6000 miles to Cappadocia

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by mdw403, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    78
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    East Anglia
    Thanks Duke:D


    Day 13 Goreme to Side, Turkey

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

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    Early morning Baloonists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    I just hope we get some sleep tonight.
    #41
  2. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Day 14 Side to Pamakkule, Turkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    The flag with Al sat just below it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We had enough of Kebabs by this time so it was omelette and chips for me washed down with some ice cold Coke.
    #42
  3. Loutre

    Loutre Cosmopolitan Adv

    Joined:
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    :lurk

    great destination, great bikes, great food. Count me in!
    #43
  4. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2009
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    Thanks loutre, we are about to shoot for home so stick around for 3 more days and you will see just how it ends.............for now:)
    #44
  5. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Location:
    East Anglia
    Day 15 Pamakkule to Alexandrouopolis, Greece

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

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    Breakfast

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

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    Melon Stands

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    Thousands of ollives drying in the sun

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

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    The Ferry

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

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

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

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    Al was not feeling to well; he had eaten something a bit dodgy and needed to find a toilet every 10 minutes. He had tried to 'eat through it and take loads of Imodium' for the last few days but that had not worked. so he had been fasting for about 12 hours and was going to push through until tomorrow night before he eats again. Me being a good mate I got my cooker out, sorted a nice big spag bol and sat right in front of him eating it.
    #45
  6. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Location:
    East Anglia
    Day 16 Alexandrouopolis to Belgrade, Serbia

    Felt a bit down today. The realisation that the trip was coming to an end, it was hammering down with rain and the roads were slippy as hell.

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    The roads in Greece were completely empty. We headed along a main motorway heading West and the only cars we saw were Mercedes and BMW. It was as if everyone with a normal car could not afford the petrol to drive it and only the super rich were able to get around by this mode of transport.

    We stopped at a garage around Komotini for fuel only to be told they can't take cards as they can't afford the charges from the bank for the line to use the card. Luckily we just had enough in Euros to pay. It seems to me Greece is not in a happy place at the minute, just like me.

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    However something must change soon and it did. As soon as we crossed the border into Bulgaria the roads changed to the tarmac we enjoy and take so much for granted in the UK.

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    It was still raining but that did not matter as we now had grip. We made quick progress and soon made the Serbian border.

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    Another easy crossing and another toilet stop for Al.

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    He was not feeling any better so I suggested we head for Belgrade and find a hotel. A single room each and a little bit of comfort. He was more than happy with that so off we went to the Best Western in the suburbs of a city that has been in the news so much in the last 10 - 15 years.

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    There is no way I was coming to Belgrade, paying 90 Euros for a room and not getting out and seeing some of the city, so I ordered a taxi, bundled Al in and headed into town.

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    We had a wander around the centre admiring all the pretty women… I mean sights, and came across a pub with English football on. We found a seat outside the pub right next to the busy walk way, I had a beer whilst Al stuck to the coke and we chilled, just watching the world go by. As my riding partner was feeling a bit better we decided to find some food but as he was still recovering we opted for a good restaurant rather than a street vendor.

    We did get chatting to a guy who told us Red Star were playing that night and that the prodigy were playing in town early hours of the morning, I desperately wanted to go, but Al just was not playing.

    Fully satisfied we retired to the hotel for a well earned nights rest.
    #46
  7. D-Rat

    D-Rat n00b

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Istanbul
    Cappadocia is fascinating area... Specially Turkey has very mixed culture. Every city has different culture, religion...

    And you tasted Istanbul Traffic... I'm livin' it in everyday... damn :D
    #47
  8. lost@sea

    lost@sea n00b

    Joined:
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    D-rat

    your not wrong your city/country has everything to offer and should be a must place for people to visit at least once.

    As to Istanbul traffic you have my sympathy, but you can keep it I never want that pleasure again, well until next time.

    Shad keep it up nearly there, then you can relax. next time we will have to hire a reporter to tag along for the story telling.
    #48
  9. David Nimrod

    David Nimrod Fantastic Voyage...

    Joined:
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    20
    Location:
    Nottingham, UK.
    Excellent write-up... makes me want to return!
    #49
  10. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Nearly there Al, Im going to do the last few days tonight :D:D:D:D
    #50
  11. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Location:
    East Anglia
    Day 17 Belgrade to Munich, Germany

    We were both in full flight home mode now. We decided we could make the train at Calais by 2am early hours in the morning on the day after tomorrow, so we booked the train tickets online in the hotel and contemplated the 1200 miles we had to cover in 36 hours. We both enjoy spending hours on the bike with our own thought so it won't be a problem.

    Once we had loaded the bikes up, Al tried moving his bike away from mine but realized all too late that he had no room and dropped the KTM a second time on the trip. I had to laugh that, meant his bike had been on its side twice as much as mine this trip, which is unheard of.

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    My sat nav was working well this morning, it took us the long way out of Belgrade adding about 50 miles on to the distance we had to cover but eventually we made it onto the E70 and headed towards Zagreb and Ljubljana.

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    We cruised along most of the morning on a toll road. However when we got to the border and stopped at the pay booth the guy would not let me through and said I had been speeding.

