Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Europe smiles Sept 6

After 15,000 kms, 12 countries and lots of amazing memories we left the African continent and made our way from Port Said, Egypt to Turkey by Russian cargo ship with about 50 Turkish truckies. We spent 2 days running around Port Said dealing with inefficient shipping agents and customs ”fixers” who looked like sleezy Egyptian Mafia equivalents and were well paid with backsheesh! We arrived in Mersin 40 hours later after a rather hot, uncomfortable journey and spent 5 hours sorting customs and immigration only to find that we were unable to enter the country as we did not have a visa. Fortunately our European passports saved the day!

We then made our way to central Turkey to magic Capadoccia in Central Anatolia with its surreal fairy chimneys, columns, pyramids and mushroom shaped rocks, residences and churches carved out of the sandstone rocks and caves and valleys with plateaus of white, pink, yellow striped rocks. A beautiful ride along the winding Turkish Mediterranean and Aegean coast with a couple of stops at roman ruins such as Apollo and Olympus. Overnight stay at Side at the Beach House Hotel with delightful hostess Penny from Tasmania. Then to Izmir where we had the bike serviced and on to historic Istanbul to see the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya church, Topaki palace and the colourful Grand Bazaar.

Took ferry to Greek islands of Kos and then Santorini, a stunning island of white houses perched on the edge of a caldera of a volcano. Then on to Athens to visit the amazing Acropolis- in contrast to the islands so few tourists in Athens. We rode through northern Greece and stopped to see the sights of Meteoroa- monasteries built on the edge of pinnacles of huge grey rocks in the hillsides. Food was fantastic in Greece!

Stayed in Olomouc, Czech Republic with old friends following a quick trip through Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Hungary and a delightful short stay in Neudorfl, Austria with family. Had pannier fixed by Zdenek at an extremely helpful guy who went out of his way to help us.
Egyptian mafia finally get the carnets stamped

Stunning Cappadocia


Side beach, Turkey

Apollo and still standing


Riding into Marmaris Turkey


Johannes shopping???? at Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Inside the Harem, Istanbul

Fat version of Ataturk

On the way to Greek Islands

Traffic control

future Touratech riding gear?

It doesn't get better than Santorini, Greece

 Bears in Greece??

Rural Romania

Sophia real estate, appealing?

Work liberates, Bulgaria

Romanians love red and silver

Spot map