Thank you for the mails and messsages! I am sorry for the delay! By now I arrived at home safely and I will write down the last two days of my journey within the next two days. Currently I am in Innsbruck waiting for a friend with whom I want to make a little motorcycle tour next weekend. I will write about this one too so no worries!
27. & 28.4.2013
Km counter: 44318 today: 445 sum: 9202
N41°00’13” E028°58’26” – N42°15’56” E024°18’31”
Leaving the city is easy at night. I get a little more petrol and go on the highway. There is only little traffic and I have music so I arrive at the border very quickly. Border itself takes not even five minutes. When entering the European union the Bulgarian customs just take a short look but step back immediately when I tell them where I come from. I get rather cheap petrol at the first petrol pump and keep on driving. After sunrise I realize the beauty of the landscape. Real wild rivers! Amazingly beautiful! I never saw rivers like this in Austria. I miss my camera! A little after sunrise I become very tired and decide to take a rest. I stop next to the highway in a beautiful hilly landscape enjoy the scenery for a moment and fall asleep. I love Bulgaria!
At 4 am I wake up after 1.5 hours sleep. Somebody is standing in front of me inside Suryananda. I start shouting so he grabs my camerabag, jumps out of the car and runs. I am behind him but no chance to chat him at the first meters and I am afraid to they might be two and Suryananda will be stolen if I run after him. Of course the door is open as I just jumped behind him as fast as possible. I am very shocked when I go back inside and make coffee. I never believed this could happen – being robbed in suryananda while sleeping – less than 100km on European soil! It takes nearly an hour before I calm down. All camera Equipment is gone! No more pictures of this journey! I don’t expect the highway through Bulgaria and Serbia to be that beautiful but having no camera really hurts. After one hour I become very tired and sleep until 11. After standing up I contact my insurance at home and go to the police station. The police is very friendly and they come with me to check everything and look if maybe there are camera recordings as the whole area is covered with private and public cameras. Unfortunately all cameras look in the wrong direction so they just have pictures of me running behind him from the back side! When everything is clear they send me to another police station…..
Here I have to wait several hours before we go back to Suryananda again, check the lock, the cameras like before to return to the police station where I get the report just before sunset. Not my day. But very emotional days make me sing so I spend all evening at reggae café making music again. A friend of Suecrue from Olimpos whom I wanted to meet finally contacts me and apologizes for the delay. Back pain…. I tell him I will be there tomorrow and see what I can do. At night I meet two very nice guitar players from Libya. We make music together and they convince me to drink two beers with them. I am drunk in no time and forget about what happened in the morning. All fine!
When I wake up I have massive hangover – I can hardly move so I have my first coffee when I should be at Kemals place already. After an Odyssey on public transport in Istanbul I arrive at his place. When he opens the door he is bent over and I can see the pain in his face. Still we smile at each other – we like each other immediately. After he is better we have food together and Kerman invites me to stay at his place whenever I am in Istanbul. Even though what happened yesterday I still like the city. When I come back to suryananda it is dark already. Saturday night in Istanbul – perfect time to leave the city!
Monday I quickly do what needs to be done so I can leave like printing the ticket, going to a barber, packing my stuff and cleaning Suryananda. Way too quickly! I am ready around ten thirty and my shuttle is leaving at two. Reggae café is not open yet son ne yapabilirim (what to do)? I walk down to the ocean and a little around town. I like Istanbul! When I get back to Suryananda it’s way too late. The shuttle is supposed to leave in 4 minutes so I quickly grab my bags and run. At the travel agency there is no shuttle. I get a coke and some chocolate, open the coke, put the chocolate in the hand luggage and check my stuff. I don’t find my money! Except a few Lira I have nothing on me. I ask when the shuttle will be coming and if there is time to quickly check the car. I run to suryananda and back – without any success. I need a chocolate. In fact not that much of a problem as a friend will pick me up at the airport in Vienna and the wallet must be either at the car or somewhere in my luggage. I don’t find the chocolate! Seems like the small bag is eating my stuff! When I am just starting to check the big bag the shuttle arrives. At least I found the chocolate. I close the bag and try to feel satisfied with the thought that I will find the money like the chocolate and it will be no problem. At the airport I finally find my wallet in a side pocket of my bag.
