...to beautiful Turkey!
After Tunesia and Morocco another motorcycle tour, cooperatively organised by the Tourenfahrer magazine and Edelweiss Bike Travel, has started today!
Befitting the title, the tour starts in the adventurous and rich in history city of Istanbul. Of course, there is a lot to see in Istanbul and you could spend a lot more time to see even more.
So we decided to start the tour with the first of our three restdays to do some sightseeing. Our group of 11 bikers took a mini bus into Sultanahmet where all the famous sights such as the blue mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace were waiting for us!
First we went to the blue mosque...
...which is called so because of the blue colour used in the interior of the mosque. The blue colour is supposed to represent the blue sky.
Next we went to the world famous Hagia Sophia. Definitely my personal highlight of the day!
Although there were many other visiters inside the place still carries a special atmosphere!
Look at all these beautiful calligraphies!
In a mosque the 'Mihrab' is the beautifully decorated place pointing to Mekka. This one even had a special cat guard
Weatherwise, Istanbul didn't appear at it's best...
...but we made the best out of it by having a break during our sightseeing tour and our first encounter with the Turkish cuisine.
These are Uwe and Klemens together with our guide Kaan.
The Bosporus is a very busy water way! Compare the size of these huge vessels running back and forth this bottle neck! I can imagine this is quite a dangerous job for the captain!
16.10.2011 Istanbul - Beypazari
Excitement in the air! Today is the day! Our bikes, the 1200 GSs and the 650 GSs, are waiting for us at Istanbul's BMW dealer. Sina and Robert are our partners here in Turkey and they perfectly arranged all the bikes to be there in perfect condition! What else can a passionate biker wish for?
Every day 17 (!) million people in Istanbul are trying to go from one end of the city to the other, which is about 120 (!) km. You can imagine the result... traffic jam, of course!
We, however, were lucky! It took us "only" 1 hour to get over the Bosporus bridge!
The first 100 km out of the Istanbul area brought us into a little city called Akyazi where we enjoyed lunch in a typical Turkish restaurant. Mostly these restaurants are run by the men! Hey girls, the food they cook is not too bad !
Puuhh! From now on, the ride was guided by rain and cold weather. The lowest low was 1.5 (!) degrees! The right things to warm us up again were chay and Sahleb! You can describe this typical Turkish drink as a more fluid type of vanilla cream with cinnamon on top. Delicious!!
17.10.2011 Beypazari - Cappadocia
Our wake up call came on time! Trust me, you won't oversleep...
With still wet and cold weather conditions, we were climbing our bikes in Beypazari early in the morning. The route to Kapadokia is about 380 km and takes us to approximately 1200 m of altitude.
You can imagine our joy when we finally saw the sun coming out shortly before the Cappadocia area! It was still cold but at least we could hope for dry conditions!
The area south of Ankara mostly is a plain with lots of wind. Stunning views, again and again!
A long riding day came to an end with a chay at the Göreme coffee place where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the fairy chimneys!
You can get the typical Turkish 'lucky eye' all over Turkey.
Patrick and Orsolya between the fairy chimney houses.
Yep, now you know the original model of these houses...
A beautiful end at a fantastic sight at the end of a long riding day!
Sina and her new friend were awaiting us at our hotel here in Üchisar, a vilage next to Göreme.
19.10.2011 Restday Cappadocia
Today, we had our second restday. Actually, we planned to go ballooning over the spectacular Göreme area! Due to strong winds, however, our ballon flight was cancelled. We'll try again tomorrow morning!
Instead, we went out for a nice ride to Güzelyurt and Derinkuyu. In these places you can visit underground cities, one of which used to serve as a shelter for more than 5000 people! What an experience to go 7 (!) floors underground!
Mind your head Analiza!
This was supposed to be a living room!!!
Analiza, Peter and Michael...discussing how to get out of this maze?
The real business people here in Turkey are the women trying to sell their handicrafts. Of course, they are waiting for you in the right spots.
The Hassan mountains and...
...the vast and beautiful plain aroud Güzeljurt
Well, I think you can discuss about the right way of waving while riding a motorcycle...
A nice restday's ride came to an end back in Üchisar where we found the place just in perfect light for some good pictures!
20.10.2011 Cappadocia - Konya
Well, sometimes it is worth being patient... This morning the bikes have to wait a bit longer before we hit the road to Konya. We're blessed with sunshine and the best winds you could possibly have for ballooning! At 7.00 a.m. we were ready for take-off.
With Cappadocia ranking among the five top places in the world to go ballooning you can imagine our excitement! And believe me - we had a splendid time up in the air!! Just enjoy the pictures...
Marlise and Michael full of excitement...
Some more impressions...
Can you believe this?? For a split moment I thought our pilot wanted to park the balloon on the main road!! Luckily he didn't
A breathtaking and fantastic 60 minutes later we landed safely and returned to the hotel full of impressions where the nice people from our hotel awaited us with breakfast... yummy, yummy!
Ready now to start our ride to Konya, the spiritual capital of Turkey!
The reason to come to Konya is the Mevlana Museum! Mevlana (meaning 'our master') was the name of the spiritual leader of the Sufi order. You might have heard of the whirling derwishes. We couldn't see them whirling but learned something about their way of life in the museum. Sorry, no pictures allowed inside!
Look at my boots! Some of the roads here are really dusty! Uwe showed me his "new" motorcycle boots...
Curious what the shop for motorcycle boots looks like in Konya??
With the shiny boots we have now we could even enter Mevlana's mosque without taking them off!
21.10.2011 Konya-Cirali (Antalya)
About today's riding day there is no more to say but... fantastic roads and curve after curve!!
We also had an unbelievable tea break in a little village called Cevizli. Turkey is said to be one of the most hospitable countries in the world! Klemens and Patrick say 'yes, it definitely is'!
This very hospitable guy spoke German and told us a lot about life in Turkey.
This game is very popular and is called "OK". You can see a lot of men playing it in tea shops.
A wonderful riding day ends with another little adventure! The burning fields of Chiamaira!
After dinner in our beach hotel in Cirali we went to the place to see the continuously burning fires on the rocks. Even if you cover them, they self ignite again!
22.10.2011 Cirali - Göcek
A romantic start into another day of fantastic riding...
The south of Turkey has some really nice roads to offer! In the mountains as well as on the coastal road.
This is Orsolya, Patrick and Klemens chasing curves...
27.10.2011 in Canakkale
Wow, time is flying!! Today, we arrived here in Canakkale and already tomorrow will be our last riding day back into Istanbul! Two weeks of good times with fellow-riders and locals, plenty of good food and, of course, lots of tea and Turkish coffee...
During the last days we have seen so many highlights!
Amazing sights such as Pamukkale and Hierapolis or Aphrodisias and Ephesus. Not to mention the outstanding roads Turkey has to offer!
Splitting up into two small groups allowed us to explore even the well-hidden backroads. Every now and then we met again for a chat over the best roads to take...
Slowly autumn settles in here in Turkey and offers colourful rides through the fantastic landscape!
28.10.2011 Back in Istanbul
Way too early, our adventurous tour of Turkey has come to an end. All of us made it back to Istanbul safe and sound!
At the farewell dinner we unanimously agreed that Turkey is the perfect country to explore with a motorcycle! You can find so many backroads that you could probably spend month's to play around...
Today, we say good bye but all of us are sure to come back to this beautiful country full of contrasts...
I'd like to say thank you to all of my fellow riders for sharing this tour! I hope to meet you again somewhere out there on the road!
Your tour guide, Angela