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Old 11-02-2014, 07:18 AM   #1
blacktiger OP
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: St.Leonards on Sea, England.
Oddometer: 3,565
Adventures of blacktiger. To Turkey & Greece.

ADVENTURES OF BLACKTIGER (and Don) TO TURKEY

A friend of mine, Don is a history buff and suggested that we should go and look around all the ancient sights/sites in Turkey. It would make an epic ride down and back.
So, as he’s useless at planning anything it was down to me to come up with a plan. I looked at various options to get us there and various option to get us back. As always there had to be some compromises. This is how it went:-

20SEP14
Get up at stupid O’clock to catch the 05:20 shuttle train under the Channel. Don get’s there 5 minutes before me. All goes smoothly.


Get straight onto the motorway and head to Munich. A long and boring ride split into 2 hour stints @ about 150 miles apart for fuel stops.
The day goes surprisingly quickly and we’re in Munich by 17:30 and booked into the Das Hotel. Yes, it really is called that. Hotel has a neat stacking car parking system.


Receptionist asks if we’re going to the Octoberfest. It’s the first day. No!!! We’ve got to ride tomorrow. L
Go for a walk towards the Olympic park but it’s too far to see anything. Call into a decent looking bar on the way back and have some nice dark “Fransishaner Weissbeir” and some grub.



21SEP14
Up quite early and tuck into breaky. Get moving about 8am and head towards Berchtesgaden and the Eagles Nest. Get tangled up with lots of Beer Festival floats on the way out.


The City centre is closed off to traffic so can’t navigate our route and have to make it up as we fight our way out.
Get hit by a sharp shower of rain on the way out of Munich but decide not to don the waterproofs as it doesn’t look that bad.
We decide to ride some of the Deutsche Alpenstrasse. After a while I remember why I wasn’t too impressed with it in 1998. Too many towns to ride through and too much traffic. You can’t get going.
Arrive at hotel Zum Turkem at 13:30. Book in and walk to the bus terminal to get the bus up to the Eagles Nest. Get caught in a heavy downpour on the way. Cloudy and wet at the top but the sun is trying to poke through.



Have a Wurst to eat and a “Hofbrau Dunkel.


Back down to the hotel and watch some TV to try and get the weather forecast. Wet wet wet. Sank a couple of “Berchtesgadener Dunkel” beers.


Walk to the Intercontinental Hotel for evening meal.


Very POSH and quite expensive. Nice Bison Burger.

22SEP14
Peeing with rain this morning. Ride right through Austria only stopping for fuel. Discover that my new boots are not waterproof and both feet are wet.
Get into Hungary and the weather starts to brighten up.


By the time we get to the Hotel Marina Park, it‘s nice and sunny. Still cold though because there’s been a strong wind from the north with us all the way so far.



Take a walk back to the main road and the Hotel is all alone with just boats in the marina for company so we have to eat in the hotel. Don does manage to throw his Nicotine puffer into the lake.
Desparate man!!!!!


Hahahahahahaha! Did I laugh, ever? Non smoker me.
Had some Demon beer when we got back.


23SEP14
Up for breaky nice and early. Get going at 07:40. Sky clear and temps cold but at least the roads are drying out. Roads not too bad quality in Hungary but when we get into Romania they turn to cr@p. And to make matters worse, there’s road works every few miles which makes progress very slow.
The drivers are lunatics and just ignore the speed limits and no overtaking along the roadworks. So, when in Rome etc.!!!
We fight on but then one of the roads towards the end of the day turns to dirt. With it being so wet, we think twice and turn back and decide to stay in Deva instead of Albu Lulia.


24SEP14
Today is the Transalpina pass day. It starts fine and dry but cold again. It is about 60 miles to the bottom of the pass proper. We find some very nice roads with good tarmac on the way.
We just start up the pass and notice that the tops of the mountains look white.


Oh well, press on. We’ve come this far.
Well, it turned colder and colder. We rode into the cloud and temps dropped to freezing and there was ice and slush on the road at the top.


I waved down a car driver coming the other way and he said it didn’t get any worse. So we pressed on and took it steady. Epic ride.


As we dropped down we emerged into bright sunshine and the view to the south was into infinity.



