In Which We Ride... A Scot and South African go Long Haul

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by SuperSonicRocketship, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Day 56

    More Ukraine and passage to Moldova

    Or rather Moldodo as Kyla nervously said to the Ukrainian border control guy.

    Our route through Southern Ukraine took us past the neat little city of Chernivtsi. We had unknowingly arrived on the 25th Anniversary of Ukrainian Independence from Soviet Rule. The city was draped in blue/yellow flags and there's seemed to be people pouring in and out of every street and building. It was great to see such an atmosphere in the old town centre. With the current proxy war with Russia, the celebrations seemed to be all the more important this year, with huge military parades being streamed live from Kiev on every screen we could see.

    After asking about for another camp spot, we soon realised that once again it was actually easier, safer and cheaper to just book a hotel. We looked up a 3 Star place called the City Club European Hotel. It looked pretty rough from the outside, located in a beat up suburb to the South side of the city. Stray dogs littered the car park and curious faces peered from the hundreds of balconies that dressed the soviet looking grey-block apartment complexes. We groaned a little but ventured inside none the less.

    The inside however was pristine, plus a safe lockable forecourt to store the bikes. With a check-in bill of just £11 it was hard to argue. Perfect. We checked in and I slept like a concrete slab.

    The next day we awoke once again without a plan. East again? South? Kiev perhaps? More tracks? Looking over a map revealed that there wasn't much spectacular scenery East of where we already were. South it was then, and anyway the sun shines brighter the more South you go surely?

    Moldova was never a place that was on our original agenda. "Poorest country in Europe!" they cried. By chance, the border was only around 50 miles away. We plotted a course through some of the most rutted and fun gravel track we have encountered yet, all the way to the Moldovan Border Point.

    The border was disorganised and hectic by every means you could imagine. The Ukrainian side was simple enough, but the Moldovan side was a circus. Nothing forming a recognisable queue seemed to exist, the actual requirements for entering Moldova seemed to be completely unknown to the actual border guards, and the officials on the desks kept walking aimlessly about the complex and returning to a different window each time, so you were never actually dealing with any one person for longer than about 20 seconds.

    One older man, with a sun beaten wrinkled face spoke surprisingly good English and told us to provide our Green Cards. We didn't have any! Most of the modern world has done away with them, but here we are in Moldova without the one thing we thought we'd never need. An old fashioned Insurance Green Card. The old border man told us to go to the ticket Agent and buy some Moldovan Insurance and then we can enter.

    The Agent asked a few questions about me and the bikes, before producing a calculator and showing me the sum of 180 on it. "Euros?" I said in a panic. He shook his head and stabbed at the calculator keys once again to now showed the number 4. "Euros!" he said with a friendly smile.

    I think i'm gonna like it here...

    With the minimum 15 days insurance sorted we scooted over the border with ease. The Moldovan roads upon first glance seemed of much better quality than Ukraine. Where were all the potholes? and horses? No carts? Chickens? Old ladys with colourful headscarves carrying massive logs?

    About 10 miles down the road we hit the first town, and would you believe it. Chickens, old ladies, horses, geese, carts, kids, stray cats, broken down cars, burnt out oil drums. It was sheer bliss.

    We followed the same strategy for Moldova as we did for the last few countries. Get off the main road and seek rural paths. The track we chose headed due south for about 60 miles, all of it gravel and sand packed, and actually hugged the Romanian border alongside the natural border in the River Prut.

    Following the water this way took us inland to a large lakeside where we checked the time and thought it best to camp up for the night. Studying Google Maps tell me that the body of water was called Lacul Stanca Contesti.

    It was our perfect first night in Moldova.

    First impressions of the place are clear; It is poor here, pure and simple. And as such, people seem much closer to the land. We saw families fishing in the lake, not for pleasure but for food. We saw others washing clothes in the water

    One young farmer took his cattle herd to drink before marching them back up the steep slopes to the grazing fields. The process took him hours and I watched from a elevated point as he herded perhaps 40 cows with nothing but a long, thin whippy branch taken from a tree.

