Saturday, October 11, 2003  

Custom Ural

Video describing custom ural belonging to our mechanic Andre in Yekaterinburg who was also a member of the Black Knives

View the Video

posted by Shaun; | 6:24 PM


Istanbul Baby

Outside my window the call to prayer mixes with the hustle and bustle of Istanbul below. We are back in Europe after crossing the Hellespont over the Straits of Bospherous. That makes three continents now by motorcycle.

We left Russia 5 days ago with a sad heart, heavy mind and a light wallet. It was disturbingly emotional for both Matt and I (Ilja said there was a reason the germans left the first time) who have grown to love this massive country with big hearts and generous souls (and shapely bodies) The country has been remarkably different from what we thought about it before starting out and we really only thought that it was going to be a transit point to the other places that we had wanted to see for a longer time.

This of course turned out to be false and the country and it's people made a huge impression on the both of us. All told the final days were a rather morose affair as if one was dealing with a new and great friend only to have to fare him well before truly getting to know him.

To all our friends that we have made in Russia, you have made our trip for us and we will always remember your kindness, sincerity and the words "Malinka Vodka"

Moving on, the Ferry across the black sea was a simple affair with customs and immigration being smoothed along the way by a variety of interested parties and before we knew it we were standing on the back of the ship with our bikes tucked deep below in the company of many trucks like three baby kittens surrounded by a herd of cows. Before us lay the rapidly diminishing lights of the port of Suchi (waaaaahhhh sniff) and the muffled sounds of a disco playing French disco music beckoned us inside.

The night was a long one, lengthened by the rolling waves and shortened by the beer and whisky and fabulous conversation of a Moroccan woman telling us her story. The morning greeted with a howling gale and rough seas that tossed the boat around like a . . . well mid sized ferry on the black sea . . in a um storm.

With me constantly checking the bikes in the hold below and Matt constantly checking the hull of the ship, it was only a few hours before we docked in the relative safety of Trabzon where the formalities of customs and immigration awaited us.

Trabzon is on the north east portion of turkey around 1100km from Istanbul which would give us a few days at least to get a feel for the country which we most certainly did.

After clearing customs which cost us about $50 each and Matt an extra $100 for the visa we ventured out to find an ATM to get some local currency before heading on our way westwards along the gorgeous black sea coast with it's mountainous landscapes. Mountains and water - my favorite.

The first night left us on a beach camping with some locals who we couldn't work out if they were doing it by choice or not.

The next day after another 400 km or so we cut inland and continued through the rough but well paved terrain which meant our progress was quick and effortless, leaving us plenty of time to view our surroundings with the honor of a connoisseur smelling a fine wine.

The following day after camping out in the thistle capital of the world we gathered our wits around us and tramped the final 600km to Istanbul, crossing the bridge and seeing the first McDonalds since Alaska which we all dutifully ignored in our state of natural bliss we have been living in for the past four months - alright we were hungry! there was nothing we could do.

The coming days will comprise of fixing the bikes and taking a trip down to Troy and Gallipoli before I head on to Greece and the others venture northward . . . . .

"I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money."
-Pablo Picasso

(images provided from other site due to us not being able to get our photos on the web for the moment)

posted by Shaun; | 2:08 PM








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