The roads dried off and we could start scratching around the bends and get some warmth into the tyres.


Rode across the plain of what remained of Romania and crossed into Bulgaria at about 17:00.


Found a nice new hotel, the Teodora Palace and booked in. Beer only Eurofizz. Food OK though.


25SEP14
Bright and clear this morning.


Temps 5C cold! Breaky rubbish. Left at 8ish. Route took us down some wonderful roads. Nice views and surprisingly hilly/mountainous.



Warmed up slowly as we went south. Was about 20C as we approached the Turkish border. Got there at about 3pm. Bought insurance for the bike and made our way through customs. Took all of 30 minutes as there wasn’t any queue. We had read that it can take a couple of hours.
Rode on into Edirne


and the route took us straight to the Edirne Park Hotel. Secure parking and easy to book in.
Showered and changed and went to explore the town. Not many sights but lots of people walking about.



Sat and had a coffee and an ice cream and people watched for about an hour.



Walked some more and found an interesting looking place to eat. It was food.


Back to the hotel to write this journal up to this point. 21:20. Early night.

26SEP14
Up, had breakfast and left by 9am. Headed for Gallipoli. Took some back roads to break up the boredom and one turned to dirt which was fine until I came round a tight corner and threw the bike into a washed out gully.


2mph so no damage. Just to help matters it started spotting with rain.
We passed over the Ergene bridge which is one of the longest multi arched bridges in the world.



I had routed us around the west of the Gallipoli peninsular. The heavens opened whilst on the smallest, slipperiest back lanes. On with the waterproofs and they were to stay on for the rest of the day.
Splashed our way around the sights and memorials of the Gallipoli conflict in the first world war.









Onwards to Kilitbahir to get a ferry across the Marmara Denizi to Canakkale where we searched for a non existent hotel shown on the satnav. After 20 minutes riding round in circles we decided that money was no object and booked into the Akol 4 star hotel on the sea front. They said €100 for both of us incl. breakfast. Parking under cover in a shed out the back.



We were quite early so we sat in the café next to the hotel and had a couple of Efes Dark. 6.0% and very nice for a fizzy beer.
Went for a walk around town as the rain had eased. Still very cold. They have a silly wooden horse on the quayside.



The pride of Turkish motorcycling. Look at the wheels on that.


Had some sort of Doner Kebap to eat. OK.
Back to the hotel for a couple more beers and off to bed.

27SEP14
Good breakfast and stuffed ourselves. On the road by 9am again. Cold and damp but we went without waterproofs as the forecast was for improving weather.
First sight is Troy today. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy Tried to find a viewpoint across the Marmara Denizi straights but it was a “forbidden area”.
Oh well, on to Troy (25Tl.) and a walk around the ruins. Quite a size for them days. No wooden horse to be seen apart from a really crap one near the entrance!






Once that was done it was onwards to Pergamon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pergamon on main roads and a bit of motorway [Toll, automatic so not paid] Pergamon is on top if a great big hill.


The twatnav guided us through all the smallest, tiny back streets of Bergama before putting us on the spiral road up to the ruins.
30Tl to get in. Brilliant place and well worth all the miles to get there. The views from up there were stunning.





Back down the hill and once again the twatnav took us down the narrow back streets to get to the main road. We made it to Selcuk which is 2 miles from Ephesus. Large street market blocking our route to our chosen hotel (not booked) so we hunted the back streets and found the Canberra Hotel. Very welcoming. Room basic but OK. 100Tl. = £33.
Found modern, clean looking place to eat and pigged out on the Kebaps.

28SEP14
Got up to cloudy skies again. Will the weather ever brighten up? Although, the cool temps are ideal for walking around the ruins.
Ephesus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephesus was 35Tl to get in and was quite a walk around. We got there when only the early risers were about. Just as we got to the Library of Celsus http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Celsus the Chinese mob started to arrive.



We rode off from there at about10:30.
The next sight to see was Pamukkale and Hierapolis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierapolis just to the north of Denizli. All main roads and quite boring. Quite cold also but the rain held off. We arrived there at 15:30ish and got stuck in walking around the ruins and looking at the huge Travertine outcrops. Really a sight to see and worth the 35Tl entry fee.



