November 20

November 20. Göreme – Kayseri [N38°45´23,46” E035°21´41,34”]

Km today: 60

I wake up early as I had planned the evening before. After cleaning a little I take seat in the cockpit and start the engine. Bad cougher again and after 5 minutes the engine is running. I leave Göreme heading towards Kayseri and after 3km engine stops again. Petrol finished. I still have one container so no problem and 5 minutes later we are back on the road. I recognize a lack of power so I decide to search for a mechanic as soon as possible. Probably only 3 cylinder working again…

When approaching Kayseri I see a big Ford sign so I decide to stay on the road. 20 minutes later I see a big Ford workshop on the left side of the road. I turn round at the next possibility and stop in front of the workshop. Little past eight in the morning so all closed yet. I got to the back of the car to make some tea to wait and suddenly recognize: Sunday! Maderchoud! I decide to take a look at the guidebook to see if Kayseri has something to offer.

But then I see somebody inside. It’s the guard who doesn’t understand a word but at least sees I have problem with the car and is very helpfull. He opens the door and calls somebody on the phone. One hour later the 24 hour service is here and we check the car. Still we hardly understand each other but soon they tell me using hand and feet I have to wait for tomorrow. I can stay inside the workshop for tonight – no problem. What to do so I have to wait for tomorrow.

I park suryananda and make a few notes for the blog to find out there is wireless network at the ford workshop. Protected this time but cant be that much of a problem to find out the key. I ask the second guard who but he doesn’t understand or doesn’t know the key. Bis saat – one hour he says and makes talking gesture – I understand somebody coming to translate in an hour. This time I will use google translate to talk to the mechanics! (even tough its funny everytime to find out we don’t need language at all to tell the most important things) 24h to wait – before they can start working… I had a long brainstorming with ursula yesterday about riding to india on horsebacks – I start liking the idea more and more.

Half an hour later I go back to the guard to ask for the internet key but the guardhouse is closed. I find out showroom and office are open now and enter the showroom. Its not possible to connect to the network but using one computer at the office we can translate a little. Suddenly an old guy appears and wants to look at the car. He fixes the spark cable which was loose and tells me all ok. I should trust in myself more, I already thought this was the problem – I could have fixed it alone.

November 20 Kayseri – Gürün [N 38°43´22,74” E037°16´12,66“]

Km today: another 220 more

I leave the ford workshop and after visiting a petrol station I am on the road again. Very good road leads a way through the Cappadokian – Anatolien highlands. Altitude is around 1600m above sea level and the clouds are only a little above me giving that amazing landscape a more than surreal touch. It is really awesome here. Still I am going up and I know above the clouds there will be sun. The gps shows an altitude of 1600, 1700, 1800, 1900 and suddenly I see the sun without passing through any fog. Minutes later clouds are leaving for the sun. Now the landscape becomes incredible beautieful. I enjoy the sun and down we go – 1800, 1600, still sun and suddenly I see the first petrolstation for many many kilometers. Price is ok so I stop.

Within seconds I am surrounded by people. I put petrol in the tank and after we wash suryananda together. Guys asking me to drink coffee together at the kültür café and when they see my drum they tell me about live music in the evening. Maybe I really stay for tonight. We go to the café and I get lots of tea and coffee for free. I want to leave to Malatya – while drinking coffee it became dark and the guys tell me via google translate at the café that there is snow on the road to Malatya and its no good idea to drive there at night. Anyway they won´t let me go – I realize I am kidnapped but in a very nice way.

Internet possible and a small stage and a few instruments including some drums promise a nice evening to come. I decide to stay. Suddenly Mahmut, the guy who picked me up, seems to be in a hurry. He has to go somewhere and tells me he will be back in short time. I say I wait but no way, he wants me to come with him. I find out he is schoolbus driver and seconds later I sit next to him in the bus and we go to the school to pick up a busload of girls. They are smiling and shouting with no interruption until Mahmut turns the radio louder. Now they start clapping their hands and singing. We are having a lot of fun! After bringing them home we go back to the café.

November 19. Cappadokia – Göreme

Km today: 2 – by walk

Its pretty cool all night and when I wake up in the morning and see the sky I am happy not to hear the sound of rain – two seconds later I recognize snow falling. I have coffee and decide to eplore the small town by walk.

What I see is amazing. The landscape is not real at all. I am more than impressed by the beauty – rockhouses all over the place – but check out the pictures yourself. The first thing I do after drinking coffee is to buy a pair of warm gloves. Next I follow the signs to the open air museum, Soon I see a comfortable place to have another coffee and a big horse riding sign – I want both! Coffee is great and after I got a little warmer I look out for the horses just around the corner. Off season horse no possible.

