About spermicide and desert riding!

While in Astrakhan, we bought some tooth paste in a minimarket.

Look we found the display with soap, shampoo, tooth brushes and some tubes. You may think it must be, surely, toothpaste!
In the evening, I went  to brush my teeth, poured the paste  onto my brush. It did not feel right. No smell, strange texture, no taste. I hesitated and putsome on my fingers… The cream  was so sticky i could not get it off even with soap. I typed the name of the box into google translate bit no translation, although in roman characters it started by “spermi…… ”   Ewwwww! Did we buy spermicide by error?
The tube went straight to the bin!
Monday 12 th May – 243 miles – into Kazakhstan
We tried to leave town early, but with the usual run around town to find the correct road, we were outof town around 10 only. Eventually we found the border. The crossingw as uncomplicated and we wereout of Russia and into Kazakhstan in a bit  more thanan  hour, including time to change some roubles into Tenge, and also to buy some insurance for the bikes.
Our guide book was adamant that the police was very corrupt and would try to get bribes out of us. In  fact, most ingnored us. Few were curious and started to overtakeus and   drive next to us for a while, to have a good look! Maybe when they saw our dusty old bikes and battered dirty saddlebags, they thought “nah look like tramps, they don’t have money!”
In Kazakhstan, the scenery changed little by little into desert.we  saw our first asian camels ( with 2 humps!).
Kazkhs people were  very curious of the bikes. At a fuel pump, as we were to leave, one local turned up in an old battered bike with side car. We got talking and he asked where was the kick start. We said it  waselectric and   I demonstrated that by starting my  bike. Next thing i know the guy sits on it….. And go  for a ride with it! Not far but i was worried for a while!
The road in Kazakhstan was a nightmare, in such bad condition  there were potholes everywhere, it was hard to avoid all of them and the bikes got quite a battering! Some sections were unsurfaced but not better!
After all afternoon of this, we arrived very late ( we lost another hour to time travel! Minus 4 hours to London time!) we arrived late in Atyrau, around 7:30 pm… If you work in oil and Gas, you may have business to do in Atyrau, else, the town is in the middle of the desert…
Tuesday 13th May – 286 miles – beyneu, Kazakhstan
We left Atyrau after the usual rund around town to find the correct road. The road out of Atyrau was in better condition but the wind was so violent, it was like my helmet was trying to get through my skull.
It was incredibly hard riding. Although originally we wanted to make it to Beyneu, we felt it was too far to ride in those conditions. There were a couple of villages showing on my map. We passed one, and a second… Nothing there for us to spend the night… We continued.
Eventually around 8 pm we got to Beyneu! We found the only hotel in town, wildly overpriced, but we   had no choice. Our room had no bathroom, so we had to use the communal showers and toilets.
I usually have no problem with that, except that the toilets were the ceramic hole on the ground variety! I hate them, they are unhygenic. As you  croutch to pee ( for women!) the urine rebound off the ceramic   Surface and get all over your shoes and legs.. Great if you wear shorts and flipflops! Back to the shower then ! Hurgh!
Late that evening, a motorcycle group tour (4 bikes and a 4 x 4 support vehicle) turned up, they were from moldovia.
Wednesday 14th of May – 162 miles, Uzbekistan
In the morning, as we packed our bikes, we met the moldovians, they were very friendly. They were goin the same way that us. So we left them there, sure to meet them at the border. We went to buy fuel and  extra fuel to carry, as we knew the next town in Uzbekistan would be about 300 miles. We then bought 3 bottles ofwater and   some food, as the Uzbek border crossing is notoriously slow!
We then got on our way. The wind was still very violent! 30 km before the border we got more fuel, and were overtaken by the moldovians. The road to the border was awful and then turned to dirt, sand and gravel!  We finally got to the border. Our moldovian friends saw us and waved us through. We skipped the  queue of cars and parked next to their bikes.
Now, one thing you must know about those borders control, there is a queue, and you have to get into the compound to start the process. Getting inside is therefore very important. Once the load of people in the compound is processed, they let in more vehicles… We were fast tracked and allowed into the compound when the gates opened again!
Then being processed out of Kazakhstan was fairly straightforward, again, not sure how, but with help of the moldovians we were processed ahead of the queue for passport controls! It took an hour!
Then we rode the short distance to the Uzbek border!
I will spare you the details, only that thanks to our new friends,we  got through in about 3 or 4 hours, jumping queues and being told by them what todo as   it is i possible to guess and no one to help!
Some locals get stuck there for several days! We met few days later some germans ina guided tour who spent 8 h there! So we were lucky!
Once into Uzbekistan, ourfriends left. As we got out, after changing some cash, we passed a small hut, and saw our friends again! The hut was selling insurance! We got some for our bikes.
 Few miles later at a police check point we were asked for it!
The road was its usual awful surface with millions of potholes and sections of dirt. It was incredibly hot and windy, by then we had been all day at the border, so we were very tired and hungry!
The next “town” was a good 200 miles away, too far to make it. We carried on as it was no point setting up camp early, and we had too little water left! That was true desert, straight road for 200 miles with not much…. Intense heat, we were drenched in sweat in our motorcycle gear with no hope of a shower!
There was a spot in my map were we   hoped to find water. So we rode well into the evening. Just before the turning to a few houses, there was a police check point. They were not interested in our documents, only to take our picture! We asked if we could find accomadation and water in the village, but they told us no! However, they told us that 5 km down the road, there was a teahouse that was also a hotel, and we could find food and water! I could have kissed them! We got there by 8 pm and we saw the bikes of the moldovians! 
 
