It is exactly one year ago that we were about to discover a gem: Turkey. The land is beautiful and draped with good roads. The people are friendly and helpful. Several times we have had tea with police officers and if we should choose one country to get motorbike problems than it is Turkey though. I’m sure we will be helped everywhere.
And don’t forget the food. Throughout Turkey and even budget traveling the food is diverse and tasty. Istanbul and Mediterranean Sea coast are popular destinations but Turkey is much, much more. A delight for the senses and a bikers paradise!
Outside the cities Turkey has wide views and the pace is quiet. We passed through stunning landscapes; from the green hills near Bulgaria, to the rugged mountains to the east. The roads that run throughout this huge country are mostly great to drive and well maintained.
Crazy driving in Istanbul
Driving your motorbike in Istanbul is crazy! The metropole has more than 14 million inhabitants. The streets are busy and people like to drive fast, resulting in a chaos for the newcomer. Turkey might not be as adventurous as for instance Mongolia or Tajikistan, driving through Istanbul was the scariest thing we did. But don’t let yourself fucked up by al the idiots on the road and after a while you will be fine!
We really loved Istanbul. Unfortunately we only had two days in this giant city with so much to do and to discover. In these days we enjoyed the banks of the Bosporus and the district Sultanahmet with its famous mosques and Grand Bazaar.
One of the best things in Istanbul and throughout Turkey is the food. Everywhere you go, may it be on the street, in a hotel or restaurant, we experienced that the food was always delicious. Good food while being on the road is a valuable thing and in Turkey that summits. The tasty food in Turkey is therefore not comparable with the crapy food we got in many other places along our trip. Another great thing food wise is that it doesn’t matter if you are on a budget or not. For whatever price the food you can get is diverse and tasty.
Tucked away in the middle of Turkey lies Amasya: a small historic town on the banks of a river and a popular tourist attraction. A nice place to add to your route for one night or a sunny terrace.
The areas around Trabzon in North-East Turkey are superb. Drive inland from the Black Sea and you will enter a beautiful green mountainous jungle. In one of these inland valleys running away from the coast you get to Sumela Monastery. The monastery stands on a rock wall, but you can almost get there by motorbike through a steep and adventurous small path. Christians founded the monastery in the year 386 AD.
From Hopa via Ardahan to Georgia
Sometimes you think you are lucky in choosing to take a certain route. Even though you’ll never know that for sure because you have not tried the other route. Anyway, going from Turkey to Georgia we took the road inland from Hopa on the black sea. From Hopa the road immediately starts rising and you enter a beautiful mountain landscape. We were there in March and in the higher areas there is still much snow. Around Ardahan the landscape changes and gets more barren. In the last stretch towards Georgia the road starts descending until you get to the river. From there it is only a little further to the border. This border in the mountains means nothing and is very quiet. Only be aware of the aggressive dogs. On the road preceding the border post a crazy three-legged dog attacked Pieter. After hitting the dog, which hobbled away, with the motorbike we were able to continue our way with shaky hands.