". Haven't read the book yet but I did find the movie and it was awesome. Book is at top of my list.

Cheers,

John
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Old 10-02-2007, 09:09 AM   #68
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Day 21

When I get up from my smelly quarters of the night I notice that the surroundings are actually pretty pretty


Still, I try to hit the road as quickly as possible. Today is the day for ISTANBUL. I'm really looking forward to this big metropolis. And I'm afraid, too.

It is quite a long way to go but I really want to get there today. Nevertheless I give my steed the well earned rest at km 88888. It has gotten me thus far without major incidents - there were some close calls on my part though. once I even fell asleep for a split second. I learned drifting when one cage didn't yield, had just milimetres between the panniers and other cars in Odessa, dropped the bike once accidentally pressing the start button while trying to put it on the sidestand...despite all these mistakes the bike got me home safely...


It is still 150kms to Istanbul, the road is dragging...or is it me ?


Then everything is going pretty fast. All of a sudden I find myself on a major highway and I'm crossing the Bosporus towards my home continent.


As I do not have a real city map I just ride with the compass. Of course that is a little stressy but I know in which direction the old town is and so I just give it a try...(In the worst case I can still ask a taxi to get me there.)

I don't hav much time to take photos on the way in. You simply got to believe me that I rode straight over a Bazaar. And when this Moloch spits me out on its other side I am right at the Golden Horn. Directly where I wanted to be. I try to find an appropriate hotel asking three questions in a row of hotels. 1st: Do you have a room for me? 2nd: How much is it? 3rd: Do you have a safe space for the bike?
The fifth hotel has the optimal answers: Yes! 28euros breakfast included! Attended parking lot right in front of the reception!

I can really recommend this hotel. The people are friendly, the prices more than fair and it's just 200m away from the Blue Mosque. AMAZING !!!
http://www.besthipodromhotel.com/

This is the view out of my window. The minarets are from the Blue mosque. You can also see the obelisk on the hippodrome.


After a much needed shower I decide to explore the surroundings for a bit in a nice evening walk...
















A couple of hours and 2 Dürüms later I get bach to the hotel and am invited for a tea by the receptionist.
The Turkish people are really friendly. You certainly think that I am not really objective because I said this of all the countries so far...Well, that's because I experienced it in all countries.



346kms

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Old 10-02-2007, 10:44 AM   #69
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What a great report! All these pictures really make me homesick, I haven't had this feeling for a while. Maybe one day I'll be back on a bike...
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:19 AM   #70
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Day 22

ISTANBUL.

After a really delicious breakfast start into a day of sightseeing. I leave the bike where it is and use my feet for a change...what a lazy git I've become...

The first thing, of course, ist the Blue Mosque. Even at nine in the morning it is crowded already. I'm looking for those special spiritual moments that you sometimes have in houses of god - in vain, it is just too loud. But nevertheless it is interesting to see the architecture and the sheer size of the place. Amazing.
Then I go on to the Hagia Sophia. The same lack of mysticism applies here. Or maybe I'm just not in the right mood. Here too, the history and the architecture are really fascinating. The mosaics inside and the craftsmanship of olden times are really worth seeing.

On to the Great Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar. All these smells, colours, people, merchants, carpets, fruit, water pipes, spices...

Over the Galata-Bridge to the newer part of the european side. Galata tower, Taksim square, down to the Bosporus. Very European.

I pass the Dolmabahce Palace and take a ferry to the Asian side. (Yesterday was just too fast). After my third or fourth Kebap of the day and another beautiful mosque I go beack to Europe by ship and walk over the Bazaar once again up to Süleymaniye Mosque. I sit down in the mosque for a bit and it's there: the feeling that we are on this planet for a purpose. My moment of zen for the day. Knowing that such spiritual things are possible, even in buildings that are not really built for me as a christian, is something that lets many feelings of question be replaced by some remote feeling of understanding.

On my way back to the hotel I see two police-GSs. I find the corresponding officers and ask them if they know a place where I can have my ABS fixed. They do and I have a plan for tomorrow. Thanks guys.

After a shower stop in the hotel I find myself a nice little restaurant and have some really nice turkish specialties, the name of which escapes me now...
(The stomach is still not quite all right but it's much better than in the beginning...)

One last time I walk past the Blue Mosque and when I arrive at my hotel it is time for some nie tea with the receptionist and other passersby...

