D-Day, riding without legs, slowly cooked at the borders and a lot of awesome riding in between Germany and the Iranian border.
Sunday, August 7, 2016
Tuesday, August 2nd, finally was my personal D-Day. The day before I went on my way east, my friend Niko asked me “so what’s your first leg?” But on this ride there will be no legs and no alarm clocks (maybe few exceptions granted, e.g. a possible Bam-Taftan-Quetta ride).
I left Austria in glorious sunshine towards Graz joining the “Balkan highway”. Crossing the Slovenian border was a non-event (EU), crossing the Croatian Border a small event, crossing the Croatian – Serbian border a bigger event and the Serbian – Bulgarian border was an event! The border guards made sure no motorcyclists jumped the line for the two-hour queue at border, temperature a pleasant 36C.
Same game at the Bulgarian- Turkish border, another two hours at 34C. It was at that border that I saw first hand the extend of the refugee crisis, when a few athletic refugees climbed over the 3meter high fence next to me in record speed and disappeared into the woods.
Lots of great roads in between and given the peak of the summer holidays, not that much traffic going east. Riding through Belgrade reminded me a lot of the last time I saw the city in 1987.
Crossing the Bulgarian- Turkish border would have been quite efficient if it wasn’t for the Turkish official in charge of currency declaration who was “out of office” for a meagre two hours.
While the Turkish highways are really great, their way to handle the toll collection is not, at least for foreigners. You need to get yourself a little electronic gadget somewhere at night before you hit the toll roads starting right at the border near Edirne. I even asked the friendly policeman how to pay - “Istanbul” was the reply. So I cruised on and on and on, no toll collection booth ever in sight until I left the Turkish Autobahn at Gerede, causing an alarm go off. That night I checked the net a bit deeper for the local toll collection system, and what I found wasn’t good. So tomorrow leaving Turkey for Iran there will be a bill waiting at the border amounting to 11 times the normal toll. Well, it would have been the same price as if driving in Italy -but the Turkish roads are way better.
Tomorrows crossing of the Turkish – Iranian border at Bazargan,
will be an interesting one, the three times I did it before wasn’t such a great experience but let’s hope for the best! -and as always check the ALBUM for more photos-