Turken…now this is how it should be done!

As we ride into Turkey the net day I can barely believe what is happening. All the trouble we had when entering Turkey via Cesme on the westcoast doesn’t seem to be applicable here. They take a quick glance at our bike registration and passports and in no time we get our stamps. Now that’s efficiency! No need for a notary and no strict customs officers!

Please say it ain’t so!

The road is fun and allows for higher speeds. The views from the hills north of Lathakia are fabulous so I decide to stopfor a picture. Caro has gotten a little behind so I have plenty of time for a picture, but I start to worry a bit when after 10 minutes I haven’t seen her passing by yet. I decide to make a u-turn and for tens of kilometers I look for her but she seems to have vanished! I cannot find her anymore goddamned! I try her cellphone but there’s no answer. Maybe she doesn’t have a signal, or maybe… I start to feel very uncomfortable as I try to imagine what could have happened. I make another u-turn and closely inspect the dropoff next to the road for several kilometers but nothing! Nada! The idea of what might have happened makes me sick. I try her cellphone once more, to no avail. I ride up and down the road three times like crazy and the whole situation just freaks me out… Until finally my cellphone rings…

Trip report: Middle East 2009. Curvy roads near Antalya - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
Curvy roads near Antalya
‘Hey where are you?’
‘I’m in Iskenderun, you have seen me passing by now haven’t you?’
‘BLOODY FREAKIN GRMMMMMBBBBLLLLLL!’ it goes through my head. She’s 30 kms further up the road and I am going bananas here while almost having a heart attack. I am angry but most of all relieved. She’s waiting for me 30 kms further… it could have been worse…
We are on our way from the Turkish border to Antalya. The ride goes pretty well today and I really enjoy it. As usual Tom takes over. The landscape is wonderful, so that won’t take long before he reaches for his camera. And indeed, about 2 kms further I see him standing at the side of the road. I want to move on so I can make some progress and get ahead, so I hit my horn, wave and just drive by.
The next tens of kilometers go up and down and the road is full of nice little curves. It’s pretty windy at times too. It’s a bit strange though that Tom hasn’t caught up yet, but there’s no emergency lane so stopping and waiting is noot an option here. It’s only a good deal further up the road the road gets straight and allows for a safe stop. So there I am, a woman all by herself, on a motorbike… The Turks stare at me as if I were from Mars. Well probably the boots and the harness kind of triggers their imagination…
I start to wonder what’s wrong. I am not THAT good to just ride Tom off and the landscapes were nice but they weren’t THAT spectacular now were they?
I decide to give hime a call.
‘Hey, where are you?’ I chearfully ask. I immediately hear it is not ok. He sounds nervous, angry even. ‘Where I am???’ The other drivers must have thought I was crazy when they saw me waving and hitting the horn, but Tom didn’t see me pass by. I canimagine his cursing, especially after seeing the dropoff next to the road.
Well it might seem a bit naughty, but I didn’t really bother. Now it’s finally me who can take a longer break…

We manage to get fresh inner tubes along the road and then continue to follow the beautiful Turkish coastline. There’s the constant amazing view over the Mediterranean on the left, while on the right there’s the steep mountains. We have the sun in our face and an endless series of nice curves ahead of us. Wonderful!!! We can smell the chill days at a distance. Just another dodgy little pension on the cheap in Antalya and then it goes straight to Bodrum, except for a little stop at Burger King in Fethye. Now we’re in the middle of the Nirvana of many Turkish mass tourist and believe it or not, after a trip like this we really enjoyed it. A western holiday atmosphere, a hot and clean shower and decent food is just what we need right now.
Trip report: Middle East 2009. Kostas alias Doc, RIP - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
Kostas alias Doc, RIP

The ferry takes us to the Kos, a little Greek island in front of the Turkish west coast. We manage to rent a little holiday appartment on the cheap, swimming pool included. The cultural shock couldn’t have been bigger though as we quickly learn the vast majority of tourists here are tasteless, cultureless but above all shapeless Brits. As I see them eating the greasiest and most disgusting combinations again and again, drowning in mayonaise and covered with shitloads of fries, I tend to feel homesick for the sober Arabic streetfood kitchen. We have watched it all from a distance, we have had a good laugh but most of all we enjoyed those two bikeless days at the pool just before taking the ferry to Piraeus.
It’s pretty early in the morning as we arrive in Piraeus and we hang around a bit in a nice Greek coffee bar. We go for a swim in the Mediterranean before picking our road tyres up at Kostas and Hope. Then it goes straight to Delphi. But as soon as I hit the road, I notice a serious lack of power. The engine doesn’t spin as usual and I can hear a pretty noticeable mettalic sound. The oil level also goes down pretty quickly and the idle revs go up and down like crazy, cutting out the engine fro time to time. I even have to let Caro go on her 650 at times because my beast cannot follow her anymore. Oh boy, this doesn’t seem right at all! But we make it to the historic site of Delphi with a few oil top ups every now and then. There’s a bit of a strange atmosphere in town which you can hardly call joyful. All of a sudden, some weird prayer group starts singing the lord loudly, while holding hands, while we were looking for a jolly night out.
Delphi itself is nice because of the location on a hillside and because of the magnificent views over the environment. But the historic site is a bit of a dissapointment to be honest, when comparing it with the sites we visited earlier on this trip. It might be due to the presence of many obese mass tourist, dressed in shorts, tee and cap and with their camera dangling around their necks, or because of the busloads of Japanes they’re dropping off here.
Trip report: Middle East 2009. Delphi - Motomorgana, nomads riding around the world on a motorbike adventure.
By noon we set off to Patras and condition of the curvy road even allows us to scrape the pegs every now and then, albeit downhill in my particular case. Upphill my engine still rattles and lacks power. But our last stretch is really worth it and as I ride behind Caro, I can’t but decide that on this 10000 km trip she has learned a whole lot! She goes deep in the corners nicely, opens the throttle wider and her confidence level has gotten a serious boost. Well done baby! As we cross the impressive bridge between Greek Macedonia and the Peloponnesos, across the Corinth bay, we both know this trip is over. We will take the ferry to Italy and then follow the monotonous motorway for another 1300 kms before getting home. But first there’s another little planning session on the ferry. Next trip will be a little more south. Africa, here we come!
We’re back home… and that feels pretty strange. I don’t actually feel like being home. The contrast with last months trip is just too big.
A few months ago, I didn’t even have a driving licence, leave a lone a motorbike. But Toms enthusiasm is contageous and before even realising we were going to make a bike trip to Greece… or Turkey… or maybe Syria (it must be so beautiful there honey)… well and if we go to Syria, we might as well continue to Jordan. What started as a little trip, got alittle bigger every day. I tried to remain courageous because, no offence, from the people around us we didn’t get any enthusiastic reactions. But we persevered and we left anyway… and how? The first day we already covered more than 1000 kms. I nice accomplishment for a complete newbee if I may say so. But hell, did I cry, curse and shout! Until now my only travel experience was a beach and pool holiday. And for sure I knew these these all-in holidays weren’t really my cup of tea, but still… I had to adjust. I might look a little posh at first sight, but that’s far from who I really am. I realise that all too well now. We smelled like pigs, slept in dodgy rooms (some of them proudly selected by myself) and we ate a whole lot of hoummous with dry, tasteless bread.
But most of all, I had a really good time! I enjoyed the excitement, the unexpected, the landscapes, the culture and of course the freedom! This trip makes me hunger for more, even more exciting and challenging. And Toms enthusiasm is mine too now. I feel a real ‘adventure motarda’