    It was for sights like this that I embarked on the trip in the first place

    As the sun plunged behind the horizon the shadows grew very long, very fast, and before you knew it it was pitch black, revealing an overwhelming display of starts above the tent. All a symptom of heading yet further South I suppose.

    Me and Moldova are now the best of friends.

    Love,
    Brucie


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    Very hard packed sand

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    ADV Goals

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    Good fun in low sun

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    A symbol of home, far from home.

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    Stray dogs litter the hotel front
    #61
  2. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Kyla pondering at the Moldovan Border point.

    Some of these EU Border Frontiers are ridiculous.

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    How Long?!
    #62
  3. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Now, i'm not a huge fan of bugs...

    But c'mon, how cool is this guy?!

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    Damn gurl, those eyes...

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    It's just the greatest thing to happen on an otherwise normal visit to the campsite sink.

    One great thing about this trip that I rarely mention on here is the wildlife. So many species that we just don't get back home*. I've seen Pine Martins scurry up trees, moths the size of a playing card, tiny grey lizards rushing across car parks, snakes in cars, and now this praying mantis clinging for life to the sink tap when I go to brush my teeth in the morning.

    *I'm not actually sure if we get praying mantis back home or not.

    Love,
    Brucie
    #63
  4. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

    Joined:
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    Day 61

    After two long days in the saddle exploring the Moldovan tracks and trails; we were met with a tough decision. Do we continue South through the wild Moldova, or head East into much more tourist oriented Carpathian Romania?

    Essentially the decision came down to what kind of terrain and civilization we wanted to ride through. Continue off the beaten path? exploring trails in the middle of nowhere? Then stay in magical rural Moldova.

    Or

    Vast rugged scenery at an elevation? Tight, weaving mountain passes hugging the sides of gorges, ridges and waterfalls? Head to the Mountains.

    After much deliberation we thought, for the first time on this adventure, West. We crossed into Romania at another very small border point somewhere South of the an area called the Pădurea Domnească National Park. The national park seemed to be completely indistinguishable from the rest of the regions we had traveled through, aside from perhaps a few more trees.

    Romania greeted us with the usual safeguards that the EU provides. The road quality greatly improved, the cars we share road with are slightly newer, and marginally less dented. The driving admittedly is still quite hectic but at least now the cars have mirrors and indicators.

    Our first 2 days in Romania had been a mad-dash West to make it to the mountainous Carpathian Region. Unfortunately far North-Eastern Romania doesn't seem to have much to offer the overland traveler. We passed mostly medium sized industrial towns and flat, golden-brown cultivated lands. If I didn't know any better i'd swear that the only crops that grow in Eastern Europe was corn and sunflower.

    But finally, we reached the mountains...

    Wow.

    I shall say now, what I said to Kyla then; In Europe, some countries are blessed with vast regions of natural scenery. Norway has it, Switzerland has it, Scotland has it... and by god does Romania have it.

    Quite frankly, the sight of this huge mountain range on the horizon gave us goosebumps. I mean, even the word 'Carpathian' sounds imposing. We knew that no matter what route we plot through this 1,000 mile region; we'd be in for a treat.

    But before any of that, we needed an oil change and have 2 bikes to freshen up.

    Love,
    Brucie

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    Optical illusion
    #64
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  5. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Day 63

    Friends Everywhere.

    Romanian people are FRIENDLY. We have been here a couple days now and made our way from campsite to campsite. We even stayed in a cabin by a lake at one point. But no matter where we go in this little nation (although sizably larger than Scotland), somebody will appear, almost as if from thin air, to offer help or to even just say hello.

    We love it.

