Adventures in Turkey: a 5000km Hayabusa tour



hayabusaTravels

Registered
Hello everyone!
May I share with you all a wonderfull tour of Turkey?
First of all, let me tell you a bit about myself:
I'm a Hayabusa '99 owner and I like to do country tours on my motorcycle, rideing with my wife.
I'm from Romania, english is not my native language and hope you'll forgive any issues on this department.

This is my Busa, picture taken in Çanakkale:

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my wife is struggling to keep it on two wheels :)
In the background is the Trojan horse prop from the movie Troy

Anyway, back in september 2018 I decided to do a trip to Gobekli Tepe in Turkey because I'm passionate about ancient histroy. Gobekli Tepe is "only" 12500 years old, known as "The First Human Temple".
We left on the 17th of september and got back on 7th of october.

The rute was: Bucharest (Romania) - Bulgaria - Turkey: Edirne - Çanakkale - Troy - Izmir - Pamukkale - Antalya - Alanya - Anamur - Mersin - Şanlıurfa (Gobeklitepe, Harran) - Halfeti - Gaziantep - Adana - Goreme - Ankara - Eskişehir - Bursa (Cumalıkızık) - Istanbul - Edirne - Bulgaria - Bucharest.

It was an epic trip.
In september 2019, I also did a 31 days tour of Greece (including some islands) but Turkey, I got to say, it was magnificent.

So, should I start posting detailed stories and media files (photos and videos) from this trip?
I leave you with a teaser and await your answer as this will be quite an effort for me (translating and posting all)

 

Yellow09

Registered
Welcome, quite a feat, you will fit in nicely around here. There are a few bikes set up for touring much like yours.
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
Thanks for the encouragements.
I did a mistake here as the trip started on 17th of october, not september, and ended on the 7th of november. The year was 2018.

We leave for Turkey at 7 in the morning, starting from Giurgiu (Romania), as my parents have a house that's less then 10km away from the border with Bulgaria.
This is our "command center" for a few years now, and will be for more to come.

The plan is to reach Edirne passing Bulgaria through Targovishte -> Yambol. Google Maps says it's the fastest route.
Back then, I had a car GPS mounted on my left mirror using some GoPro mounts.
The "system" was tested good and working.

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Now I have a Garmin Zumo 390 LMT-S mounted using RAM Yoke Mount. Way better!
But let's get back to the trip.

Although the plan was to go through Yambol, the GPS calculated through Veliko Tarnovo - Nova Zagora - Haskovo.
Better go on that rute, I'm saying to myself, because I had a few problems with Google Maps before.
We barely passed Veliko Tarnovo (it's very close to Romanian border) when rain starts to pour in. Small drops, with a bit of wind.
The rain followed us to the turkish border. Happy me!

Passing Bulgaria was nothing spectacular, excepting the fact that 100km away from the turkish border, the car GPS dies on me, just like that.
I wrapped it in a plastic bag way before the rain started, but I guess it was not enough for a simple car GPS. Maybe the vibrations... I don't know.
It can only power on and off. And it shows me the Garmin Logo on the screen.
That's about all it can do. You can imagine the joy I had.
My phone cannot be used as it was old and blocked in an local Romanian phone operator. I had no offline maps on it but, I had to continue.
The plan now was to get to a petrol station with wireless internet an make the map as we go.

I crossed Bulgaria a few times before this trip, so I wasn't panicking much. The "panic" was more about the trip once we crossed into Turkey.
My wife had an old type phone with no internet capability.
Of course, I had my route planed and written on a notebook, and had a laptop with us.
So, no worries! What can go wrong?
Spoiler: my laptop's display crashed on us, but that's for later in the storyline :)

I reach the Turkish border, paper control... border stuff you all know.
No luggage control. Nobody told me anything and waved me away.

That's untill I got to the third stop.
I had no prior experiences with border before this trip, excepting a few trips in Bulgaria and Greece where there are only two stops at the border. One stop at each side.
In Turkey, there are three. The last one is luggage check.