What to do I decide to follow another sign leading way to a rockchurch. I enjoy the view and slowly climb up the hill. At the church I take some pictures and as I want to go back I see three guys on scooters I already had met on the way up. They are from australia making a 6 month journey through europe and give me a lift to the open air museum. As soon as we stop I see a bus from switzerland just about to leave. I stop them and we talk for a little. I find out they wanted to go to india to but decided not to because of the situation in pakistan. They tell me the museum is nothing worth paying for and as I have already seen a lot on my walk I ask them for a lift back to town.

I change some money, get some great darabouka music at the music shop and have dinner (pottery kebap at old cappadokia restaurant). On my way through the market I buy all the chocolate I find. They all have milka but I want the better, cheaper turkish one. I take all they have that fits my demand. I will have to make some stops at supermarkets to get tha amount of chocolate I planned for the children around van….

Today I go to bed early so I can stand up and drive early at daylight. I did too many km of turkey in the dark.

November 18. Istanbul – Motorway Carpark [N 40° 47,387´ E031°14,541´] – Göreme [N38°38,511´ E034°49,717´]

Km today: 750(!)

I step in the car around 11pm (yesterday) and start the engine. Suryananda sounds like she has a cold. I hear a few bad cougher and start 3 times before the engine is running. I turn her of again and go back to the mechanics office to show him the problem. He comes and says no problem and some more things I don’t understand. What to do so I go. On the way out of town she has a lack of power and is still coughing all the time.

After 5 minutes I drive back to the mechanic. Cutie from the restaurant next door translates that the engine has many new parts and it will take a few hundred kilometres until it is running perfect. Ok, so next attemp and I leave Istanbul around midnight. Perfect time not to get stuck in the traffic. A few hours later I am 230 km out of Istanbul and stop at a carpark on the motorway. There was less traffic but a lot of trucks made driving very exhausting. Suryananda is fine – still a little cougher every now and then but getting better. I fall asleep at 4 o clock at N 40° 47,387´ E031°14,541´.

Around 11 I wake up and don’t lose any time. Suryananda needs two attemps for starting again but then we go to petrolstation and chalo! The next 100km are pretty steep mountain highway. When we make a break we are at an altitude of 1500m above sealevel and all is white. I drink a coffee very quickly, take a picture and leave. I want to reach Kappadokia today – the heart of turkey. I drive all day and suryananda really seems to need at least a little less petrol. Weather is cold and rainshowers in between all day. Landscape is nice but I am not in the mood to stop for taking pictures. I want to make way today.

Sun is already setting when I reach Kappadokia. I make a short coffeebreak – its still 200km to go to Göreme. I pass by some very nice lakes but see only the row of light on the opposite bank. What to do I really don’t want to stop yet. Roads getting smaller any steeper again – sometimes they feel like a roller coaster…I pass Nevsehit and soon after the navigation system tells me no road. I stay on the “no road” and suddenly I come around one corner and see awesome rock structures. NICE! I meet a couple who are taking some pictures at night. I find out she is from germany soon and they own a small hotel. I quickly get some advice where to get what and after they are gone.

I drive a few more km to Göreme, park the car in the center of the small village and search for a place to eat that is providing an internet hotspot. I find what I search for within minutes and after they ask me if the colorful car is mine I ask if I can park next to the restaurant – no problem! Yeah Internet in the car again. After food I write blog and get ready for the night. Cant wait to see this all at daytime!

November 17. Istanbul

Hippietrail Soundtrack 1

Yesterday night I have a long and very pleasent chat with Ursula from finland on facebook. We found each other there because of some comments and pictures and when chatting I find out she is in istanbul. We decide to meet at pudding shop this morning at 12. I believe the mechanics will wake me up in the morning as they said parts coming early morning. So I wake up just a few minutes after 10 but nobody working. No parts yet. I have quick chai, get dressed on go to puddingshop. Rain again.

I am early at puddingshop so I already have coffee when she arrives. We recognize each other immediately and she shows me around as she has been living here for some time already. Now I finally see the real nice places of istanbul. We spend nearly all day together having a lot of fun. After lunchtime we go back to suryananda. All the guys having chai – still nobody working. I complain a little and after we visit amazing grand bazaar and freedom street. Someone really needs a local to explore this city. I figure Kali had in mind I have to meet Ursula and that was the reason why I had to stop that long. Thank you Maha Kali, thank you Ursula I really enjoyed today more than every other day in Istanbul! Hope to see you soon in india! As she is living close to freedom street I walk back alone – nearly without getting lost.