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    I had to go to the end of the line of booths where a policeman would come and deal with me. I backed out of the line went to where he had indicated and waited around 15 minutes for someone to come before deciding to make a break for the border through a gap in the barrier. I sped off not realising that the border was only a mile up the road. When we got to the checkpoint there was a long queue of cars, but there was no way I was waiting, so I skirted down the side and nipped into the line 3 or 4 cars back. Obviously I was getting beeped at but come on I was in Serbia for gods' sake. I was panicked that a big hairy copper with guns and batons hanging off him was going to speed up in his car and throw me in jail for the next 6 months.

    Luck was with me and we made the crossing into Croatia with no problems. Croatia and Slovenia went quickly. They both looked like they would be good fun to ride through but we were now on a mission to get home.

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    The border area of Slovenia and Austria is incredible. There is a series of tunnels that are cut through the mountains taking you through some of the most scenic areas I have ever ridden. The first one was Karawanken tunnel which is nearly 8km long and cuts through the Karawanken alpine mountain range and connects the Austrian A11 and the Slovenian A2.

    The whole day was spent riding towards Munich until after about 600 miles for the day we pulled up into the woods for what we hoped would be our last night on the road.

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    It was army boil in the bag rations for us both tonight as it was Sunday and there were no shops open anywhere. So Chicken sausage and beans for me and the oh so delicious chicken and dumplings for Al.
    #51
  12. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Location:
    East Anglia
    Day 18 Munich to Bury St Edmunds, UK

    Well today was the last day of the trip. About 650 miles left to push.

    It was motorway all the way, pushing through the ninth new country for me, Luxembourg.

    We did stop somewhere in Germany for another Currywurst and chips but could not find an imbiss so Pizza it was.

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    We arrived at Calais at around 9pm with my tank flashing 0 miles til empty tank.

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    I was sure there was a shell garage right next to the check in desk. Unfortunately there wasn’t so about turn and try and find some fuel. I just ran out of fuel as I rolled down the ramp at Citi Garage. The tank took 16.83 litres to brimming and would be the last fuel I needed before I got home.

    When we got back to the terminal they told us we had to pay £40 each as we were a day early! "You are having a laugh mate, we are only a few hours early" I said. "Sorry sir, those are the rules". Tired and saddle sore we just paid up rather than wait til midnight or argue the toss with the faceless lady on the end of the tanoy.

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    On the train there was an interesting bloke on a 1300cc Yamaha Midnight Star who owned a few houses down by Paris and was amazed by how far we had travelled in such a short time. I was amazed anyone would want to ride his bike for pleasure but I did not say that to him:)

    I got home around midnight, with exactly 6000 miles on the trip odometer.

    Now we have been back a while and I have had time to think about the trip I realize how lucky I am. I can afford to do amazing trips like this, I have no ties and I have a good mate to share it with. Trips like this are not for everyone, and I am sure there are guys reading this that would baulk at pushing these distances for fun without really stopping to enjoy the countries you pass through. But that is the way me and Al prefer things. The one thing that made the trip for me was the people in Turkey, in particular in Istanbul. They are the friendliest people I have ever met. Usually when you travel through a country you come across lots of people that will talk to you but only to try and extract money from your wallet. Well we never once had that (other than the police), if anything we were given far more than we gave in terms of a friendly smile and the obligatory cup of Turkish Tea.

    We will go riding again next year, but the location has not been decided. I would like to go back to Morocco but Al wants to try Scandinavia or Russia. Maybe we will make a decision when we meet up at my workplace on the 1st September 2013 all packed with no place to go. I also think we would both welcome some different stories so if what we do interests you then get in touch especially if you already have an idea for a trip.

    People always ask me how much the trips cost so this is the breakdown:

    Fuel £827
    Food & Drink £315
    Train £120
    Accommodation £170
    Total £1432

    This does not take into account the cost of the bike, camping kit and servicing and tyres on our return.

    The End
    #52
  13. bigboyxl

    bigboyxl Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Czech republic - Ukraine
    awesome read and great pics!
    thanks again for sharing :clap
    about the plans for the next year: actually I have an idea involving both destinations desired by Al (Scandinavia+Russia) :wink:
    #53
  14. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    78
    Location:
    East Anglia
    All the countries we visited pictorialy

    ENGLAND

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    And then England.

    The End.... Til Next time.
    #54
  15. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    Thanks bigboy, it was good to have you along, ill let you know what the plans end up being for next year, but as ill be living closish to you next year maybe we can meet up for a ride before. :D
    #55
  16. bigboyxl

    bigboyxl Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    355
    Location:
    Czech republic - Ukraine
    sure thing!
    btw, my uncle lives in Berlin, so from time to time I'm coming over there for few days and we could meet up and share our ideas
    we'll keep in touch :evil
    #56
  17. NightShadow

    NightShadow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2011
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    Location:
    Toronto
    Great ride report & Pics.
    #57
  18. lost@sea

    lost@sea n00b

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    #58
  19. Tobers

    Tobers Been here awhile

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    Guildford, England
    Superb report - you've given me some ideas for my next trip. Thanks & well done.
    #59
  20. mdw403

    mdw403 Mike

    Joined:
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    No problem, I'm glad you enjoyed it:D
    #60