Canakkale, Turkey - May 28, 2010
Well, I guess I made it to Asia. I didn't realize it until I was looking at a brochure and saw that the little stretch of water I had just crossed by ferry was the same stretch that eventually leads to the Bosphorus in Istanbul... the divide between Europe and Asia. Making some headway I guess.
The weather has definitely changed. That last downpour I reported was just that. No more rain since then. I had my massage but my masseuse (looking like a former member of the banned Bulgarian weight lifting team) unfortunately missed all my trouble spots. I kept pointing to my back and making all kinds of grimacing noises, but she instead spent a lot of time lightly massaging my stomach. I think she was just having fun making swirly patterns in greasy tummy hair. That's my take. So my back still aches.
Anyway, I lovely ride down the coast of Bulgaria to the Turkish border. By far the most photogenic day but at my first photo stop, found out that the camera battery was dead. Wouldn't take one picture all day. The camera battery seems to last forever, but I guess forever has its limits. Had fun at the border actually. It was rather humorous to see how it played out. First see the guy at the guard house, then inside... see the policeman. No, see the visa guy. He's not there. See the vehicle guy. No, need insurance first. Get insurance from the insurance guy. Go back to the vehicle guy. No, gotta see the policeman first. Back to the policeman. No, gotta see the visa guy. But there's no one there. “Tik, tik” he says. So I go back to the visa window... tik, tik on the glass. Visa man appears. Get visa, now back to policeman. NOW back to the vehicle guy. Whew. Finished? Finished. So I put everything away. Back on the bike, helmet, gloves. Drive a hundred feet, round the corner. Screech. Another border post. Needs to see everything to make sure everything is done. So all the gear comes off, and all the stuff comes out again... and this is a simple border crossing. Really looking forward to Uzbekistan!
Hotel in Edirne
I drove to Edirne and stayed at a hotel that was built in the 1550's. Two-foot thick stone walls, tiny doors that even I had to crouch to get through, all built around a central courtyard. Where to put the bike. Well in the courtyard. How do I get in there. Well, right through the lobby! So up and over the curb, over the carpets and into the courtyard. Different. The room came with its own wildlife. As I was getting ready to leave, I was cleaning up the room, (it was kind of dark in there) and saw a little wad of black string on the floor. Reached down to pick it up, felt kind of wiry, and then started wiggling. Guess it was a cockroach, half smashed into the carpet, legs up. Yuck. Then started looking closely and there were quite a few wads of string on the floor. All smashed to various degrees. I didn't smash any, so they had been accumulating for a while. I had my helmet on the floor and things and had visions of something crawling in my hair while I was riding, so had to check it out pretty carefully.
Went to the Salimiye Mosque in Edirne, just down the street from the hotel. It seemed huge to me, but I'm sure there is bigger to come in Istanbul. Very beautiful in its simplicity. Gorgeous dome inside without all the gold and porcelain. Just a very clean geometric. It's a nice concept.
So I had an easy ride down the Gallipoli peninsula today... some old pillboxes and few artillery bunkers along the way... don't know if they were from the rather famous 1915 rout of the ANZAC forces or were newer. But it is clear that it is a big part of the history here. As is Troy, which is where I am headed tomorrow on a day tour. I hear there is not a lot to see, so the history is the big thing. Good to have someone there I figure who knows about it, hence the tour.
Bike is good. I have only detected a leak of the inner seal of the rear drive (no surprise seeing how many times I had it apart doing the shims before I left) and now the left sidecase bracket is a bit bent. For some reason, I was directed to the passenger ramp with the bike as I was loading on the ferry to cross over to Canakkale. Well, getting off, I had to negotiate down the passenger gangway, which was only about 3 feet wide. I was good until the last post where I got the left bag hooked on a handrail post. Ripped the bag off and over I went too. It looks like it will need some persuasion to get back in line so that the bag will lock on. Oh well. After the tour.
Setting Up for a Crash
Love Turkey so far. Except that fuel is over $9/gallon. No rain here- so I doubly love it. Diane gets to Istanbul next Tuesday for a week. I better be there!