Update: 12 oktober 2009


Day 44.

Update where we are now..
In Aqaba Jordan.


Update: 11 oktober 2009


Day 43.

Update where wo are now..

Week 4. From Turkey to the Middle East

After my wife left on the red eye flight at 4.00 I returned to the hotel for a short nap. Before I knew it the alarm went of and we had to pack the bikes for a service interval. I also needed a new back tire. We went to Borusan BMW Motorad in Istanbul. Straight trough morning traffic and that made us arrive a hour late. No problem, they said and we were met enormous hospitality! After servicing they also washed the bikes and off we went from Europe to Asia over the large bridge. Also smack full with cars and accidents. We intended to get a ferry to shorten our riding time but missed it and took another one ½ hour further on. This to cross a estuary which would have cost us 2 hours riding. Daylight was fading so the first campsite was ours. A quick meal and a beer and the day was over. Next morning we intended to reach the white chalk cliffs of Pamukalle. A tough ride of around 500 kilometers. We enjoyed the landscape enormously and even the diesel trucks who made daylight sometimes disappear couldn’t spoil our spirit. We were also surprised by the quality of the roads. Stopping frequently to enjoy Turkish tea and turn the map on my tankbag, we were always greeted and with a big smile. Turkey is like a lot of country’s we passed through mainly agricultural. And in late September there was a lot to do . And a lot id done by hand and horses still. Late in the afternoon we reached Pamukalle. Impressive, but there was not enough daylight left to travel and we opted to stay there and visit the site next day. There are campings but before we could decide we met a nice person who offered a room and everything for almost nothing including internet. We had a pleasant evening. The site and village are deserted after all tourists from the coast back in there coaches for the 4 hours drive to Antalya. Next morning at daybreak we walked to the site en enjoyed every minute of it. For the ride to the coast we had opted not for the shortest way but the more adventurous one! I added a shortcut in which we would safe 30km or so. And adventurous it was! We had no detailed map or gps data and had to ride on compass and sunlight. The villages we went trough where so genuine and old that we thought to be in the late 60ties, except that they had all sun collectors on their roofs for hot water. And hot it was, 28 degrees Celsius. Also heights up to 1500 meters had to be taken. After one hour I had to confess that we could not find the right way out and headed due East to meet a the highway we needed. On the last mountaintop I had to stop because a herd of goats were crossing the road. I was just getting my camera as I saw a giant herd dog approaching me from behind. And I mean giant as in “Hummer” size! I didn’t hesitate and sped away trough the herd which made him even more angry I think. So throttle open and go! He followed for 200 meters and then I realized that Bob had to pass him as well and he was behind me!? When I looked back I heard him honking his horn and saw him wildly kicking and at the beast… But also he made it through safely. We laughed about it, probably nerves, for minutes and continued to Isparta and Eskidrin.
There we had a perfect lunch on the lakeshore. Lunch in a restaurant is mostly what they serve at that moment. That makes ir fresh and fast to get. This time very tasty sandwiches with chicken and beef. From Eskedrin we took a mountain road trough a gorge in the direction of Antalya. Beautiful in one word, and very challenging in riding. I looked frequently in my mirrors to see how young Bob was doing but he did fine which made me feel proud. After the gorge it was one straight run for Antalya, the big tourist city on the coast. I had never been there and now I know that I never will !! It is one big circus of giant hotels and entertainment parks. Full of colored bands wearing “All inclusive” tourists and hotels as big as little villages. The look like Disneyland! The friendly Turkish people and drivers we met
So far had disappeared and we had to fight for our space on the road which let to near collisions and me sticking up my finger for the first time after Helsinki. We never found the camping we looked for and headed east along the coastline where there should be more campings according to my map. We found a mobile home parking behind a gas station and stopped after 468 km. We argued about the price and eventually paid nothing. What was nice is that we met a German couple from Berlin who stayed there as well in there tent. She in her 70ties and he following her close behind. They where former east Germans and after the wall came down in 1989 they traveled as much as they could. It was nice to hear all there story’s. We went then to Aspendos where one of the best conserved Ampfitheaters is situated. And before all tourists had arrived. When they do come they do not understand how we came to Turkey on the bikes. And when we explain it that we intend to go to South Africa they are stunned. After Aspendos we had to ride East for as far as comfortable. The mornings are cooler and riding along the coast and Mediterranean it was very tempting to stop and call it a day. The road through the