On the way I find nice musicstore with really nice drums! I already bought a flute at the market but I really like the daraboukas. I try to buy one but unfortunatley the shopkeeper doesn’t want to sell. The price he wants to charge is nearly more than at home so I decide to look for Darabouka a liitle further away from blue mosque but 500 meters. When I come back to the workshop it is already dark. Suryananda is inside the workshop and the guys are working finally! Yeah! But no internet inside so what to do. I charge the big carbatterie I use for living and dissappear inside suryananda to write blog while the mechanics are working. Still I hope to leave Istanbul today. Daytime its no possible because of heavy traffic but maybe tonight…. However I will be ready.

8 pm we make a testdrive. I am not driving so suryananda is treated like a racingcar just to show me how good she is working now – I have lots to do to prevent things from falling down – I´d never drive like this. Seems to be fine so we go back to the workshop. I put in petrol, pay and update the blog…. Chalo! I am leaving! I can hardly believe it!

November 16. Still in Istanbul

Today the mechanics wake me up to check the engine – There seems to be still a problem with the spark plugs. I stand around them for some time and after go back in the car to spend time at the internet. Some time after they stop working I take a look outside to check when we will be ready to leave. All the guys are working on a defender from Great Britain. Immediately I make friends with jack, the owner. He is on a trip to Vietnam by car – on his own too. I invite him to have tea as soon as his car is ready and find out that we are waiting for spare parts. Outside its rainy and cold – I hope suryananda will be fixed today.

When I come back I clean a little and find out the carpaper which is proving my ownership is missing. I search suryananda twice but without success. I am already used to problems like this so I start solving it when suddenly the mechanics start working again and jack comes round to have some chai. Suryananda proves to have living room qualities even in the middle of Istanbul! I cook chai and when I grab in the backpockets of my pants for a lighter I find the carpaper!

We enjoy chai and have much more to talk than there is time. Soon jack is off to meet his mother who is visiting him in Istanbul currently. We decide to maybe go to hamam together in the evening but for sure to meet in india.

Suryananda gets a new carboretor….. The guys really know what they are doing. In the morning the engine was running but they were not satisfied – slowly I get the feeling I will not leave Istanbul before suryananda is in perfect shape – I like!
At 5pm Suryananda is ready! The engine sounds nice like never before and we are happy. God bless unprotected Wlan networks.

I decide not to go to Bursa. I haven’t heard anything of Deniz whom I wanted to meet there so what to do… I will go directly direction Ankara and as traffic is hell at daytime on the Bosporus bridges I decide to leave tonight. I have seen the traffic when going to the airport twice and I do not want to do this. Istanbul is really beautiful and people here are amazing. But at the moment I really want to continue my journey. So tonight we will be in asia!

Some hours later I buy some stuff for the way and make all ready for leaving. I want to find out the price for the repair and fix my petrol containers on the back carrier. Then the cute guy from the restaurant next door comes for translating. They put in a new caboretor and all is perfect now. But the carboretor was only for testing. My carboretor (I don’t know if they fix the old one or I get completely new) will be here tomorrow morning. I decide to have dinner at the restaurant of the cute guy, do some internet after and leave Istanbul tomorrow – Inshallah!

Sorry no pictures today

Nov. 11 – Nov. 15 Three days vienna

Friday early morning I leave Istanbul and touch asian soil for the first time of this trip. Not with suryananda but at the airport…. Little problems when I lose key and phone when my luggage is checked but nothing worth writing. Flight is passing quickly as I sleep all the time. This morning it is raining for the first time on this trip in Istanbul. When I come to Vienna the sky is blue and sun is shining. Stefan picks me up at the airport.
While being in Vienna I want to repair my tooth and get a solution for the computerproblem. I check for the parcel at Austrian post but they don’t have it yet. I am already thinking about buying another cheap laptop when I find out Monday morning DHL has my parcel and it is on delivery already. So I get the computer Monday morning and as soon as I have it I go to the dentist. The weekend was already very busy but Monday is killer. The dentist tells me he has to make a tooth root treatment …..
I am lucky enough so all things are perfect until Monday night and I even had enough time to meet many soultouching people when being in Austria – like Lukas (who helped me with the car electric) and 4 friends of him who invited me for dinner Sunday evening. And Christl and John – friends of my mother who life in the US. I hadn’t seen them for a long time so it was very nice spending some time together.
Tuesday I go back to the airport carrying a lot of ginger, the repaired computer and a new tooth. The plane is late and I am already concerned about being late in Istanbul. Car repair is not opened all night and I have o address or phonenumber to call them – anyway they don’t speak any german or English. At the airport I try to get a shuttle but I wait more than an hour still being the only one who wants to go. There have to be 8 persons for a shuttle. One hour later my reservation gets canceled – no shuttle. I go out to the Taksis and immediately find a couple from the phillipines to share the taksi.
Nearly two hours later I am in Topkapi – but where the hell is the carrepair? I have never seen this area at night so all looks completely different, I have lots of ginger to carry and hardly any idea where to go….. Luckily the blue mosque is a fantastic landmark so I find the workshop half an hour later. Suryananda seems to be great and I decide to have dinner at the restaurant next to the workshop. Again I am invited because people are amazed of me using my fingers for eating. Even though they tell me to stay and drink whatever I like I go to bed early – its been a long day. When I turn on the computer I find unprotected WLAN so Internet possible in the car! YEAH! Some hours later I finally go to sleep.