Photos done we decided to try to get a hotel in the Pamukkale town. So we rode back down to the main street and stopped to check the GPS. Over came a man who went into his sales spiel. It sounded OK so we ended up down a couple of back streets in “The Dolphin Hotel”. 60Tl (£20) for both of us, incl. breakfast. It’ll be OK when it’s finished. But to be honest, at that price who cares?
Food for the evening was an authentic Kebap.

29SEP14
Awake at 07:30 but had arranged breaky for 8:30~9. Went down anyway and the owners were tucking into their grub so they dished up ours as well. Finished and on the road at 08:45.
Went up to take a photo of the Travertine with the morning sun shining on it.


Oludeniz and a day off was the destination today. Only about 160 miles. Mostly boring roads again but then we had to go over some mountains and got up to about 4600ft with some nice twisty roads. Very cold though and down to about 8C. Those roads were in the process of being “improved”. That means taking out all the nice twisties and ploughing the road straight through the hills. The Twatnav showed us in the middle of nowhere several times on the new road.
We could see the blue sky ahead of us so we pressed on and we started to drop down towards the coast.


Well, the sun came out and the temps climbed to 30C within a few miles. Phew! Heat at last.
Did a ride around and decided on the Oludeniz Hotel 3*. 40Tl each per night for our own room. Two nights booked in.


Once the bags were off the bike, did some maintenance like chain tension and general check over. The chain needed 4 flats on the screw after 2800 miles. Oil at the top mark but I had slightly over filled it before I left. Tyre pressures at 34F/32R from 36/36.

Showered and went for a walk around. Very touristy with loads of Brits baking themselves in the sun.


Found some Efes Dark and Efes Malt. Had a couple with a sort of sarny. Don had Satay Chicken.
Back to hotel to write this and now ready for another attack on the town.

30SEP14
Day off. Lazing and strolling around the town. Watching the crazy paragliders descend from the heights to land on the sea front, very nearly skittling the people strolling along minding their own business.


Weather’s beautiful now. Easily around 30C.
Walked along to the Lagoon. 6Tl to get in. Very nice if you want to lay in the sun all day. Got ripped off for an ice cream.


Walked back to town for beer. Food, coffee, beer. Repeat.



01OCT14
Lazy start for breakfast. Checked the map to see if there were any additional sights to see along the route to Bodrum. There were a couple. Also, the chap at the hotel recommended a scenic beach to look at near Dalaman. Cleared the room and got riding about 9am.
First thing was that beach and involved riding past Dalaman airport. Surrounded with watch towers and blokes with guns. Anyway, the beach wasn’t much. Took a few photos and left.





The next sight was Thera but we couldn’t find it as there were no tourist brown signs anywhere. Carry on to the next one and missed that as well. No signs.
Took some small back roads along the coast towards Bodrum. Really quite pleasant with the lovely smell of hot pines.



So we arrived into Bodrum with no hotel booked. Rode straight down to the marina/dock/port. A quick look around and there was the Gurup Hotel right on the marina side. How much?? 200Tl/night for a double for me. Don had his own single for 125Tl. Well it’s convenient for the ferry to Kos. Or so we thought.

So booked in and showered we took a stroll along the front looking for a likely place to eat. Diamond restaurant. Well, we ate well but the bill was a bit more than we expected. Won’t do that again.

02OCT14
Another day off today. Woke up and drew the curtains back. My bike had a guard cat overnight.

Looks like he’s been sleeping on the job though. Good advert for AirHawk seats.