We got a room with shower and dodgy plumbing but to us it was paradise, with food, water, and a shower! 
 
To be continued….disaster and problems the next day! 
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where is the road?

Saturday 10th May – 300 miles

We leave the very pleasant town of Budennovsk early, as  no breakfast is provided. We are not registered with the police yet. This is usually done by hotels, if they can bother! I plan to get that done in Astrakhan as we can get in trouble if not. All foreigners must get registration, as often as   possible if we   move around.

 
Outside the hotel a guy is standing out smoking. He helped Alistair get the bikes out of the building site that is the ground floor. We were told it was not safe to keep the bikes out at night and the teenage girls running the place told us to put them there.
 
Anyway, we ask him for the closest petrolstation and   he gives us precise instructions and i am very happy i understood him as all is in russian of course. We find the place and get some pasties as breakfast.
 
We discuss the best way to get to astrakhan.
 
The first one is to follow the easy road west then north, via Elista. It is quite a detour. 600 km to astrakhan….
 
The second is to ride East on the main road, and cross a big section of northern Dagestan. That  republic is the most dangerous of russia and full of extremists, with lots of violence, murders and insurgency. I am not too keen!
 
The last option is to take the secondary road up north east, that show as a shortcut ( see map below), I know how shortcuts usually end up like! We decide for that option anyway!
 
 
We set of on the main road East, looking for clues to our secondary road turning. we  don’t find it….
 
We ride for a while and stop in what may be someone’s house with some fuel on sale. The teenager and the lady there come to see us. They are quite a sight but friendly and explain that we are already in the correct road and tell us where to go as there are some cross roads ( or tracks better said!).
 
We set off at the right turning and   get on a  decent gravel road, but it gets progressively worse … And worse.. And worse! 
 
 
 
( yes we did miles and miles of this hideous road!)
 
 
It is the perfect test for our little bikes. A section of that road, for several miles, is probably the worse we have ever done. The bikes are perfect for that and I even manage to get through sections of deep sand and   gravel without falling off! 
 
Eventually the road gets back to a nasty very bumpy gravel road,but at   least we can make some progress and we arrive by 3 pm into some tarmac and there is even a fuel station and a cafe!
We stop for some food and drinks.
 
There is no food on show and the menu is impossible to understand. We are in Kalmikya, the food is chinese style rather than russian.
 