At the check in I ask for a window seat but they tell me no possible – plane is full but I can sit in the middle. When I get on the plane an old lady is sitting on my seat (6 in a row I had D) and the window seat is free. I say nothing and take the window seat as I believe it is probably hers. A minute later a man who obviously knows her comes, takes her seat and she swaps in between us. Another minute later she stands up and I never see her again. I have no idea what had happened but I have a window seat no neighbor in an airplane that is completely full! Nice! A nice flight later I meet my friend Stefan at the airport. I am very happy to see him and we go to his flat in Vienna where I will spend my first night in Austria. I can’t wait to get a hot bath so I go to the bathroom full and step in just after turning on the water. Hmmm, no hot water… I ask Stefan for help but after a few attempts we give up. No hot water!!!! What for did I come to Austria but hot spring water from the mountains? Probably that’s the price for the window seat I think. The evening with Stephan passes much too fast and soon both of us go to sleep.
Tuesday I take a walk through the city first. After half an hour I stop at a new Indian restaurant to drink chai. The chai tastes like shit. I contact Sybille, a friend and yoga teacher colleague who lives close. She is surprised about me being here and invites me for breakfast. I can’t wait to get real bread! And real jam! Cheese! Hot bath! All my wishes are fulfilled now! Thank you once again Sybille. In the afternoon I have an appointment I came to Vienna for (fish pass needs to be built) and then I go on to my mothers place. I would love to get my motorbike as temperatures are around 25° but this is unfortunately not the plan yet. Wednesday I spend a nice day with my mother visiting the town where she grew up. Austria actually is amazingly beautiful…. If many of the people were not that strange it would be a great place to live! Ne yapabilirim I think. We get very nice dinner at a restaurant on a hill and enjoy an amazing sunset. We get back late so my mother goes to bed soon and I leave again to meet a friend who is living just around the corner – I have not much time here and I have to spend it wisely.
Thursday I sleep long and have nice breakfast with my mother again. We arrive at the airport having a lot spare time, go for another coffee and I check in. The stewardess at the check in counter seems to like me and gives me a window seat, without neighbor, on a plane that is full…. Wtf? Even though the cold water last time I decide this to be a good omen and enjoy the flight.
Today is Helins birthday and I can’t wait to see the girls in the evening. For a moment it seems like they have to study but soon Helin and two friends and then Versile and Deniz arrive. The evening becomes an amazing surprise party for Helin. When I sang “Start wearing purple” last week Helin was singing with me as she knows and likes the song so my birthday present for her is a purple Indian pant. She looks amazingly beautiful wearing it and it will be great for the yoga classes too! We all enjoy the evening a lot and again I fall in love…. Istanbul is a really amazing place and its seems like there might be a need for yoga teachers here! Another evening passes much too fast and we have to say good bye much too fast. I promise to be back after their exams and that we will do a yoga weekend then.
Tomorrow I want to meet Evelina whom I know from facebook because she is writing an amazing blog too (daily witchcraft). When we found out we are in Istanbul at the same time we decided to meet immediately of course. Unfortunately she missed a boat so she couldn’t come today. So tomorrow I will meet her, maybe store some yoga mats at reggae café and then definitely maybe move direction to the Bulgarian border. Inshallah.
Km counter: 43873 today: 0 sum: 8757 to go: 1757
Of course it’s raining in the morning so I sleep long. Around eleven o clock my friends, from yesterday, the hippiecouple wake me up and we have breakfast inside suryananda together. They will leave to Macedonia to a rainbow gathering so it’s only little time to say good bye. It’s no problem to charge the battery at the workshop and it seems no problem to stay there too. I get some food and look for hamam and barber but they are either closed or too expensive – there is no way I pay 60 Lira for a Hamam!
In the afternoon the sun comes out so I take the guitar to make some music near the mosque again. When I just sing the third song I am suddenly surrounded by not less than 12 police officers who take my guitar, ask me where I am from (Austria), what I do here (music) and a lot more stupid questions. Then they give me back the guitar and tell me they don’t want to see me there again…. I make a little walk to make sure they don’t follow me as I think it wouldn’t be good if they found out I sleep in my car somewhere in the streets. Nobody follows me so I go back to the car and relax a little.