    One campsite offered an incredible view of the craggy peaked Mount Durau. Another had us shack up in a cabin by the lake. The highlight was a tiny campsite in the town, or village even, of Blajel; run by a chilled out dutch couple, Wilma and Hans, who have truly set the standard for campsites for us.

    Our plan was to weave our way through the mountain towns and passes to make it to the Northern waypoint for the start of the Transfagarasan Mountain Highway. You might remember in 2009 Top Gear called it the 'Greatest Road in the World', or something like that. Well, it's still playing that card and wearing the t-shirt, and with the threat of hordes of tourists on the horizon, we went anyway.

    Turns out we almost had the whole thing to ourselves. As luck would have it, a large section of the road had been closed off for a photo shoot for a German Motorcycle Clothing Company... closed off for cars that is. We slipped up the side of the queues and made our way to the pass.

    Ok, I'll admit it. It's an unfathomably good road to ride or drive. The views are monumental, the road layout is unreal and the secret 35km single dirt track that we discovered that runs alongside the main show was the cherry on the already pristine cake.

    We had a giggle at four Germans on enormous R1150 and R1200's nervously trundling through the badly rutted dirt track. After an average pace of around 5mph, they happily made it.

    The road just goes on forever and 3 hours of ride, stop, photo, repeat passed in an instant. Once over the pass we unknowingly stopped at the same mini bar/restaurant that the Top Gear crew stopped at during filming. Photos, framed signatures and in-your-face mentions of this fact draped the walls. The food was... well... meh, it only cost £4.

    But where to now? We have only 60 miles of mountains left before we get back to the open plains of the South. To the Black Sea? To Bulgaria? Bucharest? Brasov?

    We honestly have no idea!

    And that's the beauty of it all.

    Love,
    Brucie

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    Almost an unfair national advantage

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    Finally a well framed shot.

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    Rutted logging tracks in the Carpathians

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    Hand and Wilma, Hans has his own dream of riding from Anchorage to Ushuaia

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    Wooden tent basically

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    Perfectly safe
    #65
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  6. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    #66
  7. Cameleer

    Cameleer Back to Real Life

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    Most enjoyable read Brucie, so glad you decided to return to ADV.
    Love the pics, particularly the boat one.
    Happy riding and stay safe


    www.camellero.net
    #67
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  8. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Day 67

    "Rock me mama' like the wind and the rain,
    Rock me mama' like a Southbound train"

    Some lyrics there, by The Old Crow Medicine Show, an American Country/Bluegrass band. It's a song about travelling South down the U.S East Coast. The song popped onto my iPod a few days back and seemed quite fitting for our situation. I mean aside from the fact we are 6,000 away from the USA...

    But South is still South none the less.

    In our case; we had finished the breathtaking Transfagarasan Highway and were met with either travel back West to do the Transalpina, or East toward Bucharest.

    In the end we chose neither.

    Put off by thought of heading into another stifling metropolis in Bucharest, or retracing distance Westbound, we instead headed South into a new nation; Bulgaria.

    After a veeeery long days ride of around 300 miles, none of which was on anything larger than a B road, we hopped the border into Bulgaria at the bitesize city of Ruse. The day was long, hectic and hot, and after a 1 hour stint of walking (see:staggering) the bikes through the border in 33 Deg heat, we were done with the day. We checked into a little family hotel in Ruse.

    After a few hours the temperature dropped, and after drinking what felt like a billion litres of cold water we summoned the energy to venture out into the old(ish) city centre. It turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. The streets were lively long into the night and we wandered pretty much aimlessly to the noise of busy bars, honking traffic and street performers.

    Not so bad for a city i'd never even heard of.

    The next day we looked over a map which revealed what we had suspected. Central Bulgaria didn't have much of the mountain trails that we were looking for. What it did have though, was a coast.