The locals are chinese looking and descendants of the hords of Genghis Khan. They came from some chinese provinces and stayed in Kalmikya. The food seem to reflect that. One guy is eating somesort of   stir fried in the cafe, we  point at him and the lady bring us the same.
 
 They are very friendly and come  out to show me where to find the loos and seem very attentives. We seem to provide some sort of entertainment  everywhere we  go as people usually seem quite happy to come to us and offer to help and ask questions. 
 
We then get back on the road as we still have a long way. Our map shows that once passed Ulan Khol, we only have 25km to the main road north to Astrakhan…. We ride and ride…. Pass some farm tracks but no road. We get to Lagan! How is that possible? We could not have missed the main road, unless it does not exist? Well, it may exist, but not like our map make it at least! 
 
We find signs to Astrakhan that we follow. After several miles, suddenly there is a fork. The sign and road indicate a village. Ahead of us is a hideous track that would not be passable to cars and trucks! It can’t be! 
 
We do a   U- turn and ride into the village. 
 
I spot a police car and use my horn to tell Alistair to stop. As we get our helmets off, the cops are coming to see us. I get my map out. After a discussion they try to explain to us how to find the road but i fail to get that. I understand that there is a section of 10 km of bad gravel road, before tarmac. I don’t know what happened to the major road! 
 
As we don’t understand all their explanations, they make us sign to follow then! They get on their car and we follow them for several miles. At one point we see two young lads hitchhikking. The cops stops their car and we stop behind them.  
The officer gets out and frisks the lads, presumably for knifes or weapons? And then he gets back on the car and we are off again! 
 
After a couple of miles we stop at an intersection. The paved road continue, but he tells us the road to astrakhan is by the gravel road on the left.
 
We thanks the cops, shake their hands and set off again. It is getting late and we still have a long way to go! 
 
After about 10 km we cross a village and we are not sure where to go.  A guy in a 4×4 stops and we ask him. He points at the road and we continue. We finally find the tarmac and eventually the E119 that  we have been looking for some time! It is under constructionan d probably does not exist further south yet! Or only like a farm track! 
 
After a long tiring ride, we get to astrakhan as the sun is setting, and  find a hotel by 8 pm, without difficulty. Bikes must sleep on the street, but the girl at reception tells us it is not a problem. Too tired to argue! 
 
Out for some food we find a japanese restaurant, but at least the menu show pictures of the dishes. We get in and order some food. Once again, we seem to provide some entertainment to the girls serving!
 
Back to the hotel i enquire about the registration and the girl at reception tells me we will have it tomorrow.
 
Sunday 11th of May – miles on bikes: none.
 
We have a day rest as our visa with Kazakhstan does not start untill the 12th (tomorrow).
 
Few pictures of the town below.
 
Inside the kremlin complex.
 
 

No clue what is going on here!

That is how to ring the bells at the top of the tower! A guy dangling up and down with the ropes at the top of the tower!  Health and safety guys in the UK would have a heartd attack!

The Volga!

Statue of Lenine.

Our hotel with the bikes in front.

Buying stuff in a shop and getting the bill calculated with an Abacus!

We had no idea how much to pay!

