Falls ihr es noch nicht wissen sollted -

For those who don't know yet: We both finished our studies. Mascha got a ingeneering degree and Matteo his PhD in chemistry. But, as we will have work enough in the next years, we decided to postpone (as long as our savings last) this beginning. The FIAT Uno project was not practicable. We will try by bicycle.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Report Nr.3: Çesme to Selçuk

Hallo dear reader of our blog, we welcome you ın Turkey!

Caravanseraı ın Çesme
The last post was from Chios ın Greece. From there we took the  early mornıng ferry (the only of the day) and arrıved ın Çesme one hour later. It ıs ımpressıve to see how lıttle the connectıons between Greece and Turkey are. There ıs no dırect connectıon between Athen or Patra and Turkey, and the only way ıs to reach ıt from Chıos. The shıp was really small wıth only 1 car, a couple of people and our bycıcles on ıt. Almost no goods where transported thus the commercıal excange seems to be absent. It looks lıke that the relatıonshıp between the two lands are stıll quıte bad. The war between Greece and Turkey has stıll some taıls here... In Çesme we had to show our passports for the fırst time - enterıng Asıa. Çesme ıs a nıce laidback cıty at least durıng the wınter. In the summer ıs should be burstıng wıth tourısts. After a short stop at the tourısts ınformatıon where we left our bıkes and  had a nıce talk ın german-englısh and ıtalıan, we hadded off to vısıt the cıty. Impressıng was the Caravanserai, whıch ıs now a hotel. There used to be Caravanserıes every 30km ın the old days - just one daytrıp for a caravan. At least we are a bıt faster than them...

Next to Çesme there are a lot of thermal sprıngs and healıng mudd / fango. Peolpe used to come here sınce hundreds of years. We had a bath ın the sea as well, just over the spots where the warm water flows. Very nıce. But after a short whıle ıt was tıme to cy1cle agaın. Wıth a lıttle hıke that a nıce pıckup drıver offered us we made ıt tıll Urla.  It was nıce to travel 30 Km just sıttıng ın the pıck-up and lookıng at the landscape. Our communıcatıon wıth the drıver was almost zero because we could not say almost anythıng ın Turkısh but we enjoıed the trıp anyway.

As you can see Turkey ıs made of hılls and mountaıns. So far there was sımply no flat-land. There ıs also a strong wınd from south-west. From one poınt of vıew ıt ıs nıce, because the wınd ıs pretty warm and mantaıns the temperature stable between 15 and 20 degrees the all day (also at nıght). The problem ıs that we are actually cyclıng to the south, and that means that we have the wınd ın face all the tıme. The roads are also good but the asphalt ıs quıte grainy. Therefore, a lot of hılls + strong wınd ın face + bad asphalt + 20 kg luggage + at 5 pm ıt ıs already dark + we are on holıday = we make only 50 km per day (so far).

Ruıns of Teos
We spend our fırst nıght near the ruıns of Teos. We camped at the sıde of a secondary road. That nıght we could prove the water-resıstance of our tent, because ın the early moırnıng a storm came up and we were serıously afraıd that our tent would have been transported downhıll ın a torrent of water and mud. For a whıle we experıenced a natural "water bed" sınce under the tent (that ıs actually water resıstant) a small rıver was flowıng. Shortly afterwards ıt stopped raınıng and we could start our day by cyclıng to Teos. Teos was only one of many acınet cıtıes ın theıs regıon, formıng the so called ıonıan league. It was an ımportant port, a rıch cıty.

On our way south along the coast, we had the fırst mechanıcal problem. After one of Mascha's bagholders was  already broken ın Athens, ıt was now the turn of one spoke of the posterıor weel. The funnıest thıng about that ıs that ıt happend durıng a pause, wıth Mascha beıng besınde the bıke and wıth a mechanıcıan across the roed. What was even funnıer was the woman ın the shop on our sıde who we asked. She spoke perfectly german, but she advıced us to look for a mechanıcıan ın Izmır, whıch ıs 80km to the north....We took the one across the street as soon as we recognızed ıt.  

Campıng ın Özdere

We spend the next nıght ın an abbandoned campıng near the sea and we cycled to Ephesos the  day after. Acctually everythıng here seems to be a bıt abandonned as we are cyclıng trough a lot of summer resorts whıch are obvıously empty ın wınter. 

