Across The Black Sea to The Caucasus

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by muf722, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    Cool, you're getting mystical. The Keban dam is where the Karasu River (Western Euphrates) and the Murat River (Eastern Euphrates) come together.

    On my to-do list.
    #61
  2. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Even a wide main road can be the scenic route.

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    Lunch at a kebab house in Gürun. Many eyes on the bike.
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    Arrival Kayseri
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    The Kayseri Loft Hotel. New and modern. 35$ a night
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    Scandinavian design. Only drawback is no real restaurants nearby. City center only reached by taxi, so with a full kitchen, I cook dinner myself. A combo of stuff from the supermarket and what I bring on the bike. So egg/tomato omelet to start, chicken gumbo and ice cream for dessert. No beer to be found.
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    At breakfast and a clue to the owner of the hotel. A Danish flag.
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    Leaving Kayseri and heading for Nevsehir. Roadworks have closed the main road and I search for a detour with little luck.
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    Clearly I'm not meant to ride amongst the construction crews.
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    A friendly truck driver honks at me and tells me its a dead end.
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    Then he offers to lead me to an alternate road. After 15 minutes, my GPS can find the new route. I say thank you, goodbye and power on.
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    #62
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  3. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    On my map I have circled The Rock Site of Cappadocia. And soon enough, strange rock formations appear. G0012106.jpg

    I pay a few coins at the entrance
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    I climb the mountain to this hole in the rock and use this location as a viewpoint and a place to launch the drone.
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    Cappadocia.
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    Riding south for the coast and I find this little used road close to the Aladaglari Milli Park. Peak of mountains are at 3756m (12300ft)
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    Good choice of road I think.
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    The road follows the mountain range and I start looking for a lunch place.
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    A sign takes me far away from the main road.
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    Left or right? All the signs lead to fish restaurants.
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    #63
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  4. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    A fish pond as menu. DSC02841.jpg
    One fish for 20 Lira. Two for 30. (5$)
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    After lunch. More mountains.
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    Late afternoon and I have been riding a curvy road that runs parallel to the tollway. Its late and I'm tired, so I make a break for the tollway the last stretch to the coast. All lanes are automatic and I hear a siren alarm when I pass.
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    Same thing on exit. I do not have a tollway token. I later learn that motorbikes go free if there's no manual lane.
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    A lot of traffic passing Mersin and shortly before Silifke, I find my seaside hotel. First swim in the Mediterranean Sea and my first beer in Turkey.
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    Night view from my room near the beach. This hotel was run down and of low standard and the most expensive so far. Tourist area prices. Bellboy is from Syria.
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    Following the coast. Sometimes the road go inland to pass over a mountain. Traffic is light when out of towns.
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    #64
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  5. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Cardboard police car on patrol. They are everywhere. They serve little to no effect. Drivers go more than double the speed limit, also with the real cops on the side. I was told, the police made a crackdown on speed, a few years ago, but people just didn't care. So now the cops are passive and it seems like no law applies.
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    Another seaside fortress.
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    Funky road surface in the mountains.

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    The closest I've been to a head on collision yet. Crazy high speed passing several cars in a blind curve.
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    No need to show papers at this stop either.
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    The airport in Gazipasa is very short. Runway begins on the beach. Goes over this road with a bridge and have a mountain at the end. I've landed at the airport a few times with passengers on scheduled flights. Not a minute later and a company jet lands with more Scandinavian tourists.
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    Near Gazipasa in a nice restaurant on a fine beach not too crowded.
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    They have many guests from Scandinavia, and I'm offered a piece of Danish chocolate.
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    Alanya. My only prior visit to Turkey as a tourist was here many years ago.
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    Nearing Antalya and heavy slow traffic. I'm able to split it. G0058559.jpg
    #65
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  6. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    @muf722 Hi from NZ! :wave

    Loving the report!

    That Honda (car) was way too close for comfort! :knary

    Subscribed.