Breakfast was outside on the pavement. Turkish breakfasts consist of some bread, tomato, cucumber, hard boiled egg, some bits of cheese, jam & coffee. A bit strange.
So today we decided to check the ferry booking. Walked along to the office where Don had booked the crossing online. Already a large queue of tourists wanting to go on day trips. Had a coffee in a café/bar nearby and waited for the crowd to dissipate. Went into the ferry office and showed the print out. Got a reply; “sorry we can’t get you to Kos. Our ferry is broken waiting a mechanic”. What? Now what do we do? “You have to go around the other side of the port and book a crossing with Turkish Sealines“.
Right, off we go. A long hot walk through the back streets and along the front to the other place. Closed! Argh!
See someone in the next booth and knock on the window. “Hello, can anyone help us with tickets to Kos?”
“Next booth.”
“No-one in there.”
“Should be, Hang on.”
Seems they were out back having a coffee break. Tickets booked for two people and two bikes on the 9am ferry. “See you tomorrow at 8am.” That means no breakfast. No loss really.
Back to town to explore the back streets. Find a likely looking place to have some lunch. Really nice Kebab meat for a snack. They even have Wifi so got a check-in on Farcebook. Decide to go back later for evening grub.
Walk right to the west end of the Marina. Wow, some big expensive Yachts moored up. POSH shops in a little precinct. Nice views of the Castle.





I think all the cats here have jobs:-
Door cat.


Store security cat.


03OCT14
Up at 7am without having got much sleep. Booming disco music somewhere until 3am! Couldn’t put in earplugs as I wouldn’t hear the alarm. Argh!
Rode off to the dock and checked in. “Have to wait at a gate up the road and a man will come along and let you in.”
Right, wait until 08:30 and no man in sight. I go back to the terminal and ask the girl at passport control. Where the man is. “I don’t know” is all I get. I walk off slightly frustrated. Back to the gate and an Italian registered Jag X-Type ahs turned up as well. Wait some more.
About 08:40 the man appears. My guess is that he’s the only one and had to see everyone off the ferry before letting us in to get on the ferry. Ride the bikes to the ferry ramp and get stopped.


“You must go to Passport control now.” Why couldn’t we have done that while we were waiting at the gate? Argh!
Can we board now? No, have to wait for the customs man. Argh! Eventually with about 3 minutes to go he appears and asks us to open one pannier each. “OK you can go now.” Argh!


The crossing was uneventful except when a faster ferry overtook us and we were ask to go and hold down the bikes because the wake might knock then over.


Off the ferry on Kos and we’re herded into a fenced compound. Looks like we’ve got to go to passport control. Long queue now because we’ve been beaten to it by all the foot passengers. Luckily, most of them are Turkish and there’s an EU citizens line which has us through in no time. However, now we have to wait for the customs man again. Argh!


Italian man in Jaaaaag comes back and is let out of the compound. “Can we go also?”
“No, you must wait for the customs man.” Argh!
Still don’t know how the Italian Jag man got out so quickly. We waited for another ¾ hour before we were called into a little office to have our details taken and were then let out of the compound.
Getting into the EU, Kos, took so long our planned ride around Kos had to be cut short. We started as planned and my route wound its way up into the hills on some lovely roads. We came across a small Taverna and stopped for cold drink (local Lemon drink, lovely) and toasted sandwich. That hit the spot.
Carried on with the route and took a short cut which gained us two hours. According to my research there are some Volcanic springs in the mountains somewhere and my route should take us there. We wound up a dirt track which got quite lumpy and rocky and steep and had some magnificent views to the north across the sea back to Turkey and some other islands.




Well, as we started to come back down from the 1500m we had climbed to, the route to the springs turned sharp right and was blocked by a large gate into an industrial/farm complex. Argh! I looked at the Garmin and there was a way around on another track. So off we went only to find that it was too tricky to attempt on the Tigers.
We decided to give up the search for the springs and go back to Kos town for something to eat. On the way we came across an ancient site of some Roman baths half way up the hillside with fantastic views.


Found a place to eat not too far from the dock where our overnight ferry to Athens was to dock.


Sat there until about 5pm when we rode around to the check-in, got our tickets and waited some more.
Ferry eventually turned up just after dark and it was absolute chaos with foot passengers all making a B line for the ferry with lorries and cars still getting off. We just sat back a laughed at it all.
We were called up and even then it was still chaos . We had to fight our way onto the ferry and were guided up a ramp to the upper deck. Left the bikes untied and hoped that someone would do the job for us as we couldn’t see any ropes or tie-downs. Up to reception to get our cabin number and key. 8203 and a nice man showed us to the wrong cabin. Well done mate! We’ll find it ourselves. Shower and change and into the bar for a McFarlands, Irish red beer and a snack before bed. Ear plugs in and get some kip.