Tomorrow I will leave Istanbul – Inshallah!

November 11. Topaki

November 11. Topkapi – Topkapi car repair

Km today: maybe 3

Tonight I can´t really believe I will leave Istanbul. Hard to describe that feeling I had but something told me I will stay. And so be it. When I start suryananada after having internet and breakfast the engine stops again when still inside the carpark. We call the mechanic and with last power and suryananda being very sick we reach his place. I draw a cylinder head gasket and earn approval. It will be about 2 days of work, very expensive but after suryananda will be fit. I was very welcome at the car repair. The mechanics makde tea and food and I am always invited to havereal Turkish food with them. In the afternoon when eating soup (!) together one of my teeth which was repaired a few weeks ago breaks. I take a little nap in the afternoon and then I go to Internet cafe. I find a cheap flight to Vienna for the weekend and ask Stefan to book it for me. At the weekend I will solve the computerproblem, the toothproblem, and the problem with the damaged insulin pen all in one. In the meantime suryananda will be fixed so I will be able to continue the journey on Tuesday in the evening – Inshallah. Tomorrow at lunchtime I will be in Vienna.

November 7. – November 10. Nea Peramos – Topkapi

November 7. Nea Peramos – Fanari (greece) [N40°57,283´ E025°08,584´]

Km today:106

I had planned to wake up early today to do some Yoga at the beach and help to prepare for the festival but now i wake up and its half past ten already. I quickly make chai take the didgeridoo and go to the center of the small town.

When I come there I hear nice music from far and have the smell of suflaki in my nose. Soon I meet christos my new musician friend behind the stage and we have a little talk. We will play after a while so I decide to have coffee first. Well no coffee but something brown in a cup they call Nescafe – nevermind. After I make a little walk at the festivsl area. Souflaki and Ouzo everywhere. I take a few pictures and go back to the stage where christos has a dissapointed face. When I ask himwhen we will play he replies we will not play at all. What to do… I get invited for souflaki again and soon I go back to suryananda to continue the journey. On the way there I make a short stop at the internet café to update my blog on facebook at least as the server of my homepage still has problems.

I drive just a little today because it is late already and tomorrow I want to go to a post office to send my computer home. I drive a little on the coast and soon the sun is low. I take pictures of an amazing little church on an island near Farani and after I enjoy an amazing sunset. Internet is no possible near Farani (no season) so I find a place for the night at a (very) lonely beach. I cook in the car for the first time and enjoy using gas to do so (it’s the best!)and awesome indian sabji after. I did ot find any ginger yet so I have to be careful not to spend too much as I need it for chai. I didn´t think ginger would be a problem in this area… After food I take some nice pictures of the beach and suryananda at night and fall asleep satisfied and happy.

November 8. Fanari – Mimar Sinan (turkey) [N41°07,303´ E028°13,759´]

Km today: 457

I wake up early morning, make chai and change suryanandas airfilter. She still takes too much petrol. On the way to the next city, Komotini I stop for the first hitchiker – Pater Tryphun. He is on his way to Komotini prison where he visits people every Monday. When he leaves the car he gives me an image of a greece DIETY and as I go back in the car to give him some incense for the church he gives 50 € “for the petrol”. I am speechless. We hug and kiss each other farewell and both of us say thank you many times. I promise to stop at his place on my way back. (Remember the amazing little island church? That was his place!

In Komotini I find out they don’t change Hungarian forint in greece too. I put them in the parcel with the computer so my mother can change them in Austria. Next I serch for a toolshop to buy a small imbus key I lost. I don’t find a toolshop but when I see somebody fixing ironpipes at the roof of the car I stop and ask where to find a shop. He asks what I need and gives me one of his keys: Present. Speechless again. Next I head north to cross the border to bulgaria to get some petrol there. Navigation system says yes local people say no after I am a few kilometers out of Komotini. I get invited for coffee again and turn around to go back to Komotini. Postoffice and search a mechanic to check suryananda. We change the spark plugs (for free – slowly this is really strange for me – a little like christmas today) and chalo direction northeast where the borders of greece, bulgaria and turkye meet.

