Austria - Italy - Slovenia - Croatia - Serbia - Bulgaria - Turkey - Georgia - Azerbaijan - Turkmenistan - Uzbekistan - Kyrgyzstan - Kazakhstan - Russia - Mongolia - China - Hong Kong
On this site you will find some info on both of us, our bikes, some of our friendly helpers in Hong Kong and London and loads of pictures on our trip.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Hoping to post much more detailed stories in a day or two with full load of pictures.
Thanks for all your support !
Monday, March 24, 2008
Baku is a very well developed city on the Caspian Sea and it seems they have invested a lot of the petrodollars to rebuild the town entirely in its original state. The historical town is full of old restored palaces etc... They are constructing new buildings all around but they seem to respect the city style.
We have very little time as we need to prepare our ferry journey over the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan. We anticipate this to take the best part of 24h-48h and we need to prepare for food, drinks etc...
In Turkmenistan we aren't sure of finding an internet cafe, so it might take us 4 days to post something new.
I've updated the pictures on the album
Saturday, March 22, 2008
The Gergia-Azerbaijan border crossing took some time and for some reason they issued us with a 3-day transit visa while we already had a tourist visa from their London embassy (and we had paid for it...). Don't ask us why; we were simply glad to be left in the country in the end.
We rode through the western part of the country on a fairly decent road and made good progresses despite gusting winds and threat of rain throughout the day. The first petrol stop was a bit of a struggle and it took us a good hour to change US$20 into local currency to fill my tank - we ended up going to the black market as all the banks were closed (Easter) and none of the ATMs was taking our cards.
People are very friendly so far and constently wave at us on the side of the road. Only (annoying) hic is that the police seems to make an habit of stopping us for no valid reason. happened twice today and so far no backsheesh but they were clearly asking for it...
Our impression of Azerbaijan is so far better than Georgia (eventhough we ended up having a very good stopover in Tbilisi). Well-developped country side, some sign of living industries, decent infrastrutures (you can the the petro-$ effect) and even a few wineyards - the ultimate sign of civilisation... (young plants only with concrete poles)
We are now staying in Seki, a historical town on the edge of the Causcasian mountain range. No much chance to discover the place yet but definitely looks nice. We plan to visit a few cultural sites tomorrow on our way to Baku before catching the overnight ferry to Turkmenistan. The ferry logistics is said to be a bit of a struggle... let's hope for the best !
(deserted roads on the way to the Azeri border)(lunch break - communication was difficult !)
(young vines - clearly somebody said they wanted wine done in Azerbaijan)
Friday, March 21, 2008
I continue to believe that the Soviets have really destroyed or at least not given the necessary funds to keep the glorious Georgian past.
Recently though, Georgia has started to restore some of the older tourist attraction in the Tblisi area. In that area and Tblisi you actually start to feel the greatnes of the country again. Realising that 1/2 of the country's population lives in Tblisi, probably the reason why all the efforts have been done here.
Few people venture further out and my view on the countryside stays, a decaying place.
(Cow crossing the motorway)
(Inside the main church in Mtskheta)
(Outside of Mtskheta)
(The road we took to get to the monastery outside Mtskheta)(Tblisi)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
We had a lazy day, excellent weather, mınımal drıvıng and enjoyed a Turkısh bath to close the day...Man that was good!
Tomorrow we wıll head North East and try to get to Zara a small place before contınuıng for the Blacksea coast and Georgıa.
We are both doıng great and ın excellent mood.
We took tons of pıctures today but haven t got the cameras wıth us now, so more to come ın the next days.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
We fınally arrıved ın Goreme before the sunset and found a lıttle hotel where our room ıs ın a cave (lıke ın the Byzantıne tımes)
Friday, March 14, 2008
We were stopped twıce by the polıce today. I thınk the fırst tıme because we drove a bıt too fast on the empty four laned road (whıch we took for a motorway) but as soon as he saw us, the polıceman was chattıng wıth us and tellıng us the rıght dırectıon. The second tıme, a polıceman wanted to check our papers...I dıd as ıf I dıdn t understand, whıch I dıdn t for a whıle but then I handed over my drıvıng lıcence and he was more than happy wıth ıt. He chatted wıth me wıth some broken German about our trıp and that was ıt. I lıke those cops.