Into the Motherland

Tuesday 6th May – 229 miles

We spent the night in Batumi, in a brand new guesthouse. It remind us a lot of south america with the funny plumbing! Smell of sewage coming of the brand new bathroom and toilet flush noisy enough to be heard from outside. The owner is friendly enough and the bikes sleep in the front yard.
The morning is cloudy. WE get up and leave as there is no breakfast included. The traffic is maniac and dangerous but we manage, by luck, to find the highway to Tbilisi. We are not going there but planning to get to the historic town of Mtskheta ( about 20 miles north of Tbilisi) with its very old cathedral, monastries and castles!
After a long ride, avoiding crazy drivers overtaking anywhere anytime, avoiding cattle, goats, sheeps, horses etc  left free to roam on the road and potholes big enough to swallow the bike, we get to our destination for the night. After a bit of searching we   find a nice guest house in the centre.
We have a nice walk around town in the warm weather, and nice diner at night. The food and wine in Georgia is indeed nice! But by night the weather turns stormy!
Wednesday 7th of May – 86 miles.
We leave Mtskheta mid morning as we are not in any rush. We want to get near the border with russia and get through the following morning. We always try to cross borders in the mornings if we can.
The weather is cold and it is raining! Again. This spring if definitely aweful!
We aim for the national park of Kazbegi, high in the mountains. Lots of people go there for highking and climbing. And it is the only road into Russia.
As we get closer, the weather turn awfully cold, thehigher we   go the colder it gets, and then the rain starts!
We stop at a side restaurant for a rest and to warm up. We then get back on the bikes with all our layers. You can bet the day we get our summer base layer out is the most freezing day! And so it is!
We climb into the clouds, the visibility is very poor, the road is steep and with very tight turns, the bikes turn asthmatic and very slow but get us to the top  at over 2,400m. It is incredibly cold. Then we start descending a bit. The views are stunning though, and in clear weather, it would be biker paradise!
We get to the village by mid afternoon and after the usual run around get a guest house, it is warm, they have the heating on and   hot water!
Thursday 8th of May – 107 miles
We leave after a nice breakfast provided at the guest house.
We then ride the few miles to the border. Getting out of Georgia takes about 15 minutes. We then ride few miles to the Russian side.
There is already a queue! A guard bark few orders to the car in front of us and to us and we get into a line. There are 2 lines for foreigners, and 2 for russians.
The weather is still cold and very windy, but at least it is not raining.
After a while a guard gives us forms to fill for the passport control. W then leave the bikes and go ahead to the little hut to get that done.
The line hardly move. Then someone asks us about anothe form. We finally get it that for custom we need to fill a form. W find them in an office, but they are only in russian! Back in the office we are pointed to a sample form in english. After filling them, weq go the the Custom office hut, at the front of the line. It seems there is no order, you just go. After having to refill forms again, cause our were wrong, apparently, we go back once again. We finally get through, after about 3 hours! I don’t understand why it was so slow.
The other lane was as slow as ours! Essentially armenians and few azeri cars and coaches.
After that, it is past 12 and we stop near a big building, few 100 metres from the border. We have been told by one of the soldiers that we could buy insurance there for our bikes. It is easy to find the office. Once all is done, it is nearly 1pm.
We finally get back on the bikes. The weather is atrocious and again very cold, windy and lots of rain, despite descending from the mountains.
I must add the staff and soldiers at the border have all been friendly and curteous.
We get a bit lost in Vladikavkaz, the 1st big town on our way, but after asking a guy in the street with my aproximate russian, and few u-turns, we get on the correct road north. As we get colder and colder, we decide to stop at Nalchik, instead of continuing to our planned destination of Mineralnye Vody, which has natural springs, i guess, and is very touristic.
We turn a bit in Nalchik streets and spot some cops in a corner of a main junction. We stop and i go investigate. The cop i speak with is very friendly and i manage to understand his instructions. There is a hotel quite close. We get there and call it a day! It has been a long day! And very cold! Again what happended to spring?
Friday 9th of May – 160 miles
We have done about 3,300 miles and been looking for a place to do an oil change for some time. Alistair do just that in the morning while i try to find an ATM that will accept to give me money! Always a problem but find Sberbank and that one works.
We then set off and back i to the highway M29 riding north. The weather is still very grey and cloudy, but as the afternoon set in, the sky clear off and we even see the sun.
We are not in any rush as our visa for Kazakhstan starts monday 12 may. We decide to stop at Budennovsk, as after that we need to take the back roads ( to avoid dagestan!) and we won’t find easily accomodation for a long time.
We arrive and find immediately what appears to be the only hotel in town!
We then go for a wander. It is victory day in russia and people are drinking and partying. Cops everywhere on the road, which is good as they drive like mads and it is very stressful!
At the town centre there are many people. It remind me very much of american Midtowns. It is afairly  pleasant place.

Georgia and the road to nowhere

Sat. 3rd May – 223 miles.