    Stay safe

    Shane
    #66
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  7. muf722

    muf722 Muf

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    The heavy traffic grinds to a halt. The reason being a road accident up ahead. Its a two lane road, but drivers will fill up the emergency lane trying to get going. G0058641.jpg

    When the ambulance arrives, it's stuck right next to me with the siren wailing. Nobody can move an inch.
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    15 min later and the police finally clears the traffic and I pass the accident
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    Pizza night. Each slice is chosen individually and with roast potatoes and homemade chili sauce, it is a great meal.
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    I discover a major planning mistake. On my draft planning paper, I keep a column with dates and cilumn with travel day numbers. As I started the 27th, they are offset by 4. When I entered the fixed date of the return ferry to Sweden, I listed it on the 25th travel day instead of the 25th September. My plan gives me 4 days less than I actually have to complete the route. That's why I have been feeling rushed. Well I can slow down and go back to plan A which originally had 32 travel days. My current plan B does cut some corners. I would have preferred some extra days in Georgia, but too late for that now.

    Antalya by night.
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    Leaving Antalya, I ditch my fast plan B route following the coast, and take Plan A. A small mountain road to Kumluca. G0019666.jpg

    Its perfect with no cars, but when I pass these cones, I get the sense of something being wrong.
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    Its a dead end!
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    I invested 35 min on this road, so I press on in case the signs are misplaced.
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    Nope. The road is gone. I must go back to Antalya.
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    #67
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  8. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Back where I started. Lets see. I can do Plan B. But how about Plan C. Let the GPS suggest a route in the mountains. I go for Plan C.
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    After 45 min. and the only road over the mountain is closed as well. The sign leads up the road to the left, but it ends at a ski resort. Back to Antalya again.
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    After 3 hours of riding and I'm still inside Antalya city limits. Now going for Plan D. A major road in the mountains to Korkuteli and the coast at Fethiye.
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    Maybe Plan B (red) would have been best?
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    Somewhere in the mountains I spot another GS parked in the opposite direction. Being lunch time I join. IMG_4511.jpg
    The rider from Jordan is really a Harley guy. He shows me pictures of his Ultra Glide from home in Jordan. When on work in Turkey, he thought a GS was the better tool and bought one here.
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    After lunch. A selfie shot. DSC02853.jpg
    Weather have changed during lunch and thunderstorms are growing in the mountains. I think I can outrun the storms turning left for the coast.
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    Almost. A hail storm on top of me. I only manage to get the Goretex liner on, for the top. so I get wet underwear.
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    At the coast I pass Dalaman and head for Marmaris. The plan to catch a ferry from Datca to Bodrum today is long gone, with all my detours. Still drivers go far too fast on wet roads and accidents occur. People do stop to help the injured.
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    #68
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  9. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Marmaris on the Mediterranean coast. Being dry again, I proceed to Datca, so I can ferry across to Bodrum in the morning DSC02855.jpg

    I have not booked any hotel today. Not knowing where I would end up. Villa Anfora was a good choice in Datca.
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    Downtown Datca. I search for the ticket office for the ferry. The capacity is only 20 cars and all ferries today were cancelled due to the windy weather. I get a ticket for the 0900 departure.
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    Datca is a gem. The atmosphere is superb and being a boat person, I look at yachts all evening.
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    0830 check in. The scooter is the only other 2-wheeler.
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    The ferry runs 3 times a day. Online tickets is available on the site listed on the ferry. In Turkish only. 90 min crossing.
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    I talk to the young doctor from Bodrum. His family runs a boat hire service, and the Bodrum area is now on the list to sail. He gives me tips for the day.
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    Bodrum. The wooden yacht is build here.
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    Reverse docking is a skill in these waters. The empty quay seen here is where I rolled to firm ground.
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    The doctor had suggested to go west of Bodrum and visit some ports. There were too much traffic and the ports would not let me in. So I go north to Izmir with a stop in a national park.
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    #69
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  10. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Lunchstop on the roadside G0014202.jpg