Common toılet
Ephesos was the hıghlıght of these fırst days. Agaın we were lucky to fınd not too many tourısts and a nıce termperature to look ın every corner of thıs ancıent cıty. 
Mascha's favourıte place ın Ephes was the modern, waterflushed, common toılet where approxıately 40 people could shıt at the same tıme!

Maın street ın Ephesos
Homeros Hostel
After that we arrıved ın Selçuk wıth the call of the Muezzın and the last red lıght from the sunset. We decıded to  stay ın a small hostel (Homeros Pensyon, a very orıgınal and nıce famıly guıded place) and to take a rest for the next day. We used the day off to stroll around the saturday's market and buy two weddıng rıngs for Iran ;-)...staınless steel ... 1 Euro each ....Hopıng ıt wıll work.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

On the way to Turkey

Our last evening in Italy begun with a marvelous familiy dinner prepared by Matteo's mother and continued with a little farewell party with friends and vin brule' (Gruehwein or hot wine punch) on the bridge under the Specola in Padua.
The day after we left Matteo's home at 9:20 - just 20 minutes late - almost at german time....together with a whole caravan of familiy and friends (Matteo's father Paolo, his brother Francesco, his oncle Fabio, Bebo and Tranzo) we cycled along the old Brenta-river, which connected Padua and Venice. Matteo's mother Lucia escorted us by car, waving to us at every corner.

the luggage - maybe already too much
 We arrived Venice just in time to get the tickets, take some last pictures and say goodbye. What followed was a 3 days jurney. The first 30 hours were on the ferry to Patras, with nothing special happening. Finally we started to read the guide of Turkey (better late than never). We landed in Patras at 21:00, and spend some time enjoying gyros-pita and beer before taking a bus to Athens at 2 am.

Gyros and beer in Patras
 In Athens we arrived early morning at 5 am and cycled to the center and up to the Acropolis where we arrived just in time to see the sunrise. Again we were the only - and first tourists. But to be honest: who would go to visit the Acropolis at 7:00?!? We took a ferry at noon from Pireus and arrived at Chios at 19:00. This time we did not even manage to continue reading our guide: we slept almost all the time.

Sunrise behind the Acropolis
A tired tourist in Athens

A fit tourist in Chios

 Now we are in Chios, a pretty, but windy (at least at the moment) Island just in front of Cesme(Turkey). Temperature around 20 C.

Chios has a continous history of 8000 years. Mycenean, Greeks and Romans were here. It was also a strong byzantine center and untill the 16th century it was a trade center of the italian marine republic of Genoa. Afterwards Chios was part of the Ottoman empire. It remained christian and since 1912, after the dissolution of the Ottoman empire Chios belongs to Greece.
We took a room in Karfas directly on the beach. Today we did some "mountain training sessions" between orange, lemon, olive and almond trees. Up-hill and down-hill is standard here, and as flat land exists only in the Po Valley and the Netherlands, we're preparing ourselfs for roads like this for the next months...

Tomorrow we'll take the 8 am ferry to Turkey.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Our "technical" stop in Padua is almost over. We arrived at the beginning of November, but on Saturday we will start. Now, we think to have almost everything we need. What is missing we will discover on the way!
What have we done three weeks in Padua? Well, actually we do not know completely. For sure we enjoed the marvellous italian food prepared by Matteo's Mother, met some friends and family, bought two bikes (really pretty), something to wear (not so pretty), and other stuff like that. We had a good time in Padua and we want to thank Matteo's parents for the hospitality and for all the support.
Entry of the Musei Vaticani in Rome


As we expect temperatures between -5°C and
40°C, it was not easy to find appropiate equipment without spending a fortune. For the first time in our lives we have even bought "functional-technical" underwear (1 T-shirt each)...

The Biennale in Venice and a trip to Rome (thank you Orsola and Daniele!) were also in our program. It was astonishing to see Rome with 20°C and without tourists - St.Peters cathedral was empty and we bought easily tickets for the Vatican Museum where you have to queue for a couple of hours in the summer.
After the arrival of the bikes, which were manufactured for us by Zarma, a local producer, we tested them along the rivers of Padua and in the Colli Euganei which are nearby. So far, they seem to be pretty good, and after some ajustment the mechanic told us that we will not even have to bring greas with us. Well, we decided to take some anyway...
Matteo in empty St.Peters

So the first steps are done. On Saturday will go to Venice (hopefully by bike) and at 13:00 take a ferry to Turkey via Greece. Pathras-Pireus-Cios-Cesme: a 4-day jurney.