When I want to go to reggae café the mechanics tell me I have to move suryananda. I will go to Vienna for three days by plane tomorrow so I need a place where it’s secure. A little later Zeki, the owner of the reggae café offers me to park at his place – for free! I am really happy about this opportunity so I can take out my guitar again and make some music at this free place without cops and a lot of positive feedback. Deniz and Vesile are here again too, and today they took two friends – Helin and Basak. Surrounded by the probably most beautiful girls in Istanbul I enjoy making music a lot. I fall in love many times this evening, with every amazing smile of them, with every eye contact with every touch. To love is to sing I said once and we make love together – singing and dancing into the evening. We have a lot of fun, Helin tells me my future by reading the coffee leftover and like the evening before they run only minutes before they have to be at the hostel. Thank you for this amazing evening! I hope to see all of you again soon!
Km counter: 43873 today: 264 sum: 8757 to go: 1757
N39°54’45” E030°01’04” – N41°00’13” E028°58’26”
Two days to go less than 300km to Istanbul and I have no idea where to go there or what to do until Monday. Weather still is shit. Cloudy and around 8° make me stay in bed long. At one point only the heating gives me motivation to hit the road. I do so without my cleaning ritual which I usually perform in the morning to make suryananda more a car and less a sleeping room. Landscape reminds me of home again. Looks like Styria, Murtal early spring. No flowers and everything is grey. Rivers are flooded by melting water and the snow is gone but no further sign of spring – no swallows. Did I mention already its fucking cold? Weather remains pretty much the same and 200km before Istanbul I decide to go to my mechanics from last time. Its right next to blue mosque and I believe I can park there for free and maybe even have internet.
A few kilometers before Europe the sun shows for the first time. When I arrive in Sultanahmed its not really warm but ok. The last mechanic turned the gas down so suryanandas engine turns of every time I take the foot of the gas. No problem on the motorway but in the city it’s a little tricky. However Istanbul is one of the nicest big cities I know for driving so I arrive at the mechanic pretty quickly after crossing Bosporus. Space to park just 10m next to the workshop and all of the guys remember me immediately and are happy to welcome me back. We drink chai, I relax a little and then take my guitar and go the 500 meters to the blue mosque. I sit down at a place where I can catch the last rays of the sun and start to play to earn the first ever money by making music. 18 Lira in half an hour – the dinner is earned – and feedback from the people is amazing! I decide to do the same tomorrow again so I got something to do here already.
In the evening I go to a reggae bar with some people I met when I arrived (Portugese hippies who were curious about my car). Again I make music and meet some amazingly beautiful Turkish girls there. Its true, musicians are most sexy… I am happy to be back in Istanbul. For the first time since Aritsar I see tourists and have some infrastructure without the necessity to search hours for every little thing. And people are very nice here, they like hippies, no problem sleeping on the street 500m next to the blue mosque in a colorful hippie bus, no problem making music on the street, free wifi and barber, hamam and all I need just around the corner! Love!
Km counter: 43609 today: 526 sum: 8493 to go: 2033
N36°25’07” E030°29’00” – N39°54’45” E030°01’04”
Tonight I find out the roof window not being 100% rainproof. Fortunately I have a bucket to put under. The heavy thunderstorm turns into persistent rain so I hear raindrops on the roof when the alarm rings. I turn around and continue sleeping – I will go to chimaera later, maybe. When I finally wake up and start the car I am more busy with the engine problems again. This is the last beach, only around 2500km until home I think when I turn the key. I make a short stop at Chimaera but 4,5 Lira entrance fee seems too much for a two km walk in the pouring rain. I go to Elif Camping to get a coffee. Engine is still problem so I pray to make it up the steep road to the main road. I enjoy the coffee a lot, make a quick prayer and turn the key. On the way out of Olimpos I see an amazing rose bush with an incredible lot of flowers! I stop and ask the guy at the shop for some blossoms for my collection. 10 Lira each he is joking. I cant laugh and tell him that I cant pay because I collect or get (for free) flowers in all the countries I cross. I turn around and want to leave but he is coming behind me and of course gives me some of the flowers.