    You guessed it... Roll on another horrible day of long flat roads and ever climbing temperatures. After riding for a light-year on a perfectly straight piece of Bulgarian highway we finally saw our first glimpse of open water since we said goodbye to the North Sea 3,500 miles ago. The Black Sea shimmering on the horizon was impossible to miss. We arrived sun-beaten in the seaside resort of Byala, about 20 miles North of it's much more famous counterpart: Sunny Beach

    These little bikes are good at many things, but long-haul highway is not one of them. Believe me, riding close to 600 miles in 2 days on a set of tyres that would be more at home on a Motocross track is not fun or easy, and as such, we checked into the completely empty Hotel Svetlana, another small family run hotel, parked between various abandoned build projects in the eerily quiet resort town. Our goal was clear: Do nothing but rest and recover for 2 whole days.

    We ate real food... We walked along the beach... We sat on the balcony... We napped about 3 times a day and we done nothing even close to strenuous for 2 days straight.

    Bliss.

    Love,
    Brucie

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    Byala

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    I throw money at my problems

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    The road is carved steeply into rock at Transfagarasan

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    A few of the Super and Hyper cars refueling at the bottom of the TransF... They enjoyed the queues i'm sure.

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    Eastern Europe's only crop?
    #68
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  9. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Week 8 in Photos

    Dirt tracks, mountain passes and our first oil change.

    Week 8 has been as good a week as any. We have really found our feet again after the lay-off in the summer. We are now 19 countries deep into this adventure and about halfway through a comprehensive European checklist.

    The bikes are running like a pair of Swiss watches and we are both still in one piece!

    Onwards and Upwards!

    Week 8 FaceBook Gallery
    #69
  10. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Day 69

    The Black Sea.

    Apparently, it's quite a hotly contested place here in Bulgaria. They have only around 250 miles of coast here, and not much of that is sandy beaches. It's not Spain after all. Anyway, after talking to a few locals, it seems they are not too happy about all of it being snatched up by large hotel and beachfront development projects. Sunny Beach, Golden Sands, Byala to name a few.

    We had read that the Bulgarians are quite fond of their beaches, and in summer time they flock to the undeveloped sites, camp up, strip off and have a ball. So out with the map it was, we searched for a stretch of beach far from any sizeable town and hoped for the best.

    We followed the twisty main coast road, named the E87 - they should really take a leaf from the Romanians book and name it the Black Sea Highway or something. We turned off onto a smaller side road, which in turn lead to another smaller road, which turned onto a gravel path which eventually turned into a beach. I can't be sure exactly where we were but it was somewhere close to the Strandzha National Park.

    And would you believe it... Bulgarians beach-lovers everywhere. Tents scattered the small dunes, families sprawled across Bulgaria flag beach towels, and wind-surfers cut across the water. Oh and naked people, mostly old and raisin-esque. But the best bit..? Not a single hotel, overpriced tourist bar or reserved sun lounger in sight.

    Honestly, it was amazing. There was a bit of a free-loving hippy feel to the whole area, and it is completely understandable why they are a bit upset at the corporate land-grab on the rest of the coastline.

    After a horrible, but in the end successful, attempt to get the bikes up a small but impossibly steep sand dune; we camped up, let the night cloak us, built a campfire and watched yet another perfect ceiling of stars.

    I'm glad I got to see this side of the Bulgarian coast, and I guess i'm glad that there is still places to escape the hordes of British, Irish, German, and whoever else flocks to the Black Sea for cheap booze, fake Ray Bans and guarantee'd sunshine.

    If however you do go on a package holiday then beware, that somewhere just on the horizon, there is a very old, leathery, naked Bulgarian watching you with hate in her very soul.

    Either way, we love it here.

    Love,
    Brucie

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    Perspective, I am the same height as the Black Sea
    #70
  11. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

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    Love it, guys. Keep it up!
    #71
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  12. Bigbore4

    Bigbore4 Long timer

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    Andover MN USA
    All caught up. Glad you decided to bring the report to ADV, I'll follow along.
    #72
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  13. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Day 71

    Dreamin' of the Bosphorus

    After spending the best part of 4 days making our way down the Bulgarian Black Sea coastline, we realised that we are fast running out of Europe to explore. After our beach camp with the Bulgarian hippies we were less than 2 days ride from the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey; the 1 mile-wide stretch of water that connects the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, but more importantly separates Europe from Asia.