We have to cross some mountains and go up pretty steep roads when the engine stops in the middle of nowhere. Maybe hot I think and make a little break. Outside it is cold and seems like rain is to come. A few minutes later the engine starts without any problem and I continue the way on the steep and narrow roads. When going down I switch of the engine but I recognize I still need too much petrol.

I cross the bulgarian border (again custom officer is fascinated and amused by suryananda) and with half a liter petrol left I reach the petrol pump. Change of air filter and spark plugs Does not make any difference at all. All petrol containers full I continue to the turkish border. A few kilometers after I discover the stupid guy at the petrol station did not close my tank so I make a turn on a motorway construction site and go turn around to pick up the cap.

The border to turkey is really crazy. I am used to borders with one or maybe two checkpoints but here there where 6 checkpoints. My carinsurance is not valid for turkye so I have to get visa and carinsurance before I can pass custom. The guys at the border there are most friendly and laughing and joking all the time. When I come back with the certificate for the insurance I am told something with “custom control” but I don’t really understand. So I ask the officer if he wants to take a look at my car and he gives me a “well ok if you want me to” look and comes with me. He tells me it is not allowed to take full petrol containers into the country. “Problem?” I ask, “No problem, happy journey” he replies.

Yeah, turkey the 9th country on my way and only three more borders between india and me! I pass a toll station but there is no ticket and nobody where I could pay. Motorway is great and soon I am less than 100km away from istanbul. Next possibility I stop at a Carpark at the motorway to spend the night there. Again I enjoy indian sabji and very soon I fall asleep.

November 9. Mimar Sinan – Topkapi, Istanbul [N41°00,585´ E028°58,667´]
Km today: 81

I wake up early morning again and don’t waste any time to leave the carpark. Only a few kilometers after the city of istanbul starts and traffic is becoming crazy. If I wouldn’t want to look for hitchhikers at the famous puddingshop I would pass this city on the motorway.

When I go thru the city towards topkapi the engine stops at every traffic light and just around the corner from blue mosque and pudding shop somebody start talking to me in german. A very friendly guy who has a shop in Vienna is prepared to help me out. I get a Carpark 200m away from Hagia Sophia where I can stay for to days for a fair price. I put one template at the shop of the friendly guy and go to pudding shop where I put another one and get invited for coffee. Truly a place of history.

After I change some money, go to a barber to get shaved and look for a mechanic who is found soon. He completley missunderstands me as he takes a battery to start suryananda. Nevermind I think and sit in his car to go to the carpark. I tell him the adress and show a map on a businesscard from a shop around the corner – anyway he asks me for the way twice. Of course I have no idea….
Spark plugs are finished again and the spark plug cables too. This might really be the reason for needing so much petrol when the engine is running on three chambers only. He promises to fix all tomorrow and suggests to meet at the car park at eleven o clock.

At the Internet café I fail to log in to any of my what ever accounts and give up soon.

Istanbul is really cool at around 10 degrees and I had no proper bath since I left Zagreb. I decide to go to hamam for the first time in my life and its awesome. The hot water on all of my body is best. Soapmassage is awesome. Hamam is the best experience yet on this journey. I decide to do it as often as possible when I am in turkey – but maybe not in Topkapi where it is very expensive (very traditional too so the price is ok). Enjoying free Chai after and wrapped in towels I start talking with other tourists.

Tired and fully relaxed I go back to the carpark to fall asleep soon. Tonight I have to use the heating first time as it is really cold (outside).

November 10. Topkapi Istanbul [N41°00,585´ E028°58,667´]
Km today: 0

In the morning I get very good coffee at pudding shop. Nobody asked for a lift yet so I decide to come back in the evening to have some pudding. At eleven o clock I am at the carpark but no mechanic near or far. My friend with the shop in vienna suggests to wait – it holiday in turkey so maybe shop for spare parts is closed. The mechanic comes one hour late just in the moment I want to start doing some writing. Suryananda is fixed soon and in the afternoon I take a look at the blue mosque. Very amazing, inside I feel like in Agra as the mosaiks look pretty similar there. What a piece of art! I completley fail in taking pictures to show the magic of the place. After I take a little walk around the historical city but don’t visit any more tourist attractions. I will meet Marija in Istanbul on my way back so I hope we can maybe do this together then.

Today I am more lucky at another Internetcafe. I write a few mails so all know I am well and go to a supermarket after. Tabwater is not recommended for drinking so I buy 10 liters of water and some more things I need. First time in turkey I pay much less than I would at home. I go back to suryananda and write the blog late afternoon so now I will go back to internetcafe to put it online. is back online too so there will be many news. Hope you all enjoy reading so far! Tomorrow morning I will go to Ankara where I am invited to a foto exhibition of a friend. Btw. The pudding at the puddingshop i awesome!

