Stage Tour I: from Munich to Cypres - Entries for: Turkey

CheckMyTour
  • DSC02578
24° | sunny | km 257

On our way to Istanbul

on 2012-10-24 in Turkey
At 5 o'clock Fabi woke up to a street cleaning machine that made noises like a fighter jet!
At 5,30 we all woke up to the first loud prayer of many to come.
Our daily goal was Istandbul but to see a bit more of the countryside, we decided to go on a smaller road through some villages. The cultural differences were huge and they shocked us at first. We managed to get some lunch just by communicating with wild gestures. We did not really know what it was but it tasted great. Everyone at the diner warned us about pickpockets and thieves in Istanbul.

With a weird gut feeling we rode on. When we arrived in Istanbul we were overwhelmed by the traffic. We expected chaos, but this was worse. People going the wrong way on highway exit ramps. 5 lanes on a 3 lane road. We stayed together and hoped that the traffic would not swallow us completely.

Luckily we got used to some habits quickly, which is why we soon were able to go with the flow. We had not done any research on hotels so we tried quite a lot until we found one that was in our price range.

Dinner just cost 150TL but Basti decided to tip 30TL which was 12 €. Since this was not the first time we decided that from now on it might be better if Fabi or Denis are in charge of our collective wallet. We went out to experience some of the night life in the city, but since we were still quite tired and had a sightseeing day ahead of us we decided to go to bed at midnight.
  • DSC03879
25° | sunny | km 0

Istanbul

on 2012-10-25 in Turkey
After 12 hours of sleep the first place on our sightseeing list was the blue mosque. It was definitely worth looking at and we would recommend it to anyone who has the chance. But we will not go too deep into our sightseeing experiences since we had a much greater adventure ahead of us!

Because it was on this day that we met some of the craziest Americans yet. They sat across our table at dinner and were greeted quite exuberantly by the waiters, which is why we noticed them. After some time we decided to ask them how come? They told us they were drinking last night with the waiters in the back and having a great time. We got along really well, so we decided to join them in a bar they were heading to.

We also took a turkish friend of them with us. Kevin, Scott (the Americans), Murat (the Turk) and we three had a great time at the bar! We had an amusing conversation with a couple of drinks and the group dynamics just worked out really well. We all wanted to go to a club in Istanbul but we were surprised how hard it is to find a club without women accompanying us. Since we did not want to spend 50TL each, we decided to head to another bar. On our way we basically raided some guys muscle stand. When we paid up Kevin decided it was time for bed so only Scott, Murat and we continued on. After a couple more drinks and a lot more laughs Scott and Murat went home and just a little later we decided that is was time for us too.
  • 20121026_162538
25° | sunny | km 0

Hamam and the Carpenter

on 2012-10-26 in Turkey
Since we had such a blast the day before we decided to meet up with Scott and Kevin again. Before that we wanted to get some of our dirty laundry done in a self service laundry. Sadly, we just found a cleaner that wanted 100TL for each bag. We quickly decided that it was not worth it and went to our meeting point.

An hour late, Kevin and Scott arrivied with a loud shout! The first thing we ordered was a round of beers. We were already reminiscing about the great time we had yesterday, so we all decided to spend the day together. Completely abandoning our sightseeing plans for the day we decided to join them by going into a turkish bath (Hamam). Murat organised everything and we headed out. After a relaxing bath followed by a sauna, a massage and again a sauna, we all felt reborn.

Kevin had mentioned to Murat before, that he might be looking to buy a Turkish carpet. Murat of course knew somebody and took us to him. In the carpenter's store (basically just a room with a couch and hundreds of carpets) we got some food and beers while Kevin was struggling to decide which rug to buy. They were all quite pricey, but since he didn't want to offend them, he bought a nice looking one and organized the shipping and stuff.

We wanted to go on a bus ride through Istanbul so we left them at their hotel and headed off. We all agreed that Istanbul was epic since we met the Americans! We found out our bus ride was already booked so we headed back to our usual bar and waited for the Americans to show up again. They did and after a couple of cold beers and a Shisha, we decided to go to a fish restaurant Kevin and Scott had read about.