04OCT14
Arrived in Pireaus and disembarqued straight on to the motorway west which turns out to be a toll and you have to keep stopping every 15 miles or so to pay another toll. Argh!
Anyway we made our way to our first bit of fun which was to ride some WRC Acropolis rally stages. The first one starting near Klinea took us up a winding track, quite fast in places but we couldn’t take any liberties because we both had panniers on the bikes. It ended right beside the ancient city of Mycene. We declined to pay the entry fee because it’s not that impressive after the sights we’d seen in Turkey.
So, onwards to the next stage near Kefalan which took us through some really nice countryside. Also had some really lumpy sections. We now know why they call the Acropolis rally “the car breaker”.
The third and final rally stage between Ano Trikala and Gkoura took us so high we went up into the clouds.

After that bit of fun we made our way to Olympia through some stunning countryside.


Getting to the site of the original games at 5pm we checked when they closed the gates. 6pm was the answer. We check hotels on the satnav and saw a Best Western listed and it seemed to be away from the town centre so we headed to that. Pretty smart hotel but quite cheap we thought at €50 for a room each incl. breakfast.
Having showered we headed to the buffet restaurant to be greeted by a party of Americans trying to learn Greek dancing. Very amusing. Suitably stuffed with food we sank a few beers and went to bed.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:19 AM   #2
blacktiger OP
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Joined: Nov 2005
Location: St.Leonards on Sea, England.
Oddometer: 3,565
Continued

05OCT14
Up for breakfast and on to see the Olympia site. Not much there really for your €6 entry.
Original stadium.



Some nice roads down to Ancient Messini.




It started to rain before we left Messini. By the time we got to Sparta we were soaked. Don thought he wanted a coffee but I couldn’t be bothered to sit anywhere with all my wet kit all wet. So we found the statue of Leonidas, took a few photos


and carried on towards Nafplio where we did have a coffee as the rain had eased and we were drying out.



After that it was an easy ride to Loutraki and our planned overnight stop. To get to the town we had to cross the Korinthou canal which had a unique sinking bridge which we saw in action.





Hotel Mantas just off the sea front saw us booked in for the night. A walk along the seafront and we found a chef outside his restaurant and he convinced us that it was the place to eat. Quite a good Pizza. Found some beer called Brink’s which was quite nice.



06OCT14
The day started a bit overcast and chilly. We got going and rode through more stunning countryside with the clouds looking a bit threatening.




Onwards to the Sparta 300 memorial at Thermopylae. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Thermopylae

Should be renamed Thermopylon with all the electricity pylons in the background spoiling the views.

That done we set off again towards our goal of Karpenisi overnight. However, just as we got to the turning that would take us across country towards it, just south of Lamia, the sky turned nasty again and large spots of rain started to fall. So we decided to head into Lamia and find an Hotel. I had stayed at Hotel America in 2011 so we plotted a route to that. We arrived dry as we had beaten the cloud into town. The same guy that greeted me in 2011 came out to greet us again and recognized me. Booked in with a room each as it was quite cheap.
When I emerged from the shower the heavens had opened. Thunder and lightening and great rivers of rain water were flowing down the street outside. Wow, that was a good decision to abandon our planned route.
After about an hour the rain stopped and we headed into town for a look around and food. Found a place that served Pork Kebabs. You’ve gotta love Greece. Fantastic. Suitably stuffed it was beer O’clock. Amstel Bock was the best find.


07OCT14
Having not gone to Karpenisi we needed a new route to take us to the Meteora Monasteries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora As the roads were still wet we went by main road north through Karditsa. An uneventful ride with us hoping that the sun would break through. It didn’t but the views were quite clear.


These Monasteries have been built on top of quite unique rock formations. The photos don’t do it justice.