NNovember 3. – November 6. Petrovac – Nea Peramos

Hey my dear friends out there!

Server of my homepage AND my computer are down. I hope both problems will be solved soon in the meantime you get one update here at least. Sorry but pictures no possible at the moment. I am near Thassos in Greece now and all is fine. Tonight I am invited to a greek tavern to make some music together with the local people.

Here what happened these days:

November 3. Petrovac (Montenegro) – Fial (Albania) [N40°43,679´ E019°34,472´]

Kilometer done today: 251

What a day – tonight I will be nearly saying it can only get better….
I don´t sleep well that night but the morning starts like the last day ended. Sunrise and landscape are amazing and soon I find a nice Marina again to get a coffee. They offer free Internet connection too so all is really perfect. After hitting the road I come close to the Albanian Border soon – on a road the Navigation system doesn´t even know. I hope it will work in Greece but in Istanbul I have to get proper roadmaps for the way to come. When I pass by an amazing rose garden I stop and ask two cute old ladies for some of them to offer to kali. They ask if I need them for my girlfriend so I explain what I need them for.

Next stop is for coffee at a small roundabout. Next to the roundabout there is a well with drinking water for the people who live there. I sit down at a table that is half occupied and people start talking with me immediately. I learn my first Albanian words (hello, thank you and goodbye are most important everywhere…). When people ask me what I do in india I tell them I do yoga. “What is Yoga….?” they ask. I try to explain but words fail as nobody speak real english and I can only say hello, thank you and goodbye in their language. What to do – I decide to show them headstand and peacock so they maybe understand. They clap their hands but I still don´t know if they know Yoga. After saying goodbye I refill my drinking water at the well and chalo to the border.
First donkeys and bulls are to be seen on the road and soon I am standing at the border again. Nearly noon and hardly 50km done – I have to speed up.

But shortly after the border I see a sign that says “berber” and ask myself if this could possibly mean a barber. Yes it could! I am so happy so I forget asking for the price before. After all is done he wants 15 € for shaving head and face. I give 10 and he is happy. India coming closer. Next I realize petrol is much more expensive than I had thought – Internet is not always up to date.

Albania is completely different – completely flat and suddenly I feel like in india – first Vodafone sign, barbers, bulls and donkeys on the street.

In the first town I try to change some Hungarian money but not even Raiffeisen Bank takes them – even though I have bank account there at home. After checking 3 more banks and western union (“we only take money of EU countries” – like Japan, Kanada and America but not Hungary…). It is possible to pay in Euro here so I refuse to give them to the bank people and go.

Roads are straight and flat so I can make quite a way in little time. Disadvantage is the speed limit of mostly 60 and 80 km per hour and police is standing next to the road nearly everywhere. They stop me twice the first time giving me a sign to turn on the light and second time they are just curious about suryananda.

I bought only little petrol after the border so soon I choose one of the cheaper petrol stations to get what I need. After leaving it suryananda makes strange noises and shortly after no more accelaration. Engine stops and I roll to the next petrolstation where the keeper, Mr. Shamej was very helpful. The petrol station before had cheated me – what they had sold me was whatever but no petrol. It takes more than an hour to get the stuff out of the tank again and after starting still fails. Mr. Shamej suggests I should go to police but at that time I am more worried about suryananda.

Luckily we have success starting the engine by pulling her a few times around the petrol station with a petrol truck. Too late for going to police so I decide to quickly go back to the petrol station where I had bought that liquid and take a picture for police next morning. (Mr. Shamej had already called them and they had told him I had not been there). I show them the two bottles on the pictures and as they are still not ready to give me my money back I take the camera to take a picture for the police. When I tell them I will sleep here and go to police next morning they suddenly give me my money back…
I fill all containers I have at Mr. Shamejs Petrol station and go on still being very upset.
20 km later I suddenly hear a strange noise from the backside wheels. I stop at a petrol station again to find out the back carrier for the petrol is damaged too. So no choice but to stop for today – sleeping at the petrol station to wait for the mechanic who has his place right next door. For the back carrier I have solutions and all tools I need to realize them. But the wheels are to be fixed by a professional.
Albania doesn´t seem to like me. I wanted to visit the blue hole spring in the south but at the moment I think about going to Greece as fast as possible to rest there for one or two days…. 145km to the border and 444km to the greek coast if I want to move in the right direction.

November 4. Fial (Albania) – Thessaloniki (Greece) [N40°38,665´ E022°54,712´]

Km today: 454

The day starts like the day before ended…. I wake up at the petrol station in the morning and after having breakfast I want to start the computer…. To find out it does not work anymore.