There were a few guy there on their phone sitting on a bench, so I asked them what about the luggage check.
One of them gets off Facebook and looks at my motorcycle plate number, pushes a button on the phone screen and waves me bye-bye, smilling!
True story: I saw the phone screen.

Luggage check: just looked at the motorcycle remotely and noticed that I had the luggage mounted on it.

Yeey!
We are in Turkey!

Passed the customs, with a dead GPS and no internet, we decide to stop at a petrol station in Edirne to look at the wifi to find accommodation.
I reach the gas station, 10 wifi networks! I ask for the password and I get the following response: "Ioc wifi", meaning "no wifi".

Say what?
It's not like I wanted to download movies. Just wanted to find a hotel.
"No wifi".

Ok! Plan 2: go find a food place, surelly there will be free wifi.
No panic!

It's clear now that we are gonna spend the night in Edirne. Çanakkale was too far away at this point.

A few hundred meters away I found a restaurant, street food, not the fancy type restaurant one thinks whenever the word restaurand is beeng used in a conversation.
Free wifi and Adana Kebap.
I don't eat lamb/sheep meat. But not this time. Never ever had a better sandwich! Only 20 TL (turkish lira)

After that, I start searching for accommodation over the internet. And nothing! No available rooms in Edirne, but I found rooms in Greece!
Now what I do?
Plan 3: ask the waiter! He must know a hotel around.
And he did. 200 TL/night double room with free parking and breakfast.

Crisis averted!
We check in and go for a walk the city.
We don't even get out the door of the hotel when I don't see Kitty anymore. Kitty being my wife. She disappeared in the first bazaar type shop.
Didn't even see it. The shop, that is. Kitty has a sixth sense for that.
Of course, we just had to go to the town's true bazaar. To my luck, it was closed.

What a first day!

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I promise there will be more images on posts to come.
In the video I share the things posted in here, but it's in Romanian.
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
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The second day at 9 o'clok we have breakfast. No stress because Canakkale is at only 220km away.
We take a short visit to Edirne bazaar also looking for a pair of comfortable shoes for me, but I didn't find any.
The "Probiker" motorcycle boots are not so easy to walk in.

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We leave Edirne after filling up with petrol. The road is just amazing.
Lot's of roundabouts near which a cartboart police car having police lights on. Certainly from a distance you think it's the real deal and slow down.
The car drivers are civilized and give you no stress.

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Reaching Kilitbahir is easy, and from there you take the ferryboat to Canakkale, on the Asia side.
Considering these are doing the trip once per hour, we decide to eat and relax for a bit.

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After lunch, he quickly visited the "monument" of the Battle of Canakkale:



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After that we get into the ferry and reach Canakkale.

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Of course, there were no free rooms available on booking so I turn to google and find a 2 star hotel near by.

After checkin in, we head to town to visit by foot all we could.
Walking with motorcycle boots was not fun at all, but I didn't want to stay in the hotel room either.

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Later in the evening we return to the hotel. I put the extension cord in the wall socket to charge my cameras and I hear a buzz from the cord!
It's clear: it's gone!
 

busafan08

Registered
My parents live in turkey I visited them last year I did a small tour in a bus from izmir flowing the black sea road all the way to the border to Georgia the roads were awesome thinking to my self one day I will ride these roads :thumbsup:
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
Then, you'll be in for a big surprize.
Izmir was one of our stops.

But let's continue with the stories.

The "call to prayer" wakes me up again at 6 in the morning.
It's clear to me that I cannot return to sleep especially that today is the day when I finally gonna visit the ruins of the ancient city of Troy.
I open my laptop to check the route and suddenly get a blue screen. It doesn't boot up.
Panic mode on!
Where am I gonna save my photos and videos from the trip?
I barely got to Turkey and things started to break apart. Seems that something breaks every day. What's next for tommorow? My motorcycle?
Yesterday on the road we started to hear echo sounds in the intercom. I had to turn it off for a while.