Not being religious types we didn’t visit any of the Monasteries themselves. Some looked like it would be quite a hike to get to. Instead we made our way along enough twisty roads to satisfy most, to the port of Igoumenitsa where we had a ferry booked to Bari, Italy. Our ferry was due to depart at 12:30am next day. Yes, that’s half past midnight. We arrived in Igoumenitsa at 13:40 so we had an awful lot of time to kill.
First job was to get our ferry tickets from the office at the terminal. Quite quick and painless once we found the right hole in the wall. Then we sat in the terminal and had a couple of coffees and a bun. We then wasted 30 minutes by starting to walk into town. Half way there the sun broke through the gloom and it became rather warm. So we decided it was too far and turned around to get the bikes and ride instead. Along the main drag there’s an large island separating the two lanes of the road with restaurants on it. We sat in the one that looked busiest and ordered a beer.

Then something to eat. Then another beer. Then a coffee. Than another beer. Seems like a lot of beer but we were sat there for nearly four hours watching the world go by!


Eventually it was time to go to the ferry port. Long queues to get through customs but we joined the throngs of people at jetty #5.


Milling around doing nothing for another couple of hours. A ferry turned up at the allotted time and docked at another jetty. Have they sent us to the wrong one? No. It was late and so was ours. I remember a similar thing in 2011.
Eventually it turned up.


They sent us so far down into the depths of the boat, down slippery painted ramps, we were down with the bilge pumps . Thanks a bunch. And guess what? No lifts up to the cabin levels. Thanks again. So it was just a tooth brush to carry as we were to get straight back into our riding kit in the morning. Into the bar for a Pastis51 and off to bed.

08OCT14
Next morning Don woke me. He was gobsmaked that I hadn’t heard the wake up call over the Tannoy as it was so loud. Good earplugs those Oxford Moldex ones.
On emerging from the darkness the weather was bright and clear with the Italian coast in view.


The ferry didn’t dock until 10am and seem to take ages to get into port. Then we had to find our way out of the docks. Not as easy as it sounds. We were directed waaaaay over to the north east gate. At least it gave time for the satnav to get a location. That location showed us a long way from the day’s route. So now I had to find a way back to route. Well, a few wrong turns and U turns found the right road which took us due west to Paestum. Paestum is a well preserved Greek ruins some 47 miles south of Pompeii.





An impressive site/sight.
Having ticked that off we made our way to Pompeii. We were directed to Camping Zeus by a taxi driver, which had cabins/rooms for rent. We booked in a room each and it was OK. Just OK for €30 each. But it was only 300 yards from one of the entrances into the Pompeii ruins.
Food and beer and bed.

09OCT14
Last night we both set the alarms on our phones for 07:00 so that we could pack up our kit and get to the gates of Pompeii at the 08:00 opening. Well, what we hadn’t realized is that our phones were still on Greek time so we both emerged at 06:00! Doh!
Well, at least that gave us plenty of time to hunt down some breakfast. Found a place opposite the gates just opening up.
So we queued up, alone, outside the gates. Alone until about quarter to, when the first coach arrived. We made sure we were at the middle of the gates so that we’d be first through. There’s no such thing as queuing abroad. So the gates were unlocked and I promptly dropped a €10 note on the ground and was swamped by the crowd. Then the cashiers weren’t ready. Then, it turns out, they don’t have a cash float so you have to have the right money. Strewth! €11 entry caused some chaos. Fortunately Don had a couple of Euros and we were in.
Pompeii. Everyone knows about it so here’s a few photos.
If this starts smoking, RUN!!!

Vesuvius always lurking in the background.

How many carts does it take to wear these grooves into granite? Clever stepping stones to cross the road.

Preserved wall painting.


After an hour we’d had enough and the place was filling fast with tourists and it was getting difficult to get any photos without a crowd of people in them. So we headed back to our digs to book out and get on the road north.
Getting away from Pompeii was a pain. We took the road around the north of Vesuvius. The traffic was horrendous and the road quality was also horrendous. It took us about an hour to break free from the traffic and into the Italian countryside. Through towns like Marigliano, Maddaloni & Piedimonte Matese which launched us up into the beautiful hills and mountains 75 miles due north of Pompeii. The Parco Regionale Del Matese, Parco Nazionale D'Abruzzo and Parco Regionale Sirente-Velino are all stunning.
Once again photos don’t do it justice. This whole area was a very peasant surprise to me.