We left Niksar, a pleasant little town, nestled around a canyon, with steep streets and stunning views over the mountains. Turkey has been awesome so far and people very hospitable.
We picked up the mountain road, and up we went again. Once again it got colder and colder as we climbed the mountains, only to warm up a bit as we got down the valleys. We passed many villages.
Then a tunnel, the wind is so chilly, i think we are still at altitude, but no, on the other side, the black sea. It is barely 16 degrees…. I expected semi tropical weather!
From there on the road is unbelievably dull, a 4 lanes road along the seaside.
Very strange as this sort of motorway is  barely 50m from the sea, so anyone living there has to cross or use one of the rare underpass…. I guess there is no tradition of going to the beach!
We try to find a hotel in Trabzon, at the end of the day, but get caught up in crazy traffic. People jumping in front of me, vans trying to crush me against another van…. It is insane.. I shout at few drivers, using plenty of F words and things to do with their mothers that cannot be written here !!!
We get out of town and find a hotel by the side of the road.
Sunday 4th of May – 109 miles
At breakfast in the morning we see few men and 2 girls. The girls have about 6 inch heels, very heavy make up, hair extensions and clothes that hookers would blush to wear…. I think they are hookers… Turkish women wear occidental clothes but not like that! Alistair is not so sure…. So night in a  knocking shop then!? Ha!
Back on the road we decide to find a place near the border and do some washing, as, funny enough the weather has suddenly warmed up and become humid! It’s 23 degrees!!
We find a place in Hopa and do some laundry in the bathroom. We then have a look around town to check if we can find a sheepskin! We fail but have a nice walk around and  a nice lunch.
People less friendly by the black sea, although when we stopped for lunch yesterday, a man and hismother  came to see us. He said his mother saw the bikes and she wanted to say hello. She gave me a hug and a kiss! She seemed pleased to meet us! Nice people.
Monday 4th of May – mileage not noted …..
Strange day today!
We set off to the border, it was quite busy but we got through in about an hour. We had a long wait at custom behind lots of lorries and buses. Eventually we were in! We stopped just after the Georgian custom to change our turkish liras and get some cash from the ATM machines.
The weather had turned semi tropical…  It got up to 33 degrees…
Then we decided to take a nice road across the mountains, instead of the main road.
The road surface was pretty bad and then cows are left free to roam so we had to be very careful to avoid them, as well as giant potholes and cars stopping randomly on the road, usually after a bend!
We stopped for some lunch at a cafe. We asked some stuff from what we could understand on the menu but the woman there just seemed to bring ramdom things. When i said in russian harashow ( good) she gave me a big hug. Not sure why all matronly women these days want to hug me! Maybe I am getting cute with age?

Then we continued. We must have done about 65 miles and arrived at a small town. There was a very big square with lots of mini vans and taxis and lots and lots of men waiting around.

We stopped to get some water, then tried to continued. After many roads ending as dead end,we  found one going up the mountains…. For several miles… Until it ended, you guess it, as a dead end too.
The local farmers came to enqurie and try to help but we had to turn round. Bck to town we tried again but, from what we understood from some people trying to help us, the road was unterrupted or unpaved.
We could not find the right road. Another trail going out of town was blocked by a truck and did not look good.
We gave up and came back to Batumi for the night.
Oh and we lost another hour to time travel!

Riding into the storm

Thursday 1st April – 264 miles (Turkey)