What to do with the laptop?
I'm fixing it even if this means that we need to skip visiting a location on our route. It has to be fixable.
If not, the only solution is to buy tons and tons of SD cards.

I got to the front desk and asked there if they know a laptop service shop nearby. After breakfast we go there.
At 9 o'clock we were already at the front door of the shop. But they open at 10.

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Finnaly, the guy comes and I explain the issue with my laptop.
Surprisingly, the laptop boots up just fine in the presence of the laptop service guy.
Must be one of them situations like when you go to the dentist and stop feeling any pain when you know your about to enter and sit on the dentist chair.

The service guy installs some diagnostics software and runs it while we sit down for some tea.
Got to exchange some thoughts about how's life in Turkey, how's life in Romania.

The laptop is fine. Must've been some overheating issues because I kept it on my lap while in bed, and not on a flat surface.

And here we are leaving the service shop at one o'clock in the afternoon, now going to shop for something to replace the motorcycle boots.
Expensive "sports shoes" everywhere. I wasn't going to pay over 60 TL for a adidas knockoff when for 100TL I get 14l of gas.

Let's go to the main bazaar then. Gotta find something cheap there. Just 2km walking distance.
Oh well...
Taxi is out of the question also. We just got in Turkey and didn't felt like throwing money away.

We get to the bazaar using GPS on the phone.
Lot's of people, everybody shouts out loud their offers... Braws on your left, tomatoes on your right.

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Lot's of women gathered around one big pile of clothes.
I just had to take a picture of this, firmly convinced that my wife is not like that.

You can imagine my surprise when I look into the phone for framing the shot and saw my wife between those women picking up clothes items with one hand and throwing away other items with the other hand.
Then it became clear that today I'm not gonna be able to visit Troy.

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I got a pair of adidas knockoffs quick as men do: we see, we buy.
No time to waist.

Way better now with the "new footwear".
Now let's get back to the hotel.

Let's just find something to eat first. Kitty, got all grumpy on me each time I pointed her to a tavern: "that doesn't look good", "nobody is eating here", "that meat does not look ok"... you know: things that people do when they aren't hungry.
While looking for a tavern, we passed near another bazaar and, without realizing it, I woke up shouting to Kitty: "Don't even think about it"!

We reach the hotel and while waiting for me to take a shower, Kitty falls asleep on couch.
"Let's go eat something", she says!

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This is the prop used in the 2004 movie Troy with Brad Pitt.
The movie officials donated "the horse" to the town of Canakkale.

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Video:



Tomorrow we leave to Izmir after we visit Troy. The plan was to go directly to Pamukkale and not stop in Izmir, but the distance is too big.
 

Yellow09

Registered
Pretty cool adventure so far....life is so surreal in other countries at times. I recall the afternoon naps in Cyprus, I'd almost trip over people laying on the sidewalk having a nap....
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
Thank you!
Never been to Cyprus, yet.
Let's continue.

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The next day we leave Canakkale and finnaly going to visit Troy.
Getting out of Canakkale, you can only wonder and be impressed by the roads in Turkey so far.

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First we get to the museum: 35TL/pers
Kitty is not into history so she awaits me on the small inside tavern as she orderes some coffee and juice.
I got my "Chinese mode ON":

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There's more then 6 years waiting for me to get here. Something always seemed to come up and make me postpone.
I do not want to give into motivational speeches, but you feel very good when you check off something you've been dreaming about for a long time.
I am firmly convinced that you know the feeling.

The museum has 3 floors and worth a visit.


Let's go to the ruins. These are over a km away left as you exit the museum parking lot.
Admittance fee 35TL/pers.

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Now what can I tell you about Troy that you don't already know?
There are many layers one on top of eachother, layer VII beeing archaeologically belived to be the Troy of Hector and Achile.

