The diaries - 2   

18 August



It was two very weary, stiff and grouchy motorcyclists who left the ferry at 6 a.m. in Igoumenitsa, pedestrians, cars, lorries and motorcycles all charging down the ramp at the same time. A pact is made – we never sleep on the floor again surrounded by inebriated Ozzies.

Apparent immediately is the difference in temperament between the Greeks and Italians. Smiling faces, shepherds waving to us high up in the hills, friendly staff in the shops and cafes. We travel across Greece, back to camping with temperatures in the low thirties.

Motorcycling is addictive and we have to remind ourselves to stop and look at the historical sites – and when we do they are boarded up and out of bounds!
One theatre that was being excavated, in our minds, it was spoilt by being reconstructed on top of what ruins were left. Time Team ‘and this is what it might have looked like’!
We did do one touristy thing though, we swam in the Aegean. Just the once, sand is only good for mixing with cement in our combined opinions.
We make no apology for belting through Greece, our mission was to go to a small village in Gallipoli we had visited four years ago on our return from Mongolia.
A chance meeting then on the ferry from Cannakale to Eceabat with Hikmet Dogan the motorcyclist with Rossi tendencies on his GSX 750. He could speak no English, we no Turkish, he invited us to stay with his ‘second pappy’ it was wonderful.
When Hikmet heard our bikes entering the small village of Beysol, his howl of joy could be heard across the peninsula. He flew out of his garden where he had been sitting with his family and friends, dragging Mick from his bike and kissing and hugging him. There were tears all round, laughter and pantomime gestures. He still couldn’t speak English and we still had no Turki

Our bikes were commandeered by Hikmet and taken into the garage, there was no doubt where we would be staying that night.
It was a very special two days for us, to be befriended by this family, taken to see his ‘second pappy’ in his garden/museum again, the botanic shower was still hanging from the grape vines.Hikmet took us around both the Turkish and Anzac grave sites, some that we would never have found and his love and respect for the Anzac soldiers shone through.
It was a magical interlude for us, who knows if we will ever get the chance to return?


Again, I guess, Sue has covered most things most admirably.

The highlight for me so far was meeting up with Hikmet again and meeting his family.  There was a family gathering at Bekirs place, the Botanic Garden, which brought back so many fond memories. 

Hikmet has now exchanged his GSX750R Suzuki for a Hyabusa but he still has the rear registration plate tucked up underneath the rear mudguard…. impossible for any camera to record, for he commutes weekly between Beysol and Istanbul at over twice the speed limit. Fond farewells and we move on, riding ever eastwards. But before we cross the Dardanelles we do a slow figure of eight round the Gallipoli peninsula and take in more of the memories and landmarks of the Gallipoli campaign. 

We ride in to the ferry port and we’re waved on to a boat.  We don’t ask, we presume it’s going across to Cannakale, but it doesn’t really matter as we laugh together. The sea is rough, and as s
oon as we’re off the boat we head east, we’re back in Asia and loving it. Sue soon turns off the main dual carriageway and cuts across country. This is what she’s good at. We’re on a small road through mountains and forests, in places the road is washed away or under repair but the road is ours.  For forty miles or so we twist and turn, rise, crest and dive, this is our world and we’re on our motorbikes.Now in a small town well off the beaten track, at Sogut, where the first Ottoman empire was started.  The hotel is dry but a small shop across the street is doing well selling small black plastic bags with something in them.  I go in and buy a small black plastic bag and it happens to have two bottles of Efes Pilsen bier inside.  Hotel Ayyldez doesn’t mind as we retire to our room and use the hotels WiFi.

Just over two weeks in to the trip and the pounding beating of the heart in the chest cavity has gone, the “What if’s” have gone.  It’s one day at a time now, the brain is in chilled out-mode.  This trip is going to be six to eight months on the road, tomorrow will take care of itself one way or another for sure, and yesterday can’t be taken off us.  It’s a state of mind this game… and it’s great.


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