Amsterdam to Turkey

So we’ve been on the road for a few days now. So far we’ve stuck to the plan; highways until past Istanbul and then slow down. I know the previous post said we’ll take it easy, for us this meant sticking to the highways and speed limit. Our plan is to leave Europe quickly and then slow down. We’ve probably established a new record though: Amsterdam – Safranbolu in 4.5 days. We both feel we have to make up for lost time because of our late start, and it’s hard to get it out of our heads. And we both know it’s nonsense, we’ve got plenty of time and it’s about the journey and not the destination. But still, I guess it’s how the mind works. We need some time to land and get used to the idea that we are going to take it day by day, meter by meter.

On the more practical side, things are ok. The leg is fine, it will be an ugly scar but it seems to heal just fine. The bikes are running like clockwork, and I’m getting used to the vibrations and peculiarities of the bike. What I thought were strange noises and weird behaviors feel normal to me now. I’m happy we have the same bike, even our fuel consumption is identical to the liter. So acceleration, range and cruising speed is the same. And the bike is heavy. I have a luggage pack on my buddy seat, which means that I cannot mount my bike normally. Even when the bike is on the jiffy (that’s the side stand for non riders) I have to get on the footpegs to get my foot over the luggage pack on the bike. I think Paul has a video where you can see me in full grace.

New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos

We’ve crossed Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and are now in Turkey. We’ve spent the nights in smaller places, and not the larger cities like Frankfurt, Budapest, Sofia or Istanbul. Instead, we slept in Idstein, Györ, Nis and Silivri. Look it up on the map if you want to know where these places are. On those long-distance days, all we need is a dinner, beer and a bed. The beer turns out to be a challenge at times, since it’s Ramadan in the Muslim world.

The border crossings were more or less painless, the Hungarian-Serbian one took the longest, about 2 hours. I had a scare when I pulled up my car registration instead of my motorcycle registration, apparently I forgot to leave the car registration at home. One second (well, maybe 15 minutes and 2 panic phone calls) long I thought I left the wrong registration at home, but I have both with me. Well, better than the other way around. The Turkish border crossing was very easy at Edirne, in an and out in about 30 minutes. We had the visa and papers prepared, and whizzed just through.

I’m glad I’m not a truck driver trying to get into or out of Turkey. The queue at the border is 20km!! long, it was said that the waiting time is about 2 weeks. We drove alongside the queue, and it is just incredible. All these trucks!

We’re in Safranbolu now, a UNESCO heritage site. Both Paul and I have a  strong deja vu – Berat in Albania looks just like Safranbolu. If you don’t believe it, just compare the pictures below.

This is Safranbolu:

New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos

And this is Berat.

2 new photos by Erik Dooper / Google Photos

Well, not quite but you get the idea.

It’s a pretty place.

New photo by Erik Dooper / Google Photos

Paul is working hard to edit the GoPro footage we made, to give you a visual impression of the past few days. I’m just using words for now.

Tomorrow we are going to look at some sights here, and have just a short drive to Amasra, our next stop.

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