April 19, 2007 GMT
Getting started, finally

So I want to go around half the world on a motorcycle! Hmm, plenty of reasons to do that: experience strange cultures, meet interesting people, see beautiful places... Well, there are more convenient and safer ways to do that than travelling on two wheels to the middle east and crumbled ex-soviet countries. So why am I still gonna do that?
Here are some thoughts on the whys, the hows and the whereabouts.

Have you noticed my trip title? Originally I didnt want to name my tour in order to not make such a big deal out of it. I wanted to keep expectations and the pressure low, especially within myself. In the end, not having to give in to certain pressures is part of the freedom I want to have during the trip.
But, somehow the title I chose above made it into my mind. Partly for obvious reasons - I'll be travelling SOLO plus I should be FREE as a bird! But there's more:
In climbers terminology "free solo" means to climb without a rope, which means if you fall, you go all the way to the bottom... As a climber I must admit though, I'm too much chickenshit to actually climb any difficult route without a rope. But the mindset and philosophy behind free solo, the maximum responsibility for your own actions, the need to use all of your abilities and the very intense feeling of life which results from increased risk (no matter if perceived or real), is a big part of my motivation for the trip.
By starting from home and gradually going to more and more remote places I hope to get accustomed to being with less "rope" than in normal daily life. And I know, as probably everbody does at the HUBB, that it will feel soooo good once I get going, once I'm on my way.

So after all this writing one thing becomes clear. This journey IS a big deal for me, the pressure in myself has built up in the past weeks (especially since I wanted to leave about 10 days ago) in a way I havn't experienced before. And I think that deserves a title and me rambling about it. I'm ready to go. Tomorrow I will start!

The Route

The route:
- Germany to Turkey via Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria (April, May)
- Sidetrip to Israel via Syria and Jordan (May, June)
- Carry on from Turkey towards central asia over Georgia, Azerbaidshan, Turkmenistan, Usbekistan, Tadjikistan, Kirgisistan (June - September)
- Then maybe China, KKH to Pakistan, India, find Nirvana - stay there (Oktober - ...)

The Bike
click for larger image

The bike:
- MZ ETZ 251 Saxon Tour
- 21 raw two stroke horse powers
- cheap, easy (to fix), light and reliable (lets see...)
- fitted with Alu-Boxes and very solid toilet paper dispensers :)
- sheepskin from my grandparents sheep. feels so good!


The Kit:
I'm not gonna list all the things. It's lots, but reduced to fit into the two boxes plus tankbag (which is actually a converted backpack - I still want to hike/climb a lot).

Kit Packed

... all packed!

Ok, that's it for now. I'm gone! The first leg goes to somewhere in Austria, en route to Budapest. Yeeeehaaaaaaaaaaaaaw!
cu later

Posted by Andreas Naumann at 11:56 PM GMT
April 24, 2007 GMT
Hallyho from Budapest

So last Friday I finally managed to leave Rosenheim at 4pm. I didnt even make 200km before finding a nice spot for my sleeping bakg right next to a farm house near Bad Goisern.


First overnight spot

I opted for not putting up the tent, but at 5 in the morning I learned, that sunny days do not mean dry nights! The downs of my sleeping bag were soaking wet and so it got quite chilly at about 5 degrees outside. I got into my pants and threw the tent canvas over me. That fixed it.
In the morning I was glad though, when the grandma from the house invited me for a coffee to warm up. We talked for quite a while and she revealed some of her worldly wisdom to me. Among it the fact that one shouldnt marry earlier than when 30-40 years old because that only creates problems with breakup and such. See mom, I'm on a good path still...


The wise grandma

so when I left it was almost lunchtime and the wonderful twisty roads through Steiermark and the Gesaeuse together with an extended lunchbreak at a nice riverside didnt let me get to Budapest as planned. In eastern Austria I then went to a campsite, a little worried, because the bike has repeatedly "coughed" when going uphill on high revs. Also the front brake is always dragging a bit. And regarding engine sound I seem to be paranoid because I always imagine new funny noises developing. A beer and talking to the couple who run the campsite relaxed me and so later that night I even tried to do some star photography.


Nightsky at my camp site

Riding a straight road but enjoying the nice countryside I made it to Budapest on Sunday. Here I met Peter from the Hungarian MZ Klub (www.mzklub.hu) who showed me a student dormitry I could stay at. Though not really cheap, I at least had safe parking in the hallway (theft, even of bikes like mine seem to be a big problem in Budapest). Imagine that in Roncalli (my dorms in Munich)!
I had to get up at 6 in the morning though, because the Fuchtl (other word for rigid manager :) ) of the house still shouldnt see the bike inside.


Safe Parking in Hotel Martos in Budapest

Peter was thrilled by my bike, took lots of pictures, apparently they dont have that model here in HU. He then showed me around the city. When I told him about the bike coughs he immediately called some friends and got me a date with the mechanics and members of the hungarian MZ-Racing team (www.MZRacing.hu) at their repair shop.
When I went there at 9 the next morning I didnt know I would spend the entire day there. They welcomed me, immediately started taking the bike apart, which went a little too fast for me. The translator guy was not there yet and they just talked to each other in hungarian what might be the problem (which Peter only briefly described on the phone). Finally the didnt have a good idea about the "coughs", if it was ignition failures or fuel problems. The only suggestion was to change the ignition system again (which I had just done a week ago, after the old one broke and I stopped suddenly - another reason for my late start). I didnt want to do that, since its not a big problem but we did some other work - changing the head gasket, new bearing for the front wheel and fix the brake problem.
Since I had to wait for the paying customers being served first this procedure took all day. But I had a good time, the guys were very friendly, nobody minded me running around in the garage all the time. In fact most of the customers stayed there for a few hours, watching the mechanics work, making fun, having a good time. Sort of a hang out place for motorcyclists.


MZ Racing team from Spirro KFT, Üllői út 202, Budapest 1191

In the picture on the left is Mr. MZ or Bambi, Oldtimer Champion 2001 and 2002 on a ETS250, then me, then Kutrin Zsombor (the Space) 2005 champion on a ETZ250, then Semi who is the one to call (+3612810535) in case of problems and to the right my favorite mechanic Hegedda, very funny guy.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day we couldnt get a part needed for fixing the brake. I had to order it from Germany which would take 2-3 days. Bummer, I didnt want to stay here that long. As last resort, Semi called his brother to bring by the brake of his BMW K75. He thought it might have the same rubber in it and was willing to give it to me so I could go on while they wait for the part from Germany to arrive. When his brother came I couldnt believe it, that thing fitted perfectly. That made my day!!!

Coming back to my room I realized how tired I was, fell asleep till 11pm. Couldnt sleep afterwards, so I took my camera stuff and went up the Gellert hill to take some nighttime shots of Budapest.


Castle hill and the danube seen from Gellert hill

Ok, this blog got kinda longish and it's only about my first 4 days. I guess I will keep myself shorter in the future.

After all I'm really happy how the trip is going so far, because I'm moving, stuff happens and I make interesting encounters everday.

Posted by Andreas Naumann at 12:29 PM GMT

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