The last part of the day was main road which got us to Bolsena lake. We had nothing booked so asked at the fuel for a three star hotel and were directed to Hotel Zodiaco which had it’s own courtyard to park the bikes. We were the only guests. A nice modern room.
Out to dinner and a proper Pizza was in order. We happened across this place.


And I have to say I had the best Pizza I’ve ever had.


When we’d finished the food they put this on the table as a freebie.


A chocolate liqueur which was very strange but quite moreish. Nice. Before bed I planned a route through the hilly bits towards Pisa. I slept well.

10OCT14
Up for breakfast at 07:00 and on the road by 07:45. The weather, however, wasn’t playing ball this morning. It was cold and overcast with the cloud base lower than the higher hills so we decided to give the hills a miss. Of course, about 10 miles after my planned route turned into the hills the sun broke through. Argh! We stuck with the main roads hoping that it would cover the miles quicker. I think it was a swings and roundabouts thing where there was more traffic on the main roads slowing things down but the hills route would be slower twisty roads. Who knows?
We stopped for fuel just east of Pisa because we were going to hit the Autostrade up to Cuneo. Anyone who has ever tried to ride the coast road north from Pisa to Genova knows how long it takes. Beautiful but it take forever.
So onto the motorway and the boredom that brings. At least the sun was shining….for now. Well as we approached Genova a large cloud loomed in the distance. In and out of the tunnels we went. That cloud getting ever closer. In one gap between tunnels I noticed that the small streams running down the valley were in full flow. “Had some rain here”, I thought.
Went into quite a long tunnel and when we emerged it was raining stair rods and the roads were awash. I was soaked to the skin within 10 seconds. Into another tunnel, relief. Out into stair rods again. Tunnel, relief. Stair rods. Tunnel. It went on like that for quite a while. I didn’t think it was worth stopping to put on the waterproofs because, well, it was too late.
It was a pretty serious storm with reports of flooding and loss of life in Genova.
After taking the Ventimiglia turning I could see clear sky ahead. I couldn’t however see Don behind me. Unable to stop anywhere I reduced speed to let him catch up. That didn’t happen so I concluded that he had missed the Ventimiglia turning in the traffic chaos and had ended up in the middle of Genova. So I carried on. When the rain stopped it got warmer so I unzipped every vent I had in my kit in the hope that the wind would dry me out. That worked to some degree but I had to turn inland at Savona which also took me higher in altitude and colder air. I zipped up again to stop me freezing.
I got off the Autostrade earlier than planned because I need fuel (down to the last 30 miles) and needed to warm up. I found fuel just north of Mondovi. Had a coffee and changed my shirt from the thin warm weather one that was soaked, to my warm, fleecy Paramo Trail shirt. The route took me over the Colle della Madellena so I also put on my waterproof top to take out the wind chill.
10 miles after the fuel stop my satnav turned itself off. Turned it back on but it turned off again a minute later. Blast! Oh well it must have got water in somewhere. I took it off the cradle in the hope that it would dry out. At least at this stage The Col was signposted and there’s only one road to follow once on it.
Almost as soon as I had crossed into France the sun made a welcome return and the roads dried out. I could have some fun again and speeds increased. I couldn’t remember where the original route went so I decided to head for Gap which would have plenty of choice of hotels. I took the road south of Lac de Serre-Ponçon and decided to try the satnav again. It stayed on but then I saw that the original route went up to Briancon. Oh well, it’s getting late so I carried on to Gap and booked into the Ibis on Boulevard Georges Pompidou. Free underground parking for bikes as I was greeted with “We like bikers” from the attractive girl at reception. Ha, dream on mate.
As soon as I settled into my room, I checked my phone and there was a message from Don. He’d been involved in an accident. Not serious but two cars had collided right in front of him in the rainy chaos. It took him 20 minutes to escape and get going again. He was in Briancon. So I looked at the map and we arranged to meet next morning at Vizille just south of Grenoble.

