30.08.03 In the 4 days in Esferhan I met Greg with his Enfield again, he had made it somehow over the Pakistan / Iran border without a Carnet in only 3 days. Also Andy on his Africa Twin showed up at the hotel and we decided to make it into Turkey together. From Esferhan we took a shortcut over small roads and ended up on gravel in the middle of a beautiful part of the countryside. After some dusty photo shootings and trying to figure out who gets the most stylish around the corner, kids stuff, we ended in a small village where houses are build of mud and clay, as mostly in this area, we got invited by a family. After parking the bikes in the courtyard dinner was prepared and we tried conversations with hands and feet and the help of a textbook English / Farsi.After a good night sleep, a breakfast and after wishing each other far well many times we where allowed to leave.
In Tabriz we easily found a hotel and ended the day with a walk around town. The next day was again a bit of a service day. Since the oil change in Pakistan the oil temperature was getting quite high 110° – 120° C what had never happened before even in the Australian outback. OK it was really hot in the Baluchistan Desert and now in Iran as well but I didn´t had a good feeling. So an oil change and synchronizing the carbs was quickly done.
Then when leaving the hotel someone spoke to me, a student who wanted practice his English. Something that happens quite often. So that was the task for the rest of the day. From Tabriz it was only 300 km to the border and getting the exit stamp from the Iranians was a bit confusing but then done in no time. The Turkey site was the most time consuming I had so far on this trip. After waiting 30 min. at a Gate to reach immigration and customs and a stamp from a health check person ???? for what reason ever they had a power cut so all the computers where not working. After 3 hours lying around and sleeping they got back the power and the chaos started, many people where waiting by now. After some palaver with customs and some extra money for them we finally where free to go. Dogubayazit was only 30km more and it had a great campsite with a great view and yes the first cold beer was excellent.
After deciding that I wanted to go north, along the Black Sea, the next stop was Sumela where a monastery is build into the rock, really impressive. Then over Samsun where I stayed directly on the beach, great J, and got strait away invited to a BBQ even before the bike was parked. Lot´s of German numberplate's here.
Then on beautiful roads along the coast I slowly made my way to Istanbul and Europe.On the Bosporus? it is a strange feeling on one site of the bridge you are in Asia, on the other in Europe and it hurt´s a bit at least in your pocket when you fill up petrol the first time, autsch.
Getting into Greece was no problem, stopped 2 days in Asprovalla and slowly got the feeling that I´am not sure if I like Europe. To organized, to western it is hard to explain. A look on the map and I decided to got trough the Balkan to reach Germany.
The border into Macedonia was the first, pain in the ass, the problem I needed a “ Green Insurance card “. After 1 hour explaining that the bike is registered in New Zealand and there is not “ Green Insurance card “, there maybe is but I haven´t one anyway, I had to by one 50 Euro or turn back. Ok after spending 50 Euro crossing Macedonia took me 2 hours, 170 km. Then on the Yugoslavia border the same shit and again 50 Euro. Even these two country's show no obvious signs of war damage anymore, at least from the main highway, and the nature site is beautiful these are the 2 most frightening country's I have been. Lots of military on the road and the people look very angry, and or scared. Anyway I was happy to arrive in Hungary, no Green Insurance card wanted, and it´s friendly and relaxed again.
Getting into Austria was also no problem and yes now there are no border controls anymore, yes. But all this highway cruising takes it´s toll, one cylinderheadgasket started leaking, the front tyre still from Pakistan starts to disappear, only the rear TKC80 is still ok after 18000km.
Yesterday then I arrived at a friends place in Bavaria, I´am in Germany unbelievable, and what does this guy he is in hospital nothing serious but no good timing anyway.
So next Saturday I will arrive in Kevelaer where this journey ends and the planning for the next trip will start
To everyone I meet out there, save travels in the future it was great to meet all of you and maybe we will see each other again on the road or when anyone makes it to New Zealand you are more than welcome to stay at my place just send me a mail.
And to anyone I haven't met have a great journey.
PS.: To everyone in NZ looking forward to see you soon.
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