The mechanic is already at the shop but when he checks the car he doesn´t find anything worth repairing. The sound is gone and after lifting the tire he says everything alright. In the meantime I fix the backcarrier which is done very fast because of Romans great roofconstruction. By that time Ervis stops at the petrol station being curious about suryananda. His english is very good so he and a guy who has been to germany a long time are the only people I am able to communicate with. Ervis knows somebody who can help with the computer and in the meantime he wants to show me a historical site. I enjoy statues and buildings like I expect to see in greece – very nice. A freshly married couple and a lot of children coming by school give the whole thing a very nice touch of being alive. And again I feel like in india when we are climbing ancient walls – no problem. Back in town we find out it is not possible to repair the computer. Ervis suggests to go to greece because they have better knowledge there. So this is what I do.

Nearly all the way to the border I am Passing a mountainarea that maes me feel like in himalaya again. But roads are better in himalaya…. Going an average spped of about 30 I need more than 5 hours to reach the greek border which is only 150km away from Fial. This is one of the mainroads in this country. I am glad the road is getting better the closer greece is coming. At the border the checks are very strict as I have to wait for more than 2 hours to stand in a q of maybe 30 cars. When I reach the border the greek custom officer looks at me asking ”Austria?”. When I nod he turns around calling a KOLLEGE – probably somebody who speaks german I think. And I find out I am right when I see the word POLIZEI written on an austrian police uniform. An austrian policeofficer at albanian – greek border. We have nice little smalltalk for a view minutes and then he says good buy and good luck. So no check this time and minutes later I am in Greece. In the next village I decide to have dinner for it is already night time. I sit, like most of the times, down at a half occupied table. And soon I make new friends. Eirina makes great Suflaki for me so now I have enough power to drive the 300km that are left.
Roads in greece are very good. Up and down so Suryananda has to work hard but the condition is better than in Austria. But there are hardly any exits and in fact no possibilities to rest. Only a few kilometers before Thessaloniki engine stops and petrol is finished. Quickly calculated I need around 20l of petrol for 100km. So I not only need somebody for the computer but I have to see a mechanic too. Around midnight I enter Thessaloniki. A media market electronic store is next to the road so I decide to sleep behind it in an industrial zone. When searching for a place to park I see a few prostitutes and a lot of police. I don´t think about it any further and soon find a good place to spend the night. Not romantic but alright and close to media market.
I make some food get washed as well as possible and after prepare to go to sleep. When I go to the cockpit to get my cellphone for setting the alarmclock I see a lot of blue flashlight and a lot of light. Two police cars standing in front of suryananda. I smile, take my papers and get out of the car. They have their hands at there guns and are not amused at all. I explain why I am here and after they check suryananda and ask a lot of stupid questions. I ask them if they know are mechanic but greek police is not helpful at all. They just tell me its Friday and it will be hard to find somebody. In that moment I wished to be back in Albania where police was superpolite, friendly and helpful (They stopped me quiet a few times there but only because they like my car so much. Most of the times they were just smiling and telling me good luck.) When they leave I am still smiling wondering what is so funny – but I don´t find out. I don´t know yet weither to like or not to like greece. I decide to decide tomorrow – Saturday (damnit).

November 5. Thessaloniki – Nea Peramos (greece) [N40°50,051 E024°18,302]

Km today: 168

I wake up early morning and have a little talk with my neighbor, a truck driver. He tells me there is a mechanic hardly 100m away so I go there immediately. But no possible, Saturday closed. The guy there is very friendly and tells me the way to another mechanic who is just next to the media market. I go there and after the very friendly mechanic tells me the way to another mechanic I go to media market. I give the computer to the service desk and it is checked. Its only some bad blocks they tell me. They will be able to fix it but without any promise it will keep on working. And the only charge 10€ – I start to like greece. The mechanic game (Sorry I can´t help but you go…..) happens a few more times before I find some place where I am helped. The handbreak is stuck so I decide we just remove it. In Austria we say “Wer bremst verliert!” – you brake you lose. Better to have no handbrake than always handbrake.

While suryananda gets surgery the media market guy calls “Too many bad blocks – no possible to repair.” I have coffee with the mechanics talking to them with all my bdy language. We hardly understand each other but we have fun. All I had to do in Thessaloniki is done so I pick up the computer and leave town. I call my mother and some friends at home paying an incredible amount for a very bad connection to solve the computer problem. The only possibility is to send it home so my mother brings it to the shop where I bought it so the harddisk will be replaced. After Michi, a good friend of mine (Thank you for your great support I really appreciate this – you make many things possible for me including all this blog by the great work you did with my homepage. Thank you!) will set it up and put the files I need from my home disk on it so they end it back. This will take probably more than a week so I will have to wait somewhere…. Greece is pretty expensive to wait but I don’t know if I can trust the postservice in turkye. What to do… For now I can only wait for Monday to send the computer then and however there will be nothing happening until monday. I decide not to think about it any more and start enjoying the road again. I am happy I took my very old acer with me for sukha. Its old, slowly and the harddisk is hardly bigger than my sd cards. But for writing it will do the job – for all the pictures you will have to wait until I get back my netbook.