11OCT14
Up nice and early for breakfast and on the road in time to meet Don at Vizille at 09:00. Got there at 08:50 and Don was already there. We both fuelled up and resumed our tour.
To save time we decided to hop on the Autoroute at Grenoble. The satnav took us off and into Lyon as there’s no M25 equivalent circular route around Lyon. Congestion? Check. None of the traffic lights worked in sequence. If any town planners out there want an example of how to cause congestion Lyon is the prime example. Nightmare. To make it worse the road direct to the motorway the other side was “Route Barree”. Hell. Lots of filtering and barging through and we were out the other side. The Autoroute towards Roanne is free to start with. We got off it just before the Peage started and stopped for a coffee in Tarare. Then we made our way through the lovely French countryside, bypassing Roanne to the east. I was making it up as we went along at this stage and spotted a town called Mars. Well we had to stop for a photo. We beat NASA by 30 years or so.


Our route continued on small, twisty, enjoyable roads through towns such as Digoin, Luzy, Chateau Chinon, Lormes, St. Pierre up to and around Auxerre to an hotel I had stayed at before, Les Clarions on the D8 north west just out of Auxerre. Free parking in the garage.
Restaurant closed tonight. Good job there was a good choice of others nearby. McDonalds? Er, no chance. We found a place just beyond McD’s which did some good grub. Can’t remember the name unfortunately.

12OCT14
We were both awake around 06:00 and on the road before 07:00 after breakfast. This was the most boring day since the motorway to Munich on the first day. Due north from Auxerre to Saint Quentin is a lot of dead straight and dual carriageway roads and then on the Autoroute to Calais. We rocked up at the Chunnel check-in to be robbed of £93 for a one way crossing. Strewth, won’t do that again. Still we were back in Blighty before 1 O’clock local time.
Arrived home at 2pm, unloaded the luggage and set up the jet wash to give the bike a well earned rinse.

Both Tiger’s behaved themselves throughout the whole trip. Coping with anything that we threw at them. Proving comfortable and reasonably economical. The most remarkable thing on mine was a new type of tyre that I’ve read about but never used until now. The Mitas E07 rear. Fitted new just before the trip it covered 5500 miles (probably over 2000 miles of bolt upright motorway and dual carriageway) without fault and still has loads of tread left.


As an update, the same rear covered another 2800 miles on a trip to Catalunya and still has tread left.
8300 miles.
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blacktiger screwed with this post 11-02-2014 at 08:21 AM
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
DavidM1
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"the chap at the hotel recommended a scenic beach to look at near Dalaman"

He might have meant İztuzu Beach at Dalyan - https://goo.gl/maps/8cL8c

"The next sight was Thera but we couldn’t find it"

I don't think there's much to see there - https://goo.gl/maps/8lzio
Lagina and Stratonikeia (between Yatağan and Milas) are nice sites, though. You must have missed the brown signs.

The cat on your seat gives me the willies - some bloody grimalkin made holes with its claws in a Z750 of mine once.

"Chunnel check-in to be robbed of £93 for a one way crossing. Strewth, won’t do that again." - me neither.

P.S. The Megalithic Portal is a useful website for ancient sites:
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/search.p...ry=&country=60
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Old 11-04-2014, 01:21 PM   #4
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"Took some small back roads along the coast towards Bodrum".

Sorry, just noticed this. That looks like a fun road. I don't think there's much to see at Keramos (Ören) either.
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Old 11-04-2014, 02:57 PM   #5
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Full of eastern promise

Great report H
I cannot believe you got off your bike and walked and took in the sites on foot, let alone stop for a coffee.

looking forward to the Spanish report

Knees in the breeze as always
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Old 11-04-2014, 05:51 PM   #6
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Excellent RR

Thanks for that, great pics!

And lots of beer
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:41 AM   #7
blacktiger OP
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Originally Posted by davenoseyparker View Post
Great report H
looking forward to the Spanish report
What? You mean I've got to write that one as well!!??
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by blacktiger View Post
What? You mean I've got to write that one as well!!??
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:41 AM   #9
francs
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Hi BT.
Nice RR . I'm looking forward to "Spanish part" too .
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:42 AM   #10
Rdy2Trvl
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One of the most interesting ride reports on the site! I really enjoy your photos, I wish I was there.
Thanks for sharing your awesome travels with us.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:11 AM   #11
Deiotarus
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Beautiful photos. How well you take care mate!

Thanks for sharing your adventure and make us dream ...

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