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It's time to head to Izmir.
320km of incredible roads and views.

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Near Izmir I got pulled over by traffic police.
No issues there as it was just a normal paper check. Still funny though as I pretended that I don't undersand english.

Izmir receives us with lots and lots of traffic and this time, the car drivers are not so pleasant to drive along.
They change lanes in a moments notice, no indicating, speculating every "free" space available on the road.
Kitty gets anxious because I had the offline maps on phone set in the tank bag. Constantly had to look down beeing on a multiple lane road, packed with chaotic traffic.
I ride carefull and reach the hotel but not without "adventures" as the GPS points me on to upcoming traffic in the wrong way.

Sygic is crap. Later on in my travles, I discovered that maps.me is also crap.

We check in and go out to sight seeing.
This is a big town, hills and hills full of houses and apartment blocks.
You need at least a week to visit, maybe two.

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Got back to the hotel and now beeing carefull, I pull the laptop display quickly.
The display cracks right up and have no image on it.

Panic mode ON!
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
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After a small walk on the harbor, we leave for Pamukkale upset over the issues with the laptop display.
I have it for 3 years and only now it started to give up on me. When I needed it the most.
And I had no other backup solution.
No chance we can fix it in Pamukkale, the next stop.
I will have to pay attention to what and how much I film to have space on the card. It's 64GB, but still ...

Let's go, to Pamukkale.


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I make a stop at PPT office (postal office) to buy the HGS card. This is a card that costs 20TL and you can charge it with a sum depending on how much you travel.
I loaded it with 80TL.
Whenever you go for HGS toll, you will have to slow down in order for the system to read and charge for the passage.

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We continue the road to Pamukkale, and the police stop me, the second time since we are in Turkey:

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They do luggage control for the cars. In my case, they wanted to see only the drivers licence and the passport.
The road is without words:

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We reach Pamukkale and after checking in, we head straight to "The Cotton Castle".
50Tl/pers and you are not allowed to enter with shoes.

The water is thermal and warm but it cools on it's way down the cliff. If you have sensitive soles, you will not appreciate the bumps and small crevases dug by the watercourse.
I was walking there like I was a 3 year old girl.

What struck me is that the location does not resemble the videos I had seen on the internet.
I find it poor with little water, many dried pools.

I had once seen on youtube that a guard was telling a tourist that daily the water route is changed to "feed" other pools by rotation ...
Very hot water up, in some "pools" you could bathe but it was a bit cold outside.

It seems that the location will be gone in a few ten's of years.

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We return to the hotel, it was already night and cleary we could visit nothing. We were not going to stay more than one night in Pamukkale.
When descending, the water really gets colder and that's a problem on bare feet.
You begin to feel it in the kidneys, the spine ...


Plans for the next day:
The initial target was Alanya, but it was quite clear that I couldn't. Plus, I had "the laptop" problem.

Pamukkale - Alanya is a distance which, let's say it can be reached in one day, if not for rain, of course.
Antalya, being a tourist destination, I thought we had better chance to repair the laptop. It's a location better suited for summer vacation.
At Alanya I wanted to see Cleopatra's Beach and the castle, plus it was closer to Mersin, so the stop is justified.
The fact that the laptop broke down forced me to practically stop in Antalya because it is a bigger city and thus increase my chances of repairing the screen.
So we head for Antalya, in octomber.
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
After a student breakfast, we start heading to Antalya.
It's a bit cold outside, but still good to ride a motorcycle.
The road to Antalya does not disappoint: wide curves, wonderful landscapes but the quality of the roads seem lower on certain sections.
The nice thing was that there was not much traffic.

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The video doesn't even do it justice, but still:


We arrive in Antalya, lot's of traffic. Let's find the hotel we found the night before. It's a bit far from the beach, however, it was cold anyway.
If I had come for the beach, I clearly didn't choose that hotel. (Mutado Hotel)
The hotel is ok as to the amenities and the friendliness of the employees, but too far from the beach.
I paid 150TL/night, breakfast included.
We choose to stay 2 nights. I planned to atempt to repair the laptop, Kitty's main drive beeng a visit to the bazaar.