    It's a part of the world I have been dreaming of visiting for a long time. Not so much for the water itself, but rather the whole idea of crossing a continental divide.

    We packed up camp and rode inland, leaving the coast, through the Strandzha National Park. Thinking back, I felt the ride was mostly uneventful and not worthy of any specific mention... but that just shows how high our standards have become. The national park actually wound it's way through around 110 miles of pristine and rugged, mountainous woodland.

    We made it to the Turkish Border mid-day. Just before joining the queue we struck up conversation with a Turkish guy and his young family who assured us that this was a smaller, local border point and we'd be through in a few minutes. Great!

    What he did in fact forgot to mention, was the fact that after the Istanbul Ataturk Airport Bombing in June (45 killed, 230 injured) and the nationwide military coup attempt in July (280 killed, 2,185 injured), that Turkey had imposed a state of emergency that largely affected it's borders. Especially the smaller ones.
    little Turkish men paced about in seriously heavy duty body armour with large assault rifles, looking just as bored as the Ukrainian border guards we had saw weeks prior.

    I think it was around 1 hour 45 minutes in the end. We had each accrued 4 passport stamps by the end of the whole ordeal, and no less than 3 visits back and forth from the dreaded 'Green Card Window'. Top tip: If you ever go on an adventure and your insurance company back home tells you that you don't need a Green Card for Europe... Insist firmly otherwise. Really.

    We were given the stern nod of approval and we left the heavily armed border post onto a stretch of eerily empty 3 lane highway. As per usual, we took a turn off, onto a gravel track, and plotted a back-road route to Istanbul... It was on this stretch that I had my BEST EVER chance encounter of the trip so far.

    I have never properly encountered a tortoise before. I think I have seen a few in a zoo before behind a glass screen. I certainly didn't think they existed here in European Turkey. This one creeped out from the dry bushes on the roadside and was headed straight for my front wheel. Luckily the exhaust noise seemed to startle him and pulled himself into his shell.

    I slammed the back brake on, nearly killing Kyla in the process (she follows close when i'm ahead) and darted over to look at him, akin to my 7 year old self.

    Essentially, to me he was a perfect tiny dinosaur. Thick scaly skin and a shiny, almost polished shell. I had to pick him up, not only because he was on the road, but because I just HAD to. He was surprisingly heavy and robust, to the point where I wasn't sure whether if he had actually went under my wheel, he might not have actually been injured anyway.

    We debated his gender, Kyla coming to the conclusion that it "looked like a boy", promptly named him Turk the Tortoise and set him free across the road to his intended direction. We stayed for around 20 more minutes watching him make his way up the dry bank of earth by the road.

    Turk the Tortoise... What a guy.

    After 4 hours ride on the rough back roads, we pulled into a roadside cafe and asked the owner if we could camp there. He assured us that the land was all his and safe. For a princely sum of £4, we pitched a tent and had access to the cafe toilets and sink all night. The owner packed up and went home around 11pm, so we were kept company by the guard dog overnight.

    A perfect start to Turkey i'd say.

    Onward to Istanbul!

    Love,
    Brucie

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    #73
  14. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    Day 74

    Istanbul.

    Last week, I was confident in my abilities to negotiate big cities. It's easy right? I mean, i've been to London, I've been to Paris, i've been to New York, Rome, St. Petersburg, Stockholm, Madrid... No problem. Just pack up the bike, book a hotel and head into the madness. Right?

    Wrong.