It takes me nearly 4 hours to go the 80km back to Antalya. Top speed now is 45 – downhill! When I arrive at the mechanic I am pretty pissed. I tell him exactly what to do: Make the valves more lose again, change all spark plugs and if this is not enough check the ignition timing. When the first two things are done I check and pull the gas wire at the front side. More gas than inside coming! The gas wire is lose! That’s why no power because I cant operate the gas properly! One of the spark plugs is completely broken too. I told the mechanics to check when I came here first time – but I have to blame myself for not doing myself. However I was right from the beginning! It was an ignition problem with the additional problem of the gas wire! We fix everything and I hit the road again. Suryananda is faster than ever before. An average of 80 is no problem and top speed of 100 possible – but expensive as I find out when I stop for petrol next time. I had an average consumption around 12l yet but the 300km with full power I needed 15l for 100km! In my mind I put a brick under the gas pedal and go on slowly slowly again.
It keeps raining until sunset. For a short while I start regretting I left the beach already but then I realize it would have been raining there all day too. So better to be on the road to the sun. And really, a little before sunset there are holes in the cloud cover and they get bigger quickly! When I stop I am 300km short of Istanbul and the sky is clear and full of stars. Temperature is far below 10! I take way too expensive food at a highway restaurant and while I am inside some guys wash suryananda without telling me. When I come back out they want money of course but what to do? I am sick of people who ask for money before even saying hello and tell him to fuck off. Wifi of the expensive restaurant works very well so at least for the price I get wifi all night! Great!
Km counter: 43083 today: 2 sum: 7955
N36°24’20” E030°28’42” – N36°25’07” E030°29’00”
Today is my day off so everytime I wake up I turn around again and continue sleeping. I don’t mind the noise people make on the beach and when I finally decide to wake up it past 3 pm already. I have coffee and breakfast an get out one hour later to make a walk along the beach. Soon I find a template advertising Acro Yoga so I continue walking until I find Elif guesthouse and camping. No Yoga this time as it is off season but the guys have a coffee and wifi. I will be back later and a few meters further I find an ideal place to spend my second night at Olimpos.When walking around it smells and sounds like spring in Austria – flowers, birds. I think slowly I can deal with going back! Under pine trees at the beach! I go a little fishing and later go back to Elif for another coffee, music and a little chat. It seems to be a perfect place here to make a break and relax when travelling overland to or from india – unfortunately I have to leave tomorrow. I see the flames of chimaera from the beach but decide to go there early morning before sunrise as there is an incredible thunderstorm out at the sea at night which brings little rain at the beach. Nice and shanti day – I like Olimpos!
Km counter: 43081 today: 144 sum: 7953
N36°54’16” E030°41’35” – N36°24’20” E030°28’42”
At eight o clock I am at the mechanic and they start working. The ignition is fine so I was wrong – the camshaft too is fine so the mechanic was not 100% right either. It is the valves that need to be adjusted! After 5 minutes the engine is fine again. I see another Ford like suryananda being a spare part storage in the corner and ask for hand brake cables. We take the back brakes apart and they are finished. I know know why I had such an uncomfortable feeling at roads steeper than 12% without emergency brake system. I need to change money which is pretty hard as I have only swiss money left. On the way searching for a money changer I find a barber who is playing a Saz (Turkish string instrument) when I look into his shop. All over the shop there are small motorbikes so I ask him with hand and feet which one he is riding. Transalp! Nice! Even though I don’t understand one word of what he is saying I like him – we seem to have a lot in common. I go back to the workshop and the guys there take me to a money changer. After little bargaining I get an ok rate and have enough money to pay the mechanic and the petrol to reach the border. Back at the mechanic I find out they have wifi there! Awesome so they have power to charge all batteries I have and wifi so I have internet! Not a nice place to be though but it could be much worse!
I wait until 5 pm and then suddenly one of the mechanics jumps into the car and wants to start for a test drive. I tell him to wait as I have to tidy up my living room before I can drive anywhere. And the cable needs to be unplugged too and, however I am the only one driving Suryananda. We make a test drive in the city and at least the engine sounds much better. Top Speed? Hard to tell in the city. I bring the mechanic back and leave the place going to Olimpos. On the motorway I find out – sound was the only thing changing. Top speed still at 65 instead of 85. After several kilometers I turn around and go back. We make another test drive on the highway and I show the problem. No problem the mechanic says – will be fine after 3 days. And how many kilometers?, I think… However I go to Olimpos which is only 75km away. I will pass Antalya on my way back in two days anyway so if it is still the same then I will make a stop on the way to Europe. The last km to Olimpos are a very steep road and the petrol indication shows very low so I turn around a little before the village and go back to the next bigger village to get petrol. Taking the steep road a second time is no fun. Suryananda really isn’t well! At least there was still enough petrol inside so the consumption seems not to have increased that much.