Sorry for typos but not easy to type on an ipad!
As we woke up, the weather was cloudy but dry. We left Afyon and continued on the D-300 east, passing Konya and Aksaray. We were then in Cappadocia. The road had been a superb 4 lanes since Cesme.
Soon after leaving the hotel, we stopped for fuel. We put some chain lube on both bikes and decided to chek the oil. Few days ago it had been fine. Well, this time, Alistair’s bike was dry! Not a drop of oil to be found! Oh dear that was not good! We bought a bottle and filled it. The engine sounded better after that. We had been complacent, once again. Not the first time on our trips! We continued, wondering if the bikes would actually make it further than Turkey…
We came off the D300 early afternoon, riding toward a touristy town of Ilhiara.
We did not get there in the end. We stopped for a look and decided that, as we would need to ride back the next day, the spot we were in was good and there was a hotel nearby. We stopped there. As it is still low season we were the only guests. On the plus side we managed to get some beer at the restaurant, albeit at a price! Oh well what do you expect in touristy places! Even the hotel was wildly overpriced comparing with previous hotels.
Friday 2d May – 321 miles
After a mediocre breakfast we left by 9 am.
First, after running the engine few minutes we checked the oil again. Alistair’s bike was dry again. No leak… That was a big worry now! We rode few miles to the nearest fuel station and checked the oil again…. This time it was ok. Fewwww!! What a relief that was, but from now on we are checking every day. Alistair also found out the bike runs better with a bit of oil in! 😀
We decided to take the scenic route across the highlands and mountains… And it was scenic! Absolutely  spectacular. Unfortunately the few photos we took don’t show the best…too hard to stop every 5 minutes… The best views are in our memories….
We passed then the touristic town of Goreme and rejoined the D300.
At a fuel station in Goreme, we got talking with a local. Our intention was to continue east via the Central route. However one man told us of a couple of really nice places going toward the black sea. He also said something about ” the situation” further east on the central road….. We decided to follow his advice and aim for the little town of Niksar… And avoid ” situations”!
Once again we took some minor mountains roads that provided amazing views! A we rode East we could sea a very clear cut zone of white clouds and then black clouds…we were riding straight into a storm! However, with our change of plans, as we left the D300 and turned north,  we just skimmed the edge of the storm, getting wet here and there but finally getting away!
We went through some gravel and unsurfaced / under construction roads. Our little bikes behaved impeccably! We arrived at a hotel in the centre of Niksar by 7 pm, covered in mud, but happy! It had been an amazing riding day, great twisty mountains roads, magnificent views… And great dinner at night!

Miserable day

Weds. 30th April – 147 miles ( Turkey, Afyon)
What a day! It started gorgeous enough with the most impressive breakfast buffet! There was an incredible amount of stuff to chose from, lots of it not sure what it was so we sampled few things.
As the weather was cloudy we put our waterproofs on and loaded the bikes, it was time to move on.
That’s when Alistair checked my bike and tried to start it. Nothing happended. We tried again, several times, same thing. The light will be on but the bike would not start at all! Not  good.
We started removing the bags to examine the bike again, nothing obvious. It could be the battery ( it was new), the voltage regulator, the starter motor ( new as well)…..
One lad, Kenan, and the receptionist, came out to check on us. After many gestures and using google translate, kenan and Alistair tried to bump start the bike by pushing it on a side quite street. They got it started  but did not solve the problem!
Kenan , whose honda CG125 was parked next to ours, phone a mechanic who arrived quickly. After some time looking at the bike, Alistair and Kenan bump started the bike once again, and Kenan guided Alistair to a workshop, while i waited at reception with the luggage.
About 2 hours laters they were back. Success! This is what happened. The starter motor was completely seized and as a result the Relay ( solenoid) was also broken. The shop next door had a starter motor that fitted the bike! Then the mechanic phoned someone, and 5 minutes later, someone brought a relay, that also fitted my bike! Quite remarkable, or all those little 125 have standard type of parts that can be swapped between models?
Cost fo all this? Parts and labour 90 TL ( about 42 dollars)…. In the UK a Honda starter motor costs at least 130 pounds!
After many thanks and exchange of details,we left, soon after midday. The people there had beenvery helpful   and friendly.
The destination for the day was 250 miles away, still doable….except that, as we kept going the weather turned to storm and it got progressively colder and colder, and the rain and wind was relentless…. We stopped after a while to get some fuel and i added a jumper.
An hour later we stopped again as it was too cold. We were given some tea ( tea and coffee seems to be usually on offer for free at fuel stations!) by a lad in the restaurant near the fuel station. I got my feather jacket on and my under gloves.
As we climbed to 1000m altitude we got even colder and stopped again. Around 3:30 pm we pulled at the usual restaurant sitting next to fuel stations. The staff there told us to come behind the counter near a giant barbecue to warm up our hands. We were totally shivering and could not get warm.
They gave us some tea, and as the kitchen was open, we decided to have a kebab to warm up a bit.
The kebab came with plenty of side dishes and salads and pickled chillis… They seem to love chillis here!
We got the maps out. It was clear we would be able to go very far in that sort of weather. Our gear was wet, the gloves were drenched inside as the water seeped inside from the jacket, and my plastic rain over trousers were leaking…. After drinking more tea brought by the staff, we decided to get to the nearest town, Afyon, which seemed to have plenty of hotels, acccording the the GPS.
So went back under the storm and made the 30 ish miles to Afyon.
We stopped at the first hotel we saw from the side of the road,  and got a room. It was a business hotel / thermal spa. We got all the wet gear hanging from my camping washing line and the placed looked like a gypsy camp with stuff all over the place. One of the panniers was also leaking water and some stuff got wet despite the dry bags! Gear was drying everywhere. Not a good day in total! I expected that at least in Turkey we would have some sunshine, instead this has been the coldest and wettest day so far!
What happened to Spring?