    Istanbul is huge. I didn't realise just quite how huge 'til I got there. See the list mentioned above? Istanbul is larger than all of those. Yup, even London, Paris and New York City, both by population and sheer span. It's the 7th largest city in the world. When we first hit the traffic in the urban area, we were still 28 miles from the hotel. It's easily 40 or 50 miles of metropolitan are across. Like I said, huge.

    We rode into the city, once again in 35+ degrees, and were met with massive 8 lane arterial highways, unsigned junctions, broken traffic lights, largely ignored one- way systems, and a general havoc that I have only really seen in my life once before, in Rome.

    After 2 hours in the city, becoming more and more lost. We pulled over and parked up for a moment. I had to get my city head on again. Too much national parks, unspoiled beaches and beautiful mountain trails makes you soft. We were in a big, loud, hectic, dangerous city. It required big, loud, hectic, dangerous driving. Or in our case, riding.

    Once you match the rythym of the traffic around you, it all makes sense. This isn't a disorganised mess after all, it's heaven, at least for a motorcycle anyway. Ride on the pavement? No problem. One-way street? Go for it. Pedestrian zone? Meh.

    We got to the hotel in a sorry state physically, but mentally upbeat. Istanbul has been a major checkpoint on this journey for a long time, and we were finally here.

    We had 4 whole days in the city and set off to explore as soon as the heat of mid-day sun had passed.

    So, Istanbul, how to describe it? Well imagine eBay was a real place. Anything you could possibly want, or need, is available somewhere in the city. Any imaginable object or service can be sought somewhere in the tangled mess of streets in the old town, or on the wide boulevards of the new town.

    It is truly an amazing place, and lives up to every bit of hype that the brochures promise. Really, you MUST come here. Sure ,Turkey has some bad press at the moment, and the conversation of the military coups, neighboring Syrian crisis and Islamic extremism is very much alive. There is an enormous police presence on the streets just now, and growing signs of public displays of nationalist pride vs. protest are obvious. An iconic Turkish flag hangs from every object that can possibly hold one. I've no idea what the future of Turkey holds, i'm no political commentator, but i'd urge you to see this great city while you can, just in case things get any more complicated.

    Every 10 feet a street vendors will peddle to you the most delicious food. Men will try to coax you into there stores to sell you anything from lamps, to carpets, to leather jackets, bicycle parts, sheets of bubblewrap, souvenirs and of course; Turkish Delight.

    We caved in and bought a bag of assorted Turkish Delight. It was actually really good.

    Here's a thought I had while sitting watching the bustle of the old town; For 1,000 years the city of Istanbul, or Constantinople then, was the gateway to the Silk Road. This was the major meeting point of all European commerce from the Far East. Luxuries, clothes, soaps, foods, spices, and of course the finest silk was brought here to fetch high prices with the European buyers.

    Upon close inspection of the Grand Bazaar and the millions of market stalls, I can confidently announce that the Silk Road is still very much alive. Believe me almost everything you see here; souvenirs, lighters, t-shirts, chess boards, lanterns, fez hats, carved ornaments, jewelry, and the rest of it, has a Made in China / India / Bangaldesh / Vietnam / Cambodia' etc sticker on it.

    So just like it did for a thousand years, goods are shipped from the Far East, to this incredible market hub, where privileged white Europeans will pay well over the odds to have it. I would think those early traders who rode the wagons across the continent would be proud.

    But there is still an authentic experience to be had in the city. Away from the tourist hubs, the food, music and people are as genuine as they come. Friendly and confident in the future of their city, in light of the bloodshed of 2016.

    Istanbul Rocks.

    Love,
    Brucie

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    Some kind of disposable hijab? It was never explained

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    One of the old gates to the Grand Bazaar
    #74
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  15. SuperSonicRocketship

    SuperSonicRocketship 50 Nations and Counting

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    HELP US

    Winter is Coming... Although it doesn't feel like it. I'm actually sat in the 30+Deg heat once again, only this time i'm pondering what to do over the winter.