We shared three different fish across the table and some wine with it. It was incredibly delicious and we had a great time again. We were all stuffed after the meal and wanted to go to bed. But since we had to leave the next day we decided to go for one more round in our usual bar and celebrate our companionship.
CheckMyTour
  • DSC03957
21° | sunny | km 223

Time for new Chains

on 2012-10-27 in Turkey
Fabi and Denis had decided it was time to change their motorcycle chains. Since we had the heavy duty tool and the right chains we calculated about an hour to change them. Fabi tore one of his screws off in the beginning, but luckily he was able to fix it rather quickly. One of the chains was too long, so we decided to try to shorten it by two chain links.

We broke 2 clinch pins in the process... It was then when we realized we had packed another chain. This one fit perfectly. After a lot of strain and almost 3 hours we had the two chains tightened and were ready to go.

Since we had planned on meeting Kevin and Scott a last time we rode through the city to our favourite bar (located somewhere around here). Sadly, Kevin and Scott were not able to make it in time since their flight was also leaving on this day. We noticed that we were missing our logbook so we decided to go back to our hotel.

We actually got stopped by the police for the first time ever! It was funny because once we mentioned that we are from Germany they told us to go on without looking at our passports or licenses. The officer even apologized for stopping us! Much to our relieve the logbook turned up in Fabi's case.
It was time to say goodbye to the European continent as we went over the Bosporus bridge to Asia. To shorten our trip a bit we took the ferry to Yalova.

On our way to Izmir we got passed by a car with very excited kids in it. They were waving and greeting us vividly and followed us for about 20 miles. At the next gas station the employees gave us tea and chocolate. Overall, we were impressed how friendly everyone was and couldn't wait to go on and meet more people.

We stayed in a Motel and got cleaned up. Our plan to get to Izmir tomorrow was well on its way.
CheckMyTour
  • DSC03987
26° | sunny | km 296

Izmir

on 2012-10-28 in Turkey
After a very quiet night in a comfortable bed, we left Susurluk and were heading for Izmir. We were surprised by the time change to wintertime and so we were on our way even earlier than we had planned.

This is why we got to Izmir quite early and had a chance to meet Deniz, a coworker of Denis and Basti. It is her hometown,so she showed us around and we had some cold beers.
Later that night we tried to get into a club which turned out to be difficult in Izmir also. Maybe it was because of our clothes or the fact that you have to bring as many girls as guys otherwise you are not allowed to go in.

At least we found a nice little bar with live music in the end and after we payed a round for the band we had to sing a song with them. We all agreed that most likely would not have happened in a Club.
CheckMyTour
  • DSC04033
24° | sunny | km 137

Ephesos

on 2012-10-29 in Turkey
We got up after just 4 hours of sleep. But since we had to make up time we checked out and got on our way.
First stop was the Maurer plant in Torbali, we found out that today was turkeys independence day so no one was there. We quickly took some pictures and moved on to Ephesos.

Ephesos was amazing if you ever have the chance to see it DO SO. It was the 3rd biggest metropolis in the ancient world and it is in very good condition. It takes about 3 hours to walk through it all and like we mentioned before, it is more than worth it.

We were all tired, so we decided to stop at a beautiful beach where we took some amazing pictures of the sunset and set up our tent while Basti was picking up dinner for us. While we ate a storm grew closer. The wind took out our tent pegs so we tried burying them deeper. We were so tired that at first we thought we could stay, but after careful evaluation and remembering some experiences we had made on earlier tours, Basti and Denis (Fabi was already trying to sleep) decided we had to find a dry spot to stay the night. We all packed up as quickly as possible and headed out for a place to stay.

Luckily we quickly found one and just minutes after we arrived hell broke loose. Tired and exhausted, we went to sleep, just to be woken up over and over again by the sound of mosquitos.
CheckMyTour
  • DSC02693
20° | sunny | km 396

Pamukkale

on 2012-10-30 in Turkey
After a night full of mosquito hunting and therefore a lot less sleep, we packed up our bikes in the sunshine and got going.

Our main goal of the day was the sinter terraces at Pamukkale. We decided to take a smaller road which we hoped to be a shortcut. It turned out to be very muddy because of last night's rain. Fabi took a dip in the dirt, but fortunately didn't damage him or the bike.