Before long I retire. I must have walked quite some kilometres today.


And now for the visual walk around Istanbul:











































It is impossible to see all there is in just one day but I've got a first impression. What a wonderful city.
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Old 10-03-2007, 01:29 PM   #71
rtwdoug
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Great trip so far!
Im in Bulgaria, & fly home tuesday, but sent you a PM with my #. Please give me a call, & come by for a hot meal or 2, some beers, alot of bullshitting, & a place indoors to sleep!
Also, if you need to do any maintenence, oil change, whatever, I have a garage.

I went to Ukraine & L'viv this summer, and yes, those tram tracks on the cobblestone streets are no fun.
I also got stopped by cops, doing 65 in a 40. I wouldnt have stopped, but he stepped out in the road, right in front of me. He started out wanting 80.00, but I got him down to 10.00
Seems like 10 is a good number to them, they got me for 10 last year also, when I was in Odessa.

And I also was overwhelmed by russian hospitality last year, I spent 2 months crossing Russia on my 48 Indian. It got alot of looks, and everyone wanted a foto of it :)

Oddly enough, Im planning to circle the black sea next summer. Im pretty bummed that I cant go thru Georgia, but like you found out, the borders are closed. I'm really interested in learning the road conditions, as Im gonna do the trip on a 51 Harley panhead, chopped!

Hope we get to meet up
Doug
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:57 PM   #72
ramires
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Quote:
Originally Posted by der_tobe
[IMG]Tag 1.jpg[/IMG]
Next time when you will drive throught the Poland near Silesia (motorway A4 near Gliwice) i invite you for

:)
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:56 AM   #73
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Day 23

One last civilized shower after breakfast and a last look out of the window and off I am.


The bike is packed and I take the fast lane west. I'm headed to the city of Avcilar. That's where the BMW service center is supposed to be - at least that's what the police officers told me yesterday. After some guesswork and some asking for the way and some serious case of losing the way altogether I finally manage to find the huge BMW dealership.
I pass the front gate only to find that basically all of the employees are on holidays...but the luck of the traveller is with me: There is Suphi Aydiner of the management and he speaks perfectly German. And he knows where to find the man who is responsible for motorcycle repairs...
My bike is plugged to the diagnosis computer. The result: my ABS is broken.
"Tell me news" I think. Well, there is nothing they can do for me. Obviously some type of plunger is stuck in the ABS unit. "Hmmm. Let's make an ABS self-test." OK.
I swear that I didn't know till then that a BMW could make such a nasty noise. Result: my ABS is broken.
"Oh we forgot to reset the fault memory". Well, what can I say. That was it!!! Everything is back to normal.
(I haven't had a failure since - EXCELLENT WORK !!! THANKS.)

And you know what?! They didn't even take money, they just said: "We are happy we could help."
That was at http://www.borusanoto.com/

With the bike in order I ride on. Main direction: Bulgaria. My frequent stops tell me inderectly that something in me doesn't want to leave Turkey just as yet. I really enjoyed the country, the people, the big city, the food (slowly again) everything. I must come back here one day.



The border formalities are quick and easy and after 10 minutes I am entering the EU again.

I ride towards the Black Sea once again and I'm positively surprised by the road conditions in Bulgaria.


When I finally arrive at the sea I find a nice sandy campsite on the beach and make a really stupid mistake: As soon as I leave the street and enter the sandy terrain of the beach my back wheel digs itself into the sand hub-deep. Not having knobbies I have to ask some people to help me out of this embarrassing situation. Well, I've learned my Tobe vs. Sand lesson that day.






340kms

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Old 10-04-2007, 11:05 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramires
Next time when you will drive throught the Poland near Silesia (motorway A4 near Gliwice) i invite you for

:)
Thanks a lot. I might even take you up on this.
From what I've experienced Poland is much underestimated on the BEER-WORLD-MAP.

They really have some fine beverages.

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Old 10-04-2007, 11:41 AM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by der_tobe
Thanks a lot. I might even take you up on this.
From what I've experienced Poland is much underestimated on the BEER-WORLD-MAP.

They really have some fine beverages.

o yes! :)

U tasted the Zywiec, but there is a more than 8 good others kind of polish beer and once of the best is Tyskie (you should know that) or Okocim :)
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