I think the title says a lot about the two and a half weeks I spent in Turkey. It will be unforgettable, I guarantee that.
After the spring break craziness in Croatia I drove about 700 miles in one day to Skopje, Macedonia. I finally got to reunite with a friend I met in Alaska last summer! Dorotea and her sister Tara came from Macedonia to Anchorage to work. Unfortunately I didn’t meet them until well over half way through the summer so I didn’t get to show them around too much.
I rolled into Skopje just as Dorotea was finishing the last of her exams so she got to show me around the entire country for the week. Macedonia is one of those countries you don’t really dream about going to for most people but it did not disappoint! I’m sure it helped that I had a true local there to show me everything but still, it was amazing.
Skopje is pretty much like every other big city but I got the chance to go to a cowboy bar again. Definitely reminded me of Eddies! Just outside of Skopje is Matka valley where I got to do a little cliff diving. And after spending a couple days hitting some good restaurants and seeing Skopje we took a drive down to Ohrid.
Ohrid is a nice little town situated on a beautiful, almost crystal clear lake. One of the highlights, besides the fortress, old city, and antic theater was this little bar, Jazz Inn. Lots of locals, good beer, good Rakia and of course good music.
The one thing I learned in Macedonia was that you can never 100% trust Google Maps. We were on our way back to Skopje from Ohrid and I decided to take and different way back through the mountains. Originally, I didn’t think it was going to be a big deal cause it was a big yellow line on google, most of the time indicating there is some sort of road, maybe pavement maybe not. Everything started out well with a nice road winding through the mountains all the up until we went through this little village. After the village there was about 4 dirt tracks leading away from it, no signs, no nothing. I still think its a good idea to continue. Not more than five minutes after being on the dirt road I hit a huge rock in the middle of the path and have my worst cash on the motorcycle yet. Dorotea was a trooper, we were both ok and once again decide to continue on. Seriously 5 minutes after that I look over to my left and there appears to be a lion running full speed toward the motorcycle. One more glance and it looks like this lion is accompanied by a pair of wolves! As they get closer I can hear the vicious barking start. I was trying to be extra cautious after crashing just a couple of minutes before but once those dogs got about 4 feet away from the bike and I saw that the lion looking dog was almost as big as the bike, I decided it was time to get the hell out of there! Thank God I didn’t crash during those next five minutes while those dogs were chasing us or else I can’t imagine what would have happened. Now we are committed to this path, there is no way we can go back past those dogs. So the next 4 hours continued on like this with more crashes, trying to follow the “road” which sometime was non-existent and me cussing google the entire time. After it was all over, I thought it was fun, Dorotea might have a different word for it.
Enjoy the pics!
I can’t believe it been 4 weeks since my last post! There is way to much to fit into one but I have to start somewhere so here goes.
It never ceases to amaze me how one stop can change your plans in a instant. This is what I love about this trip. I was just north of Munich about 30 minutes and finally out of the city so I decided to pull over and get some more coffee. Walking out of the station, all coffeed up and ready to continue on, there were some fellow motorcyclist eyeing the Alaska plates and naturally we start to bs about the trips we were both on. This friendly couple were heading to motorcycle rally north a few hours from where we were. The bs’ing turned into getting more coffee and telling stories about motorcycle trips, traveling and everything in between. I think I was at that gas station for over 2 hours! The great people I just met were Maus and Frosch (aka Frog). They insisted I join them in a couple days when the rally started, we exchanged contact info and got back on the road.
After visiting Prague I decided I couldn’t pass up their invite so there I was heading into the unknown around Leipzig, Germany to motorcycle meet up with the club Kuhle Wampe. I rolled into the site, parked my motorcycle, got a welcome shot of some liquor and then had a beer in my hand within about 5 minutes. I knew then I made the right decision. I spent the next 4 days hearing the stories of the club, getting some serious history lessons on East Germany and admiring all of the East Germany ingenuity on display. I met some great people that won’t be forgotten. If any of you guys read this, thanks again for a great time!!! I’ll see you down the road!!
One story I’ll tell from the rally happened on the last morning. There was a live band the night before and we drank until the wee hours of the morning so I was mildly hungover. I was packing all of my gear up and decided to move my bike a bit closer to where I had been camping to load it up. Unfortunately, she was parked pretty close to where people were eating breakfast. So, first I was struggling to push it around all the other bikes so I could drive to my spot, almost tipping over a few times, and starting to perspire some of the booze from the night before, causing a little scene. Finally I got it to a spot where I could actually start it up and drive but now I was REALLY close to where people were eating breakfast. And imagine this, there are maybe 30 bad ass bikers in their leather cuts eating breakfast watching this dude from Alaska struggle with his bike and then I start it up to pull away and….. I FREAKING STALLED IT! I looked around hoping nobody saw it but that was not the case. There were definitely a few chuckles from the group. I’m sure people were just like “how the hell is this guy going to make it around the world!” Hahaha not one of my shining moments of the trip.
Onward down the road I enjoyed a few spots I was told to visit during the rally and over the next few days made my way to Budapest. This is one place I immediately fell in love with as soon as I rode into the city. I still don’t know exactly what it was but I will be back. I ended up staying a couple extra days here and one of those days was spent at the Turkish bath. Seriously, 7 hours of hot and cold pools, saunas, steam rooms and soaking up sun. If you’ve never experienced a Turkish bath, you need to put it on your life goal list! While on a walking tour of Budapest I met a fellow traveler, Amanda, and she told me about some music festival she was going to in Croatia, I decided I couldn’t pass this up either. I bought a ticket, changed my plans and headed back down the road!
After Hungary I headed into Serbia stopping in Novi Sad and Uzice. Turns out I arrived in Uzice the same weekend Moto Fest was happening and there were about 1000 other bikers in town. Another amazing time!
Once Moto Fest was done I headed into Montenegro and stopped of a beautiful overlook above the city of Kotor(see picture below) words can’t describe this. I also spent a few days in the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia. All of you Game of Thrones fans might recognize the pictures. I guess they do a lot of filming there.
I decided to spend a few days in Bosnia before the music festival start and it turned out to be another great decision. Bosnia is absolutely beautiful! Met some awesome people and had a great time there.
And finally I arrive to the music festival in Pag, Croatia. It was called Spring Break. If you’re wondering what it was like, the following video shows it pretty well. All I’m going to say is I had a good time.