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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Croatia
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Croatia to Iran and back - trip report

Hi all,
like I already said in my "Introduction" thread, last year I went on a trip from Croatia to Iran and back. My English isn't perfect so please correct me if I say something really wrong or politically incorrect

First, let's remove some biases:
1. Iranians are not Arabs. They don't like when you call them Arabs because they've been fighting Arabs for last 1000 years
2. Iranians don't hate Americans. They don't approve American politics in the middle East, but they don't agree with Iranian politics also. From what I learned, American people are very welcome in Iran.

Now let's begin our journey.

Chapter one - preparations
My friend Igor and I started preparing for the trip at the beginning of 2011. The biggest problem was to get visas for Iran because they don't like to give visas to motorcycle drivers.
I met one girl from Iran that sent us na invitation letter, and we had to write itinerary for every day of our staying there. After that we got a police permission for our trip.


Police permission



I'll skip a lot of preparations because it would take too much time to write about that. Just to mention few things that we had to consider:

- We didn't know what is the fuel quality in Iran. I removed cat from my bike because I expected that we won't be able to find unleaded fuel everywhere.

- In Iran it's forbidden to drive with lights on during the day. I was lucky because I found a solution for this problem on PelicanParts It's still a mystery to me why isn't acceptable to have your lights on during the day, and if you ride without lights during the night then it's perfectly normal

- In Iran is forbidden to take your motorcycle on the highway. Later we found out that they don't really care, they let you on the highway and don't charge you at all

- I was worried about my driving position so I made my "Helibar inspired" handles I made one additional feature: left handle bar is a little bit longer so I have GPS mounting point.




Other stuff :
- Held tank bag
- Factory panniers
- Louis Roll bag
- 12V plug
- Touratech cilinder guards
- Metzeler z8 tires


Here's my bike prepared for the trip:

Old 07-22-2012, 06:49 AM
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Chapter two - Serbia

We wanted to see as much Iran as possible in 25 days. Our final destination was desert city Yazd. To come there we had to ride through Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey.

Here's the route from Croatia to Iran


We started from capital of Croatia - Zagreb




First night we slept in capital of Serbia - Belgrade where we had some great time with local moto club Nesvrstani (The independent)



And in the morning we went to the city center for a little walk:









US flag in Belgrade




After the break, we continued our trip to Bulgary.

Last edited by poskokzg; 07-22-2012 at 07:45 AM.. Reason: Forgot one picture
Old 07-22-2012, 07:15 AM
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Day 2: Serbia-Bulgaria

We wanted to come to Iran ASAP so we just passed through the rest of Serbia and Bulgaria.

Bulgarian window cleaner




Bulgarian border



We slept in a city Plovdiv where we found some good food and beer.






Plovdiv by night





In the morning we packed our bikes and continued direction Turkey
Hotel owner was a biker also and we had some interesting discussion in Bulgarian language



I found a great position for long straight roads, with my head resting on the tank bag.
Old 07-22-2012, 08:10 AM
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Day 3: Bulgaria - Turkey

On day 3 we rode to Istanbul. Turkey was a bit surprise for me because I did not expected such a developed country. Western Turkey looks like most other west EU countries.

Turkish border


Turkish highway


Food on the gas station


Entering city
Old 07-22-2012, 08:27 AM
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I have always loved Turkey because of the incredible beauty, history and exceptional hospitality... keep 'em coming, Josip!
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:29 AM
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More more more! Do tell about the border crossings in Turkey/Armenia then Armenia/Iran.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:43 AM
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Istanbul - part 1

What a great city! 12-14 million people, depending on the day, traffic a bit confusing but we adopted quickly.

We stayed in a great hotel in the center of Istanbul called The Angel's home. The owner, Hakan is a biker also and we had really great time there.

The hotel



Welcome drink (a few)



They washed our bikes!!



Sign on the entrance of the hotel


Who said that bikers don't like flowers

Old 07-22-2012, 08:51 AM
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Istanbul - part 2

It was my birthday that day so we went out with some other Croatian bikers that stayed in the same hotel.

