The Turkish border is quite a thing... jaunty waves abounded from the armed 'kids' on the bridge but then we hit the big guns. Hut 1: Greek farewell dude and a photo of the bike number plate; Hut 2: Friendly Turk greeting; Hut 3: Main Turk a) passport check b) bike insurance (but a bargain at 8EUR); c) visa (not a bargain at 30EUR) d) vehicle stamp e) final stamp; Hut 4: customs and photo of bike; Hut 5: post-main-passport control, fierce, then super friendly and of course, another photo of the bike number plate and with more jaunty waves and, quite some time later, we were in Asia Minor, our 3rd continent.
A few things we noticed straight away about Turkey, is that NO ONE drinks coffee, it's tea, tea and more tea, in fact, our teeth have been rotted by the vast amounts of sweet, black (bonus) cay we have been given over the past few weeks - a quick visit to Sensei Di and his tooth salon when we're back I wager. There is also no Turkish Delight (boo) but lots of halva (yum) and definately no hummous (boo), our biggest problem!
It's been a Roman ruins bonanza, with visits to Troy (no Brad Pitt, alas), Ephesus, Pergammon, Hierapolis and the famous travertine pools at Pamukkale. Also the amazing 'fairy chimmneys' in Goreme (and the early morning wake up call of 20 balloons floating over the tent doing their 'sunrise over the valley' thang).
The Turkish people are unbelievably friendly and generous: one guy came out from his shop by a mosque in Sarkikargac and gave us a bundle of fruit, then brought out hot drinks and bottles of water! Then the amazing bonus night near Ankara where it was getting late, so we nipped into a likely looking spot just off the ring road. Alas, we were then waved over by 3 armed security guards, and with much use of the phrase book, it turns out we had entered the studio lot of TRT (Turkish TV), but over more cay, the guys said we could sleep in one of the spare snow ploughs, use their shower and asked us what time we wanted breakfast. Result! Then the international language of 'Pass the Pigs' game whiled the night away.
the security guys at TRT
our 'bed' for the night
Other notable friendliness was at the Abant lake campsite, which in itself was negotiated with the (again, armed) ticket guard over much cay, where we were greeted by the other campers like lost family and given almost more food and cay than we could cope with...
We were also given Turkish names: James (as he doesn't look English apparently!) is now known as Tolga (a name given by Zafer, a pide shop owner, and his eccentric American pal Delmar) and Imogen was given 'Dilara' as 'Imogen' was way too tricky.
Our original plan was to spend a month in Turkey, but with the haemorrhaging of cash on petol (about 1.40 UK pounds a litre - ARGHHH), we had to cut it short and head for cheaper countries. In fact, the petrol was such a problem that we saw cars being pushed through the Turkish border into Bulgaria, being gratefully fuelled by the myriad of petrol stations eager and waiting just over the crossing.
Now in Bulgaria, the land of free camping in the mountains, having a huge, be-tusked wild boar thundering through the long grass by our tent (with James almost whittling a pointy stick as 'protection'), washing in river water and being generally 'hombres' of the hills, after all, you can't be a true biker until you've pooped in the woods (and in the case of IM, thrown up also, after some Bulgarian bad eggs, unless it was the 1EUR wine... surely not).
James 'hombres' shaving in river water
On a more personal note for those of a soppy persuasion, James and Imogen are now engaged, with rings being purchased in the Grand Bazar in Istanbul and exchanged between the Aga Sofia and Blue Mosque... AHHHHHH...
HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!
"The calendar is magnificent!"
"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"
We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!
Next HU Events
- USA California: Sep 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Germany Autumn: Oct 23-26
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! USA Virginia: Apr 9-12, 2015
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!
Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).
"Inspiring and hilarious!"
"I loved watching this DVD!"
"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders
10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!
NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!
New to Horizons Unlimited?
New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!
Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.Read more about Grant & Susan's story
Membership - help keep us going!
Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.
You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.
Books & DVDs
All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.
MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!