    We have BIG decisions... and i'd like to hear peoples thoughts and opinions. Not just moto-adventurers but anyone and everyone who follows the page.

    See, the original plan to cross Russia this year just isn't possible anymore, with temperatures hitting as low as -30 across Siberia over the long deep winters. So that must sit on the back burner 'til 2017.

    So what to do for the rest of the year?

    We could travel East through Turkey, riding onwards to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan etc... But that eventually leads you to Russia anyway, so you must about turn and head back the way you came.

    The other option is to about turn at Istanbul, do Southern Turkey along the Marmaris and Med coasts and then back west into Greece. It would lead us right on to the Balkans; Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo etc. We could probably kill a month in the Balkans easy enough. If we could stay Westward bound then we could hug the Mediterranean coast all the way to Gibralter and catch a ferry to Morocco.

    But is it just another dead end? I know there is no passage into Algeria, and even if there was, Tunisia and Libya are not exactly having their finest hours.

    What about West Africa? Dakar lost the Dakar Rally after all because of terror threats in Mauritania and Senegal a few years ago. As a pasty faced foreigner with a UK passport (the most bittersweet passport on Earth?) could I expect to be immediately kidnapped in West Africa?

    Decisions, decisions...

    All thoughts and opinions welcome!

    Love,
    Brucie

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    Where next? Greece? Georgia? Lebanon? Proximity to Syria and Iraq poses problems indeed
    #75
  16. AllSeasonRider

    AllSeasonRider Wandering, maybe a little lost...

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,833
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    "Well imagine eBay was a real place."

    I had a picture in my head when I read this, and looked exactly like the ones you posted!

    As far as where to go... you guys are indeed in a tough spot. It's shame your schedule got all screwy with the Russian Visa issues. Would it be worth it to take your time along the Mediterranean, maybe hang in Spain or Morocco for the cold months, then bust back over to Russia in a couple days when the weather breaks? Or could you make good time eastward and get to the South Pacific in 2 months?

    I'm not too familiar with this part of the world, just spit balling...
    #76
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  17. Cameleer

    Cameleer Back to Real Life

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    648
    Location:
    Asturias, Spain
    How about Greece>Crete or Cyprus> Egypt and continue down East Africa to SA?
    Otherwise the Greece>Italy>France>Spain>Morocco winter schedule is pretty much fail proof


    www.camellero.net
    #77
    SuperSonicRocketship likes this.
  18. juno

    juno Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,165
    Location:
    Jupiter
    #78
    SuperSonicRocketship and micko01 like this.
  19. micko01

    micko01 another DR650 rider

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    565
    Location:
    Back to reality.... WestOz
    Morocco is better than fine, it's bloody excellent! Some of the best adventure riding available, I reckon. That's a big call, but Morocco is diverse and epic. Amazing mountains. Amazing deserts. It's just awesome, full stop. But it is not really "Africa", it's just too functional and people are really very capable and competent. Bureaucracy works here.

    But shit gets real when you cross to Mauritania. The average Mauritanians we met were really lovely but their borders... omfg. It was our 22nd country in Africa but that Senegal/Mauritania border is a gateway to hell I'm sure. It made getting into DRC feel as challenging as getting through the sliding doors at a 7/11.

    West Africa really starts in Senegal. From there, well, it is what you make of it. It's an adventure, an experience, a holiday it is not. It can fuck you hard if it wants to, just ask Wanted! But it can be awesome too.

    If you want to challenge yourself, get into it. Africa is changing so so so fast, if your curious you've got to come now, because it won't be recognisable soon. There are still some wild and crazy places in Africa. But who knows for how much longer. DRC will have a tar road across it by the end if next year!

    We are in Morocco now, we could swap stories if you get here in the next two weeks.
    #79
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  20. Cameleer

    Cameleer Back to Real Life

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2012
    Oddometer:
    648
    Location:
    Asturias, Spain
    Mick are you guys crossing into Spain next?


    www.camellero.net
    #80