Ferrys to Turkey

Sunday 27th – 5 miles

We went to get some fuel and rode to the ferry terminal by late morning. It was a massive ferry and we got a nice cabine actually, tiny but fine. We had previously bought some food for the 24h trip at a  super market.
Then we went for a beer at one of the ferry’s bar, because that’s what you do on a ferry!
Monday 28th April – 138 miles
We arrived at Patras at 2:30 and we lost another hour to time travel! Another hour forward for our watches!
We managed with a bit of effort, due to no road signs, to find our way out of town and into the main road to Athen and Pirreus. One day it will be a nice motorway, for now it was only dual carriage way with hard shoulders,a nd 70 miles of road work…a lthough we only saw two tiny teams working for all that distance… We did as the locals and got out of the way of very fast cars by riding on the hard shoulder! We eventually found Pirreus and the ferry terminal and ensured a connection to Turkey, via the Island of Chios.
The first fery was leaving at 9 pm so we had time for a stogy gyros.  We then rode to the ferry. This time i could not bother take off the soft panniers. We took few essentials for a shower and left the rest hoping no one will steal our dirty clothes!
We had a “luxury cabin” as duals were all full and we could only have shared same sex ones! For 14 euros more we expected just the same tiny cabin than the ferry before, but with some window? Well, wrong, it was huge! It even had a large bath!
Tuesday 29th April – 117 miles
The ferry was due at Chios at 5am and we ahd a wake up call at 3:45!
We were out by 5 am and we found a coffee open. We crashed there until 7 am. We could not see any other ferry. We eventually made some enquiries and were told to go to the other side of the terminal! Go figure!
Anyway, we found our connecting ferry. It was leaving at 8:30 so we had plenty of time. This ferry was tiny though. Ther was a big struggle, by the crew, to fit a car and a camper van. The camper van very nearly didn’t make it and the driver and passenge were stuck in the van once parked inside the ferry!
The crossing was only 18km so it was done under an hour.
After that we dealt with the passports. We then had to walk to the insurance office, in the town centre to get insurance for the bikes.
All in all it took maybe an hour to get to Cesme:
Once the bikes were released by custom we were on our way for a late brunch. By then it was 11 am and we had been up for hours!
The staff at the border control was really friendly and helpful.
Then it was time to hit the road. We passed Izmir with great difficulty due to lack of map, unreliable Gps and terrible drivers.
Turkish people are reallynice and   friendly, but, like in brazil, they turn into maniacs behind a wheel.
It was a stressful moment. We survived and got out of town and into the road to Ankara ( that we intend to avoid!).
Tired after such a long day we arrived at a little town, found a nice cheap hotel. Sadly none of the hotels we found had parking but we were assured it would be fine to leave the bikes on the pavement.
Time will tell!