    I don't have the name since I let the waitress guide me, but it's delicious. Potato, meat and veggies in a pie.
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    The peninsula opposite to Samos, Greece is a national park. Small fee to enter.
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    Big caves to explore, but the hot weather dictates a visit to a beach.
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    This was great. Not crowded, clean water and the reverse view from the water is a treat. A beautiful park without a single hotel. Not often am I this refreshed this late in the afternoon. Getting in and out of the monkey suit worked fine.
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    In Izmir my GPS leads me in via the Bazaar. Izmir is Big!
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    I'm recommended to go to the Kordon area in Izmir to look for restaurants. I'm going to gain some pounds on this trip.
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    Waterfront Izmir
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    Clock tower
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    #70
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  11. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Departure from Hotel 86 in Izmir. This was my parking spot for the night. Cover was on. G0016298.jpg

    Yet another police control. Passport and drivers license on this one.
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    First half of the day, I follow the coast. Then a mountain route on minor roads.
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    Lunch in the small town Yenice. After that Chai tea in the building on the left. Chai tea in Turkey is different to the Indian version. Here chai means "tea from China", but today it's grown right here in Turkey. Normally 1 Lira a glass (or free many places)
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    Rolling in todays destination Canakkale, I catch up to 4 Gold Wings from 4 different countries. Sweden, Portugal, Greece and Slovenia. I'll meet them again tomorrow.
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    Parked in front of Buyuk Truva Hotel in Canakkale. I later moved to the secure parking at the rear.
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    You may recognize the horse from the 2004 movie "TROY" with Brad Pitt. It's the actual movie prop and on display in Canakkale habour.
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    I had planned to relax all afternoon having ended my riding. Looking at this poor model, I decide, I better go look at the real city myself. 40 min ride to the south.
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    On the way out to Troy, you see several horses around. This one you can climb.
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    #71
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  12. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Mostly rubble and walls. But hey. Some of it is 5000 years old. Looking at this piece, it's evident that a lot work went into making it beautiful. DSC02877.jpg

    Ramp from Troy II. There are at least 10 known Troys build on top of the rubble of the former Troy.
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    Part of modern Troy were build by Romans.
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    The center covered part is Troy I. 3000BC
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    Clay bricks still holding up. Troy I.
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    The coast up to Canakkale on the right. On the left the half island of Gallipoli where I'll go tomorrow.
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    Nachos and Fajitas in Turkey? Why not.
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    #72
  13. DavidM1

    DavidM1 Unicorn hunting

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    They've now found Troy 0 - Hurriyet Daily News
    #73
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  14. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Ferry in the morning for Gallipoli. No schedule as they run when full and arrival port is random between two different ones.

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    The Gold Wings have been at a 3 day meet in Turkey and are on the way home.
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    Heading south on Gallipoli
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    Sparsely inhabited and more or less one big graveyard. The big battle of Gallipoli in 1913 when Commonwealth forces made landfall on the island. Gallipoli being the gateway to Istanbul. The battle was lost with extreme casualties on both sides. There is a movie with Mel Gibson and another with Russel Crowe that I've just watched recently, about the battle.
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    There are signs to grave sites and memorials for both the Turkish and Commonwealth side
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    Single grave for a Lt.Col with a Turkish memorial in the background.
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    Memorial on the southern tip of Gallipoli
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    A lot of names.
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    I must have stopped at 8-10 cemeteries
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    Lone Pine Cemetery
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    #74
  15. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Close to one of the ports, are a full size model of trench warfare. DSC02911.jpg