The blue mosque


Sweet heaven



Aja Sofija mosque



Band playing


A few drinks



The grand bazar



Ice cream man

Old 07-22-2012, 09:25 AM
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Turkey: Istanbul - Osmancik

Things became more interesting when we crossed the bridge between Europe and Asia.


Rain was falling for next 1000 kms.


Turkish roads after you pass Istanbul are "Under construction".




Only thing that kept us in a good mood were wonderful Turkish people, who offered us a free tea on every stop. They drink tea with a lot of sugar from small cups in the shape of tulips. We drunk so much tea that I had to go to bathroom every 20 miles. And when we stop to piss, someone offered us tea, and so on

Old 07-22-2012, 09:54 AM
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Oh man, this is good!

more more more!
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:06 AM
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Turkey: Osmancik - Erzincan

In the morning, they washed our bikes again



And we continued to interesting place called Amasya. Wikipedia: On the rock of Harşena above the town is the terraced site of the royal palace and the tombs of the kings of Pontus (illuminated at night) which, although not kept in the best condition, are an impressive sight from the town.


Later we continued towards city Erzincan though some really impressive scenery.





Old 07-22-2012, 10:33 AM
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Fantastic thread! Love it...and thank you!
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:49 AM
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Turkey: Erzincan - Dogubayazit

Our goal for today is the last place in Turkey before Iranian border. We wanted to come there in the evening and cross the border in the morning.

Wet mountain road



Wtf? Smurfs?


All the colors you want


Mad Max on top of the mountain


And then we run into this


The secret of fast Turkish road building is this: put some rocks on the ground and spill some black stuff over it. I could not believe this but later we saw how they do it.



And we are almost there
Old 07-22-2012, 10:50 AM
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Dogubayazit

Here's the last post for today, it's getting late.
Late afternoon we came to a city called Dogubayazit, near Iranian border and the famous mountain Ararat.

Ararat


Dogubayazit




We decided to camp on a hill to the south of town, near the Ishak Pasha Palace.



We raised our tents and went to sleep, but I must admit that I wasn't totally relaxed. We were in the bottom of a large mountain with many beasts walking around. Then I heard some barking and felt more secure knowing that there is a dog near us.




And in the morning I met my savior and shared a breakfast with him




When we started packing, we heard some motorcycle coming. It was a Turkish biker coming home after 6 months of travel. He was at most dangerous places during that trip: Lybia, Egipt, Eritrea, Syria, Iran, and now he was back.
He heard about us and decided to come and meet us, and give us some information about places we were going.



We had a great talk with this guy, then packed and headed to Iranian border.

More about that next time
Old 07-22-2012, 11:33 AM
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Sergio?.... any interest in a switch between latitudinal and longitudinal directions?
I am sure we could do it in about 6 months.... so, you wouldn't miss all too much.
Most of your work you can do remotely anyway.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:40 AM
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Ralf, you know this guy? I forgot his name but now that you told me it sounds very familiar.
No interest in moving for next couple of years. My wife and I got two babies 6 months ago and that's why I'm not on the road right now
Old 07-22-2012, 12:08 PM
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Oh I get it now. You was not talking to me )
Old 07-22-2012, 12:11 PM
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LOL, Josip.... Sergio is one of my bestest friends with whom I just took a 4000 mile road trip... I was trying to see whether he'd be interested in taking a slight detour for our next trip...

No, I don't know the Turkish guy... but, from where I stand, would not mind knowing him at all.

Great trip for you, hope to see more.
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Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak...
www.itwasnotme.com
2005 R1200GS - 2008 KTM690 Enduro - 2011 Husky TE250
Old 07-22-2012, 12:12 PM
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Fantastic trip - thanks for sharing with us.

This is a classic: "We drunk so much tea that I had to go to bathroom every 20 miles. And when we stop to piss, someone offered us tea, and so on "

Continued good luck with the beasts...
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:01 PM
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Haha, that would be an interesting ride huh? Josip, you rode through the province where my grandfather was born. Very cool!

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Old 07-22-2012, 01:07 PM
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