First part of the trip across Europe didn’t have anything interesting for us. We didn’t want to spend so much time on spots that were easily reachable in a long weekend any other time. We planned to take the shortest way to Istanbul.
France was a bit painful, we had some rain in the beginning and an unexpected stop in Nimes due to a technical problem in rear axle of Humberto’s bike; we wasted one day there. After this point we’ve never got rain again, we only saw some clouds from time to time.
In Slovenia we headed south a bit more than expected so we had to cross to Croatia in different border, it leaded us to come to Adriatic Sea. Weather, road and environment were perfect at this point so we decided to keep going south instead of going through Serbia as it was planned. We were unable to leave peaceful driving by the sea, Serbian and Bulgarian roads were replaced by Croatian, Montenegro, Albanian and Greek ones. In terms of driving it was probably the part that we enjoyed the most.
Borders within Europe don’t require any time, most of the times you don’t even stop, in countries like Montenegro or Albania a quick look at the passports is enough, however you realize you are in different country immediately; from grey France to chaotic Italy, then the green Slovenia before the luxury of the abrupt coast of Croatia; quality of road, houses and cars around go down while we cross Montenegro and Albania, coming back to good roads and warm people in Greece.
European peaceful driving ends up when we get closer to Istanbul. Traffic is terrible there and we needed to learn quickly how to move between crazy drivers, you must become one of them to survive.
We deserved a rest after many days and many hours riding every day. Of course also our bikes deserved it and full revision was done. The bikes looked like new with some new parts.
Bikes and bikers looking forward to leave the huge city and feel free in the road, not that free after a couple of speed fines, but still enjoying riding, and also enjoying tourist spots (Pamukkale and Capadoccia).
We wouldn’t learn the lesson of not having the tank almost empty when we are close to a border this time. That was the first border where we had to wait some hours; we would get use to that from now on.
Warm people from Iran welcomed us, they were always interested in our weird bikes; nothing similar is sold in there. Every time we stopped we were surrounded by a troop of curious. Crazy drivers appeared, Teheran was full of them, we had to run away of the big city to enjoy good landscapes, a bit of desert, forest, montains… country of contrast.
We entered in Turkmenistan in the last moment, the border closed right after we passed, it helped us to speed up the huge paperwork; we got some blames in return from the officers that had to extend their working time for us.
Almost without fuel we struggle to get into Ashgabat, probably the strangest city I’ve ever seen. New brand Government buildings with pure white marble and golden pieces are the cover of a military state that pretends to be different to the tourists’ eyes.
We started to have technical problems when we tried to cross the country through the desert, when we visited the door to the hell we suddenly fell on it.
Our visa expired before leaving the country because of the problems in the rear tyre, we couldn’t repair it properly because the size of our tyres is not used in all Asia Centre.
Almost deported from Turkmenistan we entered in Uzbekistan, a great family hosted us while we visited Xiva.
Right after feeling save we had to deal with the same problem in the tyre. One of the motorbikes got the main city at the opposite side of the country by truck, where we were able to fix it better and cross the border to Kazakhstan, without any problem this time, just 4 hours waiting.
We rode a couple of days and then stopped in Almaty, a big city where we are waiting for a shipment from Spain with proper parts for the bike. We have been here 4 days, enough time to update the blog. We are supposed to receive the magic box tomorrow and go on with the trip.