When driving along the coast I see many places where I can park directly at the beach – all is completley died out. No season. It is nearly evening when I find the small town of Nera Peramos. Food and internet. I eat in a nice beach shack and talk to the local people. After a few minutes they invite me to make music together in the evening! Yeah! I have enough time to go to internet café and write a little until the music starts. I decide to park suryananda right next to the shack where the music is happening tonight. People here know me now so camping in town will be no problem. We eat and drink, make music and dance until I am shaking for cold because I am so tired. I am invited for all the food and drinks and feeling happy I fall asleep. Tomorrow will be a big party in town that happens once a year. 3000 – 4000 people will come and I am invited again to make music on that festival! Greek folk music and didgeridoo fit pretty well.

November 2. Pisak (Croatia) – Petrovac (Montenegro) [N42°12,815 E018°55,673]

The first sunrise at the sea is as amazing as the first sunset the day before. First I drive to a little Marina to have coffee. Some people are already sitting outside. At seven o clock in the morning it is comfortably warm and when coming there I say loudly “dobar dan” to everybody before I sit down next to a guy who looks nice. Soon we start talking – I am impressed by his good english and he tells me that he is working on a charter boat when there is season. At the end I am invited for the coffee – again I am impressed by hospitality!

Soon after this amazing experience I discover the first temple next to the street. Even though it is still a Christian one I light some incense and make morning pooja there. A few kilometers after this I discover the first teastall alike at a wonderful viewpoint. I enjoy the awesome colors of autumn as much as the incredible view at the freshwater lakes the name of which I forgot. They are situated just a few kilometers before I pass the border to bosnia herzegovina – so if somebody could help me out with the name of the place I would be happy! I climb some rather dangerous rocks to get a better view of the place and suryananda. When I do so I discover nice caves all over the place that make me feel a little like climbing a small glacier. I am glad the temperature around 25° does not….

When I cross the border suryananda is checked for the first time. In the car the custom officer finds some incense I got from a Hare Krisna devotee in Zagreb. I am asking myself if this is making me suspisious when he is holding them in his hand much longer than all the other stuff… Then he says “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna…. You believe in this?” While I start to explain what I believe in he opens my bookshelf and finds Koran and Bhagavad gita. Now it turns out to be a pleasant religious discussion. If I remember right a friend of his sister is Krsna devotee too. 5 minutes later I am on the road again – in bosnia herzegovina now.

Hardly 20 minutes later I am passing the next border. Again I am stopped, again suryananda gets checked. I meet two nice guys from france there when their bus was checked too. They were going to Dubrovnik. All the best to you if you read this! Hope you enjoy! After all my medical supply is checked I can go on and arrive in Dubrovnik soon after. Petrol is nearly finished again so I am glad when I enter the city. Searching for Mc Wlan is without any success – seems like times of free internet two times a day while drinking coffee are over. I spend my last Kuna for petrol and head for the border to Montenegro. Third border today but this time no check. I gave a businesscard of mine to one of the officers before and he obviously had put it in the passport. Border control was just smiling “Yoga teacher?”, he said, “welcome to Montenegro!”

In Montenegro petrol is cheaper, currency is euro and the landscape is compared to Croatia…. Not nice. Coming back to Eurozone feels not at all like coming to a country with a better economy – all is cheaper, more dirty and many ugly buildings ruin the landscape….

Anyway people are amazing here. On a ferry I saw a german car so I started talking to them. I found out they are locals and as my navigation system is very poor already I was happy to find somebody to tell me the short way to Albanian border. The Wlan quest was still without solution….

At sunset I stopped at a hotel that seemed like too expensive to even look at it. Anyway I drove to the parking lot and went in as I was told by the car park keeper internet will be no problem inside. At the reception I am told that internet is 1€/15min. I accept, get the code and order coffee to enjoy highspeed internet in a beautiful sunset panorama view directly at the sea. One hour later I go back to the reception to pay for the internet which is refused. “You had your own computer – using the connection only is free”.

Thank you! Thank you for giving me this life, this possibilities to experience love, bliss, beauty, harmony, happiness,…..

Now we are at a small road close to the beach again where we spend the night. Tomorrow we will arrive in Albania – cheap petrol! Yeah!

Magic Bus The Who ( HQ sound )