    Another beautiful day travelling up the coast to Istanbul
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    Nearly a hundred miles before my destination in center, the city starts and with 20 million people it was surprisingly easy to navigate and without using the main motorway in. Then at the very end, the road I'm on separates into two parallels. One going to a tunnel to the eastern side of the Bosporus. I know I'm caught on the wrong side and when stopped by police, they tell me the tunnel is off limits for motorbikes and direct me to an escape route. I arrive at the hotel with no time lost.
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    The hotel is dead center in the old town and the area is surrounded by bollards so traffic can't go. The view from the hotels rooftop restaurant have The Blue Mosque on one side.
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    And Hagia Sophia on the other. Ever since the ferry across the Black Sea, this is where I take my only rest day for this trip. Tomorrow I'm a tourist and will go slow and easy.
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    Next day and around the corner. The Blue Mosque.
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    I'm aware of the dresscode. If you're not, then they’ill lend you this black dress to cover the legs.
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    As with any other mosque. A carpeted area and no chairs.
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    Inside the mosque is a gift from Saudi Arabia to Prime Minister Erdogan. Metal model of "The tomb of Prophet" There are many signs around Turkey of the recent accelerated islamification of the country. New Mosques are being build everywhere and I've seen a new Minaret erected inside an old fortress.
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    Hagia Sophia. Once the worlds largest building. A Greek Orthodox Cristian Cathedral from 537AD. In 1453 it was converted to an Ottoman mosque, until 1931 where it became secularized as a museum.
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    #75
  16. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    Superb!
    #76
  17. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    The first mosaic when entering Hagia Sophia is Christian. DSC02930.jpg
    Other Christian motivs have been covered over. Newly renovated.
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    Big wooden discs with calligraphy are part of the Islamic decoration. The carpet was removed to reveal the marble floor when Kemal Atatürk made it a museum. Erdogan wants to turn it into a mosque yet again.
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    Jesus depicted on a wall.
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    The Old Cistern is a below ground water reservoir with many columns.
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    In the far end are some Medusa heads and a slight smell of sewer. The little water there's left serves as wishing wells. Somebody just threw in a 10 Lira note?
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    Cool place to be on a hot day.
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    I'll only cover the major sights. Here The Grand Bazaar.
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    Grand maze of hallways with shopping.
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    #77
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  18. muf722

    muf722 Muf

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    Silver shop in The Grand Bazaar. DSC02950.jpg
    The Spice Bazaar is a spectacular building.
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    I enjoyed the boats departing for The Bosporus.
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    And a visit to an art center marked the end as a sightseer. Lots of great food to be had in Istanbul and I visited several rooftops.
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    #78
  19. muf722

    muf722 Muf

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Last view of the Bosporus before leaving Istanbul DSC02955.jpg

    I depart Istanbul via a more northern route and initially in city traffic.
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    Then I am temporarily unaware of where to go. There's a brand new airport just build in Istanbul and they have moved all the roads that used to go through that area. GPS is no help. I need to find Kirklareli.
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    Eventually the roads become more narrow and with less traffic
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    Now just a cow.
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    Riding north towards the border.
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    The last restaurant before the border and a chance to spend my last Lira. Mushroom with cheese. I'm waiting for the meatballs.
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    The restaurant is a mile off the main road.
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    Leaving Turkey
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    Entering Bulgaria. There's 22 minutes between the two photos. So an easy border.
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    #79
  20. muf722

    muf722 Muf

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    250
    Location:
    Scandinavia
    Last hot day on this tour. Very hot. 36C (97F) First to Burgas on the coast of The Black Sea and then a little further to Pomorie. DSC02958.jpg

    Hotel and Spa St. George. Even with hot weather then it's low low season in Pomorie. The main pedestrian street almost deserted and the beaches occupied only with locals. Some elderly people were here, but they are of course on permanent vacation.
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    A good swim in The Black Sea. Cooler than the Med and surprisingly clean. Budweiser is a Czech beer.
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    The weather changed overnight with temperature now at around 17C (63F). The route chosen is also a TIR (International Road Transports) route, but they were easily passed. I transit Bulgaria up to the border town of Ruse.
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    Ruse center. I have lunch in the main square. Happy Bar and Grill.
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    The Danube river is the border to Romania. My GPS suggests to go 100 miles further west and take a ferry across. I had turned off toll roads in the calculations. The Bridge is free for motorcycles.
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    Leaving Bulgaria.
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    Entering Romania and a simple passport control.
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    All motorists need a Vignette sticker on display for paid road taxes or heavy fines are imposed. Again. Motorcycles go free.
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    Not that I'm on the main roads anyway. Its the slow, free scenic route.
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    #80