When we got to Pamukkale we switched to our bathing shorts and walked up to the terraces. The view was amazing and since we had never seen anything like it before we were stunned how beautiful the blue water looked in the white pools. We decided to take a short bath in the warm water and enjoy the moment. On the way down, we saw a sign that mentioned a red lake and so we went to go see that as well. It was far less impressive, but still worth the stop.

To get some more kilometers on the clock we decided to ride again at night. We found some nice people in Sorgül that treated us to warm tea since the night had gotten quite cold. They even arranged a room for us with an oven that we used to make ourselves some noodles for dinner.
CheckMyTour
  • DSC02727
20° | sunny | km 226

Burning Rocks

on 2012-10-31 in Turkey
The first event of the Day was at 7:30 in the morning. Basti tried putting his bike on his mainstand and lost balance. This made for a good laugh and got us started for on even better day!

We rode a beautiful street down to the ocean with some nice corners. But you had to be careful since the truckers that were taking this route weren't accustomed to bikers and were cutting the corners pretty bad. After a good breakfast/lunch at the ocean we decided to visit Olympus.

It was an old Roman harbour which was still in pretty good shape. We wandered around a bit and decided on the advice of some other tourists to have a look at a place where fire was supposed to come out of stones.

After some searching we found it and after an even longer while walking up the mountain we came to the place! It was very dry and we read that the fires in this place have been burning for hundreds and hundreds of years! We were quite impressed and spent a bit too much time there which is why we had to start looking for a sleeping spot as soon as we left.

After we found a suitable place and a bit of convincing on Fabis part we decided to set up camp and go for dinner at the next restaurant.
CheckMyTour
  • DSC02751
24° | sunny | km 463

Cyprus

on 2012-11-01 in Turkey
When we woke up we decided to visit a roman aqueduct which was very close by. We also planned to visit the Waterfalls in Antalya but we had enough time since the fairy was supposed to leave Alanya late at night.

So we walked around the aqueduct and the nearby Roman city until we found ourselves on a very small trail which soon turned out to be a dead end. Sort of lost we decided to keep going because we knew eventually we had to get back to the main road. Half an hour later and still no closer to the main road we heard some Ukranians that were also lost and headed forward to meet up with them. Together we found a way out. Quite relieved and happy about getting out we took some pictures of our small adventure group and walked to the beach to take a dip in the ocean.

We left for Antalya a little later than we wanted, but we were still making good time overall so no one really worried about missing the ferry. We arrived at the waterfall and strolled around it for almost 2 hours. It was quite beautiful and the moisture was really refreshing. We bought ourselves a couple of pomegranate juices and enjoyed them in the company of the very nice and funny lady that sold them.

But we had to be on our way and so we arrived in Alanya at 15:00 o'clock to find out that the ferry we wanted to take was not leaving this harbour anymore and the only and last ferry of the week was leaving Tasucu harbour later tonight. We looked at our maps and realized that we had 250 km riding a coastal road in the night ahead of us.

So we saddled up and got moving. The road turned out to be beautifully twisted along the ocean, which would have been great if it weren't for the sun setting and therefore us slowly getting enclosed in complete darkness. More than once we were surprised at where the road turned and so we had to ride really concentrated and slower than we wanted. Since we did not find out when the ferry will leave exactly we were extremely tense when we arrived in Tasucu at around 20:00 o'clock. Much to our relief we found out the ferry was indeed coming and leaving the harbour at 00:00 o'clock so with some time to spare, we booked our tickets and went for dinner in a nice restaurant nearby.

We had to get some extra money because after we paid 100 turkish lira each for the ticket we had to pay 37 tl each for the harbour tax which we had not calculated. Once we were on the boat a crew member told us we still needed some sort of white sheet of paper what we supposedly had gotten in the customs office. So we had to run out again and find someone to give us this sheet. After 3 more passport checks we finally got to some guy with a stamp on his belt. With the power of his mighty stamp he alone was able to approve the white sheet of paper which would allow us to travel to Cyprus. What a chaotic system!

Relieved over the fact that we would actually get to Cyprus on time and with no more worries ahead, we laid down on deck in our sleeping bags and slept tightly since we knew the ship would take 8 hours or more to cross.