Monday, September 17, 2012

Gallipoli and no worries

I seem to have planned it all wrong. I should have drove into Istanbul, picked up visa for Iran then kept going. As it turned out I dropped in my application on the Tuesday and was told to come back Friday. All very good, so I have to sit around for 3 days. I shrugged off the numbers of armed police outside and went on my way to make other plans.

Anzac Cove
I thought it would be good idea to visit Gallipoli on the West coast. This is the place where several thousand Australian and New Zealanders died in 1915 at the start of the great war. There were plenty of others, Indians & British who fell but at that time the sheer numbers of dead and injured were shocking the Australian nation. I'll spare you the history lesson, but still to this day, Gallipoli is close to the hearts of every Australian, for all the wrong reasons. See more here

Hotel Crowded House

However, in my eyes, at this time  I found the place to be beautiful, calming and pleasant. I even met a few stray kiwi's and aussies there. It was hard to comprehend this beautiful place was a battle ground for so long. Weird atmosphere.

As its late I need to find somewhere to sleep so I drop into a place across the water called Canakkale,  in the Anzac hotel of course. Sounds familiar, nearby there's another hotel with a familiar name.

View of the Ferry from a nice bar
This means a short ferry ride across the water which is great. On the way I meet up with some guys travelling from Scotland on a bus trip, touring the region. They tell me that they are heading home after a few days.
I can't comprehend going home in a few days, it will take me so long to get home. I stop thinking about it and settle at the end of a long day with a refreshment looking out on the estuary. I know I seem to spend most end of days with my feet up and a cold beer. Its the best thing sometimes!

Anyway, back to Istanbul, I head for Iranian embassy on Friday. I walk straight in and I'm handed back my passport complete with visa. Brillaint! It gives me a window of 90 days to enter. This means that I could have applied in Australia and would not have had to piss around here for 5 days! Ah well, just put it down to ... whatever you want to Steven.
Ah, I must mention, on Tuesday this week I was told, a suicide bomber attacked a police station just along the street from the Iranian embassy, hence the police presence everywhere. I never heard a bang, the place is simply too busy to hear anything. Don't think anyone else noticed either.

Lovely view but something wrong

So on Friday afternoon, I leave Istanbul for the last time and head North East to the Black Sea. I end up in a seaside town, a bit shabby perhaps but seems cheap enough for me. $40 for a room on the beach with verandah. Lovely.

However, Im starting to worry about something else though. Some of the roads here are not so good. Most motorways are fine but the rest can be in any state. In a car, this is not too bad but a bike depends on traction to stay upright, and to keep me alive hopefully. Some roads are great, brand new and perfect surface, some so polished they resemble a granite kitchen top, scary should it rain. Some however would be better being dug up and left that way. I've come across so many sudden potholes, lumps, bumps, kerbs, rutts that its shaken me to the bone. The bike has really felt it. With every bang rattle and clang I feel the bikes pain. How long till something breaks. This is not a machine designed for corrugated surfaces and it lets me know its not. After a few days I've learned that when stressed, the right pannier, opens by itself, also the secure top box was found to be hanging on by the lock part only. This is only after a few days on some bumpy roads. How the hell will it cope with Pakistan? I will need to rethink this a bit. This adds to my worries and I wake up through the night at 4am trying to solve it. In the end I solve nothing by 7am when I fall asleep again to waste a couple of hours getting up late when I could be moving on. I'm worried I'm falling behind even more.

The next day i realise in my haste to get away from Istanbul that I will now find it hard to obtain new tyres for the bike. No big deal you think but the tyres will be bald by the time I reach the Pakistan border and they cannot be sourced there. This means I must get them in the next town, or heaven forbid, drive back to Istanbul. how stupid am I? I ponder over this for too long and in annoyance at myself and perhaps the need to move one, decide to continue onto Ankara. There must be bike places there.
I arrive Saturday night. The shops are shut Sunday so another long wasteful wait. Monday morning I get to see if I have to drive back West 500kms or not.

I have noticed I seem to be worrying a lot now. I should be enjoying every moment. This isn't right!

Stuffed in Turkey?


  1. Hang in there, Steven! First priority (after keeping up on these great blog posts!)is to get tires, even if you must back track. You must keep the bike road-worthy. I hope you have a good supply of wire, duct tape, and zip ties! -Russ