Saturday, November 12, 2005

Himself is In Greece

and heading to Italy. Looking forward to meeting one another in a few days. I am a few hundred yards down the road from my favourite English pub and going there for dinner tonight with cousins. As The Senior Boy has written about Gallipoli, I won't post about Vimy until next time.

We left our hotel, in Dikili, Turkey, on Wednesday morning in cool temperatures but some blue in the sky. We had some beautiful roads with the sun sparkling on the Aegean Sea on our left and beautiful hills on our right. Climbed up from the coast and the views from the top were spectacular.
Nice farmland with lots of fruit stands by the road in the valleys. Stopped in ancient Troy and TP & I enjoyed some sunshine at a cafe while Roy & HJ paid the fee to see the ruins. I contemplated the 4000 yr old Greek structures that I saw earlier in Ephesus.

We motored on towards Canakkale and the Dardanelles and saw the famous narrows as we rounded a corner high on a hill. Another spectacular sight to remember. The passage is a few miles across and looks a lot like the sea passages in Johnson Straight but with higher hills and mountains.
Canakkale is a busy seaport but we found our way to the ferry dock without drama. The ferry looks a bit like the old North Van Ferries. Lots of huge trucks waiting to get on but the bikes squeeze in between OK. The last to load onto the ferry was a horse and cart. Crossing takes about 40 minutes. High wind from the East and bright sunshine. Quite the sight as many very large ships are making the passage. We motor overland to the Gallipoli battle site as it is starting to get dark. Too late to see much so we find a perfect site to camp near ANZAC cove, under some pine trees, right above a long sandy beach. No one else around. Get adopted by a couple of friendly dogs who are happy for some dinner scraps.

Next day, Thursday, TP & I head out early and tour the ANZAC sites. A fitting place to spend the morning quiet the day before Remembrance Day. Its hard to keep a dry eye as I read the grave stones of so may 18 yr. olds. 250,000 were killed from April 1915 to January 1916. Most of them were Turks who successfully fought off the invaders.

We leave Roy & HJ at this point as they want to take longer on the rest of the way home. TP & I head to the Greek border under gray skies and very cold wind. The anticipated dreaded Turkish border crossing is the complete opposite from the crossing from Syria. The facilities are ultra modern and we are through in about 20 minutes with no problems at all, much to our complete surprise. We cross the bridge into Greece and the EU in the sunshine. We are very happy riders! We launch onto a fabulous Greek freeway and motor along at 120 km/hr for a couple to hours with almost no traffic. The scenery is beautiful, ... yet again. Lots of Aegean Sea and high mountains to the North.

We stopped a very nice small hotel near a lake, East of Thessalonica. Scenery is much like the Okanagan with fruit trees and vineyards.

This morning was cold with heavy fog as we packed up. More fast and beautiful freeway past Thessalonica and then onto a secondary road across the mountains. As we climbed through many new tunnels, we left the lowland fog and entered the sunshine. This was the best riding day, by far. We had five hours of mountain road with fantastic views, bright colours on the maple and oak trees, little traffic and one beautiful turn after another. Motorcycling doesn't get any better than that!

The sun is near to setting over the Adriatic and the temperature was 21 degrees C when we arrived a couple of hours ago, ... in November! The overnight ferry to Italy leaves in few hours so we have time for a nice meal and enjoy the sunset. We won't get too many miles under the wheels in Italy, tomorrow, but should be in England by the middle of next week.

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