LOG ENTRY 30
I received the great news that Dad is back in a few days with the carnet de passage and we can continue our trip soon so I made a quick run slash sightseeing to Vasco da Gamma and for train ticket and received an offer for a night out in the red light district from a group of student.
I love Goa for the fact that every morning I can buy a big English breakfast with Heinz baked beans for the price of a single cheeseburger in McDonalds. Not as I am from the rainy island close to mainland Europe, which would explain my obsession for uncooked bacon, but it does feel good to have a calorie intake more than 200 in the morning. Filled up with calories for only 100 rupees and I was on my way to Vasco da Gamma with the public bus. This wasn't the same bus as I got "used" to in Punjab or in Pakistan but a proper air conditioned bus with soft seats. I couldn't believe it and also the ticket was really cheap.
Kabamba air conditioned buses
I have seen part of Vasco when I arrived from Delhi so my plan was to cover the unseen areas. Before that, I had to get in touch with Mom about Dad's progress with the carnet so I quickly located an internet cafe. It turned out that Dad will be on his way back within two days with the carnet so my sightseeing trip turned into a "buying ticket" trip of course after I explained to Mom for over an hour that I am fine and my life is not in any danger just because the monsoon took my roof off. I ensured her that my daily alcohol level is sufficiently high to survive any type of tropical disease as well and I did promptly say no for the diamond smugglers offer.
Viceroy's Arch near Panjim
Without realizing the time I spent talking to Mom I ran deeply into the afternoon which cut my sightseeing short and the internet bill long. Surprisingly the train station was fairly empty so buying the ticket back to Delhi for the next day was not as challenging as I expected. After all this I can say that my day is going really well, Dad will be back within 3 days so we can finally continue our motorcycle trip instead of globetrotting with trains and buses and finally the rain has stopped long enough to cross the road without getting my underwear wet. After wandering around the Vasco market I made my way back to the bus station and in no time the lovely air conditioned bus was carrying my happy butt back to Calangute. Even thought I got off the bus much earlier, nothing could ruin my mood, even the rain, which did not spare Calangute as nicely as it did Vasco. Just right after I got sufficiently wet a car pulled over with a group of student from Mumbai who I had a few drinks with at the party two days ago and they gave me a lift back and a few sips of whiskey as well. To find out whether I accepted their offer for the night out in the red light district of Goa, read LOG ENTRY 31 soon.
LOG ENTRY: 3
ODOMETER: 1299 km - 1720 km
Leaving Burgas in the morning, crossing over to Turkey and continue riding all the way down to Istanbul.
First kilometers in Turkey
The first night we spent in the tent was quiet uneventful. We planned a rather short day today, only about 400-450 kilometers to Istanbul. Our campsite in Burgas was a small camping with a private beach. However it was nothing like the Sunshine coast on the other end of the city where we originally planned to stay. In the previous blog entry I’ve mentioned that I am from Burgas. It is partially true as my parents had a lovely vacation there exactly nine months before I was born. The exact place of this holy event however turned into a German built mega hotel so thes chances for my mission to lie on the holy grass of the Sunshine coast camping quickly vanished. Nevertheless, our campsite of the other end of the city was just as great for about $5 per tent with some local families camping there too.
Meeting with other bikers at the Turkish border
The way from Burgas to the Turkish border in the morning was fairly good, nothing like the way from the Friendship bridge to Burgas. Sometimes we felt yesterday that the giant holes on the road are left there as an obstacle for NATO tanks if the West every decided to invade Bulgaria. As we reached the border we met an American couple, travelling around the world from San Francisco on a fairly similar route as us.
The one hour process to cross the border felt like an eternity, little we know that this one hour border crossing will be the fastest for the coming year. After paying the visa on arrival fee the Turkish custom officers were asking for an extra document. We suspected that it is just about some extra money and after some negotiation they let us enter Turkey so we forget about it quickly. Of course the question for that mysterious paper will come back again and again later on at every border crossing. Going for the extra mile, the gas station attendant guiding the cows off from the highway
The highway to Istanbul was amazing, even better quality than we have back in Hungary. This, the pretty mediterranean landscape and the hospitality of the locals quickly get Turkey in a special place in our heart. Everything was so relaxed, we were shocked when stray cows crossed the highway at the petrol station or when we ordered the cheapest food on the menu which was kebab and the waiter kept bringing more and more meat, of course for no surcharge.
We arrived to Istanbul in the late afternoon which was a major mistake. We learned after that arriving into a huge and unknown city during afternoon rush hours aren’t the way to go. Still it only took as two hours to find a very nice camping near the sea, sorry readers, we are beach obsessed riders.
LOG ENTRY: 1
The first day of the trip, leaving Budapest's Hero's Square and heading down towards Szeged to cross the border to Romania, rainy mountain ride in the afternoon.
Day 1. Budapest-Szeged-Border Crossing to Romania-Nagykata-Deva
Odometer: 650 km
About to leave the Hero's Square in Budapest.
So this is it, eight in the morning and the bikes are all warmed up on Hero's Square, Budapest. About thirty interested friends and other bikers who are prepared to take us to the border are gathered on this sunny day. Just to add to the feeling, one of the primary TV channel's crew turned up for the usual -let's fill the program with something- kind of interview. We have been preparing for this day for quite a while now. The idea of riding around the world on a motorcycle was, in fact, my Dad's idea. It came on one Christmas Eve when our biker friend Samu surprised us with the book of Zoltan Sulkowski and Gyula Bartha, the first duo to circumnavigate the globe with a motorcycle. Nevertheless, we both hooked on it as the motorcycle bug was already in the family for a long time. So this is eight in the morning, and finally, our dream about begins. There are around ten bikers who decided to ride along with us until the Romanian border together with a car with some of my friends and my grandpa in it. We have reached the border without any exciting event, excellent riding conditions, good mood, a perfect day to see my beloved country for the coming years.
Aurel Sr. giving interview to the RTL's TV crew
Only 2885 kilometers in the V-strom on the day of leaving Hungary.
Crossing over to Romania was probably the easiest border crossing. About five minutes of administration we were already rolling on the roads of Transylvania. As this beautiful area use to belonged to Hungary, communicating with the locals are not an issue. Not as we stopping at every corner for tea, we are trying to reach the Carpathian mountain before sunset. Our primary goal is to arrive at the Bulgarian seashore by the next afternoon, so we need a long first-day ride. The only thing holding us back is the quality of the roads. The constant holes on most of the Transylvanian roads were a sad reminder of the negligence of this region, however, as we approached the Carpathians the view of the mountains completely made us forget about the shaky road. The Carpathians are the major dividing line between central and eastern Europe with peaks over 1500 meters. I would recommend this region for bikers as this is probably the best way to get down to Istanbul from western Europe.
Mom, Dad and me before crossing over to Romania
Last touches in Hungary
By late afternoon we were already climbing the Carpathians when the first storm of the trip caught up with us making our progress a bit slower. Finally, we have reached Deva, a small city inside the mountains. It took us about an hour to find the only one available accommodation which was moderately cheap with its 15 dollars a night/room price.