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Let's look for laptop service. Our reception guided us to a street full of such shops, the street located 6km away from the hotel, on foot.
We get to the service and, the service guy looks at the laptop and tells me dry: 480TL!!
Shock!
This is a 250$ laptop, 3 years old!
I negotiate with him for up to 350TL and all of a sudden a genius flash hits me, seeing that my laptop has HDMI output!
I politely refuse the repair and leave the service explaining to Kitty that we can connect the laptop directly to the TV.
And here's how I solved the problem with just a 15TL HDMI cable.
I was so happy I didn't even feel like walking 6 km again!


Let's go to the bazaar as Kitty demands!
I arrived at the old pier area. On the descent, streets with the Chinese items for sale, all the crap you can imagine.
As we look over there, suddenly Kitty pics up a "Michael Kors" bag, you know, that "original replica"!
And there goes another 50TL.
It doesn't matter anymore! I solved the issue with my laptop! Was so happy!

Down at the docks, many boats were waiting for their customers eager to ride.
Let's take a tour! Kitty great happiness: she got a bag and now, a boat ride!
50TL/person


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In the evening, back to the hotel.
Every day in Antalya, I walked 12km, so I did 24 km on foot. This is because we were staying at a great distance from the places where we could spend time in Antalya.
Initially we hadn't planned to stop here because this place is worth visiting during the summer season. But the problem with the laptop changed my plans.
All this trip to Turkey had only one destination: Sanliurfa, namely Gobekli Tepe and Harran.

Antalya is to visit in summer time, at least for a week, if you want a bath.

I would have liked to visit museums and other historical sites in Antalya but, in the end, Antalya it is easy to reach by plane.

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24.jpg


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WuzzaCBXRider

Donating Member
Registered
Outstanding pics and story! I’ve toured extensively through the western US but it’s been awhile and I miss it. I agree that pics taken don’t do justice to what the eyes take in. I envy your ability to ride thru countries that I wouldn’t, as the scenery is rare and beautiful. Good luck in all future two wheel endeavors! BTW, as far as buying things along the way (and) having to pack them on a motorcycle goes, you can almost always post them home instead. That way, packing is not an issue plus, having ‘presents’ awaiting you when you get home is also nice. :)
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
Thank you!
We don't buy a lot of stuff when traveling because of budget issues. But, traveling with my wife, we have to allow some concessions.

Anyway, let's get back to the trip.

We leave Antalya with a state of unease, considering that we must stop in an unplanned city: Anamur!
Compromise stop. I wanted Alanya but it's too close. Then Mersin, where we really wanted to stop, is too far from Antalya.
You would say that it is easy to do 490 km in a day, but sometimes, the reality in the field differs from the planning done in front of the computer.

We are waiting for an extremely dangerous road with narrow lanes and trucks entering your lane in turns because, in fact, there is no place to take a curve otherwise. At least, so says the person from the hotel I had just left.
Exiting Antalya we get a bit of rain.
Lucky that it lasted only 15 minutes and that outside they were over 22 degrees celsius.


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We continue the journey with the thought of stopping at least for a coffee in Alanya. I really wanted to see with my eyes the beach of Cleopatra.
The road to Alanya is populated by small towns, each with at least 2-3 traffic lights.

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We reach Alanya, and stop at Starbacks for a coffee right in front of the beach which is about 5km long. While it was sipping coffee, it started raining again.
I thought they had WiFi, but nope! The "system" doesn't work!

Cleopatra Beach:

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It is unfortunate that we do not have time to try the water, especially since we were seeing tourists in swimsuits, carrying beach mattresses.