mountains is one of the most beautiful and challenging I have ever ridden. Very technical and with lots of overtaking, Super!! At one moment the mountain pass stopped and we rolled into a coastal village with a camping along the sea! It was 15.00 hours so why not? We stopped, turned around and turned into the camping to be stopped by the police! We had been speeding and they thought we tried to flee the roadblock ahead. Oeps, and we had to follow them. The speed allowed had been 70 and ob and I did 94 with a big smile on our face! All had been filmed and papers had to be shown. It was clear from the beginning that the oldest police officer had no joy in writing us up. The youngest although had different plans and he started to write us up. First question, what is your name?, sounds simple but he spoke hardly any English. So I gave my name Visser, Arnoldus Anthonius. Fathers name? Visser, Arnoldus Anthonius. He looked up and asked again. Bur I am precisely named after my father who probably laughed from heaven and looked how I would talk myself out of this one? Then he looked at Bob. Name, Visser Bob. Fathers name? Visser Arnoldus Anthonius. At that moment he gave up and threw our driving licenses on the cars hood. The older officer started laughing and gave them back to us. We could go. I thanked them both and we asked for a photo and gave them some souvenirs. We then proceeded on as we didn,t dare to return to the camping and have to pay after all. We proceeded east, what’s new, and ended up at a beautiful little hotel at the coast in the little town of in Buyukeceli. It is called the Hayat motel and the owner and his staff are great people to meet. We decided to take one more day rest just for the place of it and its quietness. We met two world travelers on motorcycles during that day. One from Switzerland and the other from Germany. We asked for all information we could get to make more plans and plan our future route. It looked more and more that Egypt is a difficult country to pass and we still got no visa for Sudan and Ethiopia. Next morning we left for Syria but then disaster struck! 30 km after leaving the hotel we entered a nasty corner and Bob lost control. His front wheel slipped on the oil covered road and he went down, scraped the surface for 15 meters and came to a standstill. Luckily he was unharmed and didn’t even had a scratch. His Revit suit protected him well ! The bike was another story. It was damaged in such way we needed repairs before we could ride on. So after a hug and contacting the Dutch Motor club ANWB we decided to return to our old hotel and adjust plans. We needed spare’s from Holland because they are not available in Turkey and some spare tires if possible. I called my dealer and good friend Joost from Joost Motoren and as it was Saturday and lunchtime all our other biking friends where there as well. Plans were made and to make things short, we got all parts the next morning by a courier and friend Carl via Antalya by plane. I drove 675 km to get them next day and Bob went to the local welder to weld all needed. Next day, Sunday we repaired everything with the help of duct tape and tie raps and it worked!! Monday morning we left for the Syrian border again and this time all went well. We arrived at the border at 15.00 hours which is not ideal because it can take 3 hours to cross. But with the help of a so called fixer we made it through in just 1 ½ hours. I will post a separate chapter in what you have to do for further travelers later on this site. As daylight was fading we went to the nearest town being Aleppo and found a hotel. Well it called itself that but it was more a sleeping place without any luxury what so ever. Next morning we left for Damascus via a visit to the crusaders castle of Crac de Chevailers. This was a long cherished dream of Bob and I must say it is worth it. We also took a hotel here and could there for leave all our gear in the hotel. We took all afternoon to visit this immense castle. Next morning we set of for Amman, Jordan to get more information on our trips documents. The ride was uneventful except that we were flagged down by a group of motorcyclist on Harley’s who had technical problems. We stopped of course but couldn’t help them. One of them had a broken ball bearing. Where did I hear that before?? The border between Syria and Jordan was crowded. We decided to try to cross it without help of a fixer and it worked. Also due to the fact that at the Jordan site all spoke perfectly English. We found also out that motorcyclist do not have to stay in line with their bikes behind cars. This due to the temperature of 36 Celsius! So on to Amman were we found a mid class hotel we could afford and which was full of Dutch tourists.
The next day we went to visit the Dead Sea and had a good time. All embassy’s are closed on Friday’s and Saturday’s so we used the time to file reports, get a haircut and see if we can find a way around the barrier of Egypt. We are looking for passage from Aqaba in the south of Jordan direct to Port Sudan or Djibouti. It is a lot of work but so seems to bee passing Egypt and the ferry at Aswan to Wadi Halfa.

We will keep you posted!! Regards Nol & Bob.

Update: 09 oktober 2009


Day 41.

Update where wo are now..
In Amman Jordan.
Maintenance..is important Bob.

Report of visiting countries