When I enter Olimpos on the second attempt I see two dirty hippies sitting at the road. I stop and ask them for nice food and wifi but they don’t know. As I find out later they have been at the burning mountain and that’s why they are black all over. I make a little round thru the village and then I go back to the freaks and we make some music together. They show me the way to the beach and little before midnight I find a restaurant where I can get wifi and food. Not cheap and the music is…. Well they have wifi.
Km counter: 42927 today: 75 sum: 7809
N36°46’49” E031°24’05” – N36°54’16” E030°41’35”
Today I sleep sleep sleep. Waking up well past afternoon I get up quickly and get coffee at the bar. I say good morning to a guy who hasn’t been there yesterday and he replies “It’s afternoon!” I don’t say good afternoon then. After coffee I get on the road quickly. Yesterday in the rain I noticed a loss of power and hoped it was because of the heavy rain then. But today conditions are great and still our top speed is stuck at around 65. I guess it’s the distributor cap – something with the ignition. When I stop at a petrol pump one guy speak little german and they tell me to go to a big ford dealer who is just around the corner. The guys at the ford dealer like Suryananda but cant help themselves. They send me to another mechanic. Its somehow always the same with Ford dealers…. However the mechanic says it’s the camshaft again and it will be 50 – 120US$. What to do I think – he will repair it tomorrow morning. I have seen a Mc Donalds just around the corner and remember the free wifi they have everywhere so I get my stuff and go there. No wifi so I go back to the car. I hope I will be in Olimpos tomorrow as I have to be in Istanbul by Monday. For tonight I spend in a filthy area close to the mechanic. Not the best day of the week!
Km counter: 42852 today: 263 sum: 7734
N36°09’32” E033°28’01” – N36°46’49” E031°24’05”
Like so often I have no idea where I am when I wake up. When I open the window I am happy to be at the beach. I make coffee and have nice breakfast. Unfortunately its too cold to have a swim but it looks like dangerous currents here anyway. Soon I start the engine and go back to the road – todays target being the waterfall close to Side. First half of the way is a narrow road going up and down a lot so most of the time we operate first or second gear and go very slowly. The coastal road is nice but I like Greece and croatian roads better – even though I have been there in autumn and now its spring. Still I enjoy the Mediterranean spring a lot and stop every now and then to collect some flowers. After half of the way I change money and get petrol. Iranian petrol is finally finished but I am half the way thru turkey so its okay.
Then the road changes. All the way there have been construction site as they are building a new, much less romantic highway along the coast. Still its much more comfortable and quickly to drive – on a downhill stretch we go faster than 100 (!) just by rolling down. I pass a few tourist towns and its disgusting. Its huge apartment buildings all over and the highway is right next to the beach. How can somebody have fun making holidays on a place like this? When I leave Analya a heavy thunderstorm starts and doesn’t stop until I arrive at the waterfall. Parking at the waterfall itself is no possible and its freezing cold and raining. The waterfall itself is ridiculous – actually it’s the damn of an old mill or irrigation system regulating several artificial stream and the main river. The height of the “waterfall” is maybe half a meter. I feel a little cheated by the lonely planet and leave the place.
I have diarrhoe and I am hungry so I really need a restaurant. I head to the tourist village of side where I hope to find a restauraunt with wifi maybe. On my way thru the village I see a supermarket and stop in front of a few bars. After shopping I ask one guy who is standing in front of my car for a restaurant with wifi. He opens the door of the bar I am standing in front of for me. I sit down and order a coffee first but before he brings the coffee he tells me to come over to the staffs table – They have spaghetti there. As I find out the have no food at all as they are just a bar but still I am invited for the food. I have two coffee after food and start updating the blog when the guy who opened the door for me comes to my table to tell me I am welcome to stay in front of their place all night and wifi will be on all night too – no problem! I pay just for the coffee and go to suryananda to relax as the german people on the table next to me start talking to much bullshit. And once again I manage to be up to date with the blog! YEAH!