I put the camera in the underwater housing and in 5min the rain stops. Kitty was already dying of heat in the rain suit, but she is stubborn to keep it on.
The road unfolds some narrow lane in curves and, obviously, traffic of trucks, entering in our lane. 3 out of 5 cut the opposite lane in turns. In many curves they could not take the turn otherwise.

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We decide to take a break and take the decision to let the motorcycle down the valley, to save some gas.
When you go this way you cannot use the engine brake, instead you can easily overheat the brakes.
But, everything was ok, I didn't run out of brakes.


Kitty keeps telling me she wants to stop for bananas.
A "pit-stop" appears on the right and I stop. I was thirsty too.

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Poverty shines there.
4TL for a kg of bananas. That's 0.65$.
They had a few coins placed around the corner of the table and seeing them, I took them and went to give them to the "shop" owner, believing that another customer left the coins there and went away.
I find out that it is actually a superstition and the coins are meant to attract new customers.


We left quietly knowing that the next gas station is 20 km away and, the indicator shows we are low on gas.
Good thing the roads were clear, little to no traffic from there.

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We go through two tunnels and the roads return to the quality that Turkey has accustomed to us so far. Later I will find out that those tunnels were put into use only 6 months ago.

We reach Amamur and stop at the first gas station found. Paid 110TL for 14 liters.
No internet at the gas station.

We decide to go near the beach, and find a hotel there. Time was 18 o'clok or so. Still light outside.
The first hotel did not have rooms so I go ahead and find onother for 100TL per night, a modest hotel but ok.
We catch the night on the beach, the water is quite warm.
Maybe in Mersin we take a bath.
It was 26 degrees outside.
Tomorrow morning we go to Mersin.
 

hayabusaTravels

Registered
Thank you!

It rained all night in Anamur!
And I didn't close an eye because of the mosquitoes! It was like a battlefront in the room: only blood on the walls, mattresses and drapes.
It was "open seazon" all night.

In the morning, because we had no breakfast included, we decided to go to get some food from a supermarket but it was closed.
While we wait for the opening it starts to rain ... properly, as the Romanian farmer says in August.
Without the umbrellas, without rain gear, we took the food and headed for the hotel room.
I don't even know when I ate, packed and packed and went out to the motorcycle.

The rain stopped, it seemed.
We warm up the motorcycle and go on the road.
Didn't even exit Anamur a rain storm appears from nowhere.
Side wind made all very interesting also.

You have to see this video!
The rain was so severe in some parts that there were no water droplets on the camera as I rode forward. Just a curtain of water hitting the camera housing:

Kitty keeps telling me that she is scared and wants to go back ... Fo few times already.
It starts to stress me more than the rain.
The intercom is also starting to give up and had to turn it off.
The "China" intefcom is water resistant but, not with the antenna wire uncovered. Back in Canakkale, while stopping for Kitty to take the rain jacket on, my helmet dropped from gastank hitting the ground with the side where the intercom is, of course.
There's a good part out of this as the quietness is appreciated by me, especially as the road becomes more and more difficult.

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We go this way all the way to the coast: 220 km in more than 5 hours.
We stop at a road side restaurant, to eat and wait the rain away. Hearing the sea in the back, I couldn't help but take a few pictures:


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The road continues with rain showers.


We reach Mersin, over 24 degrees celsius well cooked by the rain gear. You know what it's like when you catch rain, sun, rain and then sun ...
The rain was so severe on some sections that the water came into the helmet.

We find accommodation looking from door to door, so to speak. Nice hotel, good food and guarded motorcycle parking.

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In the evening we go out for a walk to see whatever can be seen by foot.

We go to the sea and take a look there. Water, quite warm but it was a bit cold outside.
Quite far from the hotel, we walked about 6km on foot to this beach and back.

We always arrive in the evenings, or at 17 at the hotel and, until you take a shower, change yourself, it get dark outside.

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Where do we go from here? Gaziantep, or do I go directly to Sanliurfa?
"We'll see in the morning", I said to Kitty and crushed on the bed ...
It's "Lights out" for me!
 


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