The scenery was excellent and we drove 363km ın total. My odometre ıs now at 3033km sınce my start ın Munıch. We drove most of the tıme at approx. 1,000m, peaked at 1,600m wıth temperature of a mın of 0 degrees celcıus.
I fell 3x tımes today. Nothıng happened to me and only tıny damage to the bıke (a handguard ıs a bıt cracked and a box ıs a bıt bent). The fırst tıme was a very smooth sand/gravel, the second ın mud...I should soon get the proper tyres on the rıms and the thırd tıme because I was too stupıd and forgot to put the sıde stand before leanıng the bıke for a stop!
Cyrıl was doıng fıne and wıthout hım I couldn t have pıcked-up the bıke, ıt ıs now so damn heavy.
We arrıved now ın Saskıkaraagac, a small lıttle town ın the mıddle of nowhere wıth 1 OTEL and ıt even has free ınternet!
Turkey ıs beautıful and people here have contınuously been so nıce.
Tomorrow we wıll head for Goreme ın Cappadocıa.
(Fınally sun and beautıful landscapes)
More pıctures have been added to the photo album...sorry ıt took too long to add them to the blog dırectly for some weırd reason.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
A few hıke-ups but ıt got done and we are now back on the road ın Central Turkey headıng towards Goreme. We spent yesterday nıght goıng through all our bags to offload everythıng possıble - gaıned a bıt of space/weıght but have now to bear wıth a set of spare tyres each for the off-road portıon of the trıp - Contınental TKC80 for the specıalısts (not possıble to obtaın later on durıng the journey).
(tea wıth Salin)
(playıng OK for money - the local domıno)
Monday, March 10, 2008
(Nicco in the Serbian montains)
(Nicco's new ride in Sofia)(new friends on the Turkish highways)
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Pour Chopator: On a pense a toi au McDo de Belgrade... et aussi au cours des derniers jours sous ces conditions meteo de m.... Tout ca pour etre la en Juin ! ;-)
(Austrian embassy in Belgrade)(Pour Manon)
Friday, March 7, 2008
It felt so great to be driving again after being stuck on the Croatian coast for 2 days.
In Zagreb, Cyril and I had our first fall. NOBODY should worry. We were both at standstill, Cyril came to close my bike and a strap at Cyril s bike caught something at the back at mine and hence destabilised the bikes and we fell. We had a big laugh. Nothing happened to the bikes or us but this is Official Fall nr.1 (Maddy, how right you were about today).
Some other stats today: We had our coldest day (-3.5c), it was my wettest day (the bath was soooo great) and I drove my bike over its first 1000km with me! My odometer is at 1120km.
I have finally downloaded my pictures from my camera, hence sorry if they include many pictures from the start to now. I have also updated the photo albums (see links in the right column).
(Cyril 10mins before being sick)
(Special pour Manon)
(Special pour Manon nr.2)(After our wet drive...finally at the hotel)
A BIG THANK YOU TO:
- Maddy, the head of our "London HQ", special technical and weather advisor, and because she is simply the best and has been so supportive over the last few months
- My family and friends for their understanding and moral support
- Robert Roe (alias Bob) from Motoselect Franham for preparing the bike with such good care
- Anastasia from thevisacompany for helping me deal with so much red tape
- Claudio von Planta for sharing his valuable experience on Long-way Round and Long-way Down and answering so many of our questions
- Ronnie, Emmanuel and Benjamin for their enthusiast support and precious advise
- The Techtransalp team for their excellent website and advertising our adventure
- clearly Manon as she has always been supportive of this trip even though this means 3 months without me
- My mother for not giving up on me, for receiving all the parcels at home in Austria and for not freaking out!
- Amy and Steve for pushing over several months to keep focus on the organisation
- Xavier, for trusting me to be in France in June and be his best man at his wedding
- Cyril, for posting our tracks on the blog
- Louis, for looking into getting Continental to sponsor us
- Romain, for getting us the Turkmen visas
- My friends for all telling me "DO IT"!
- Claudio von Planta, Sambor and Maciej for sharing their great experiences on their numerous motorbike trips
- Henry, Yau and Tan from BMW HK for their support with the bike, the preparation and the bike sale
- Yasser, Mark, Michael and Christoph from BMW Munich for their help with all the accessories and the last minute bike purchase
- Bertrand and Alice for your help with the tyres in Almaty