Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Race to the tower

"To the Towers of silence driver, and step on it!" I cried with a giggle as I lept in to the back seat of our Taxi. Max, the golden haired 21 year old from Holland jumped in the front seat and Sophie, the chatty Belgiun lady, from London climbed in next to me. Max agreed "Go for it mate, we want to catch the sunset". Sophie had other ideas "There's no rush! Please take your time"

The driver seemed to be just waiting for an excuse to drive like a hooligan (I know the feeling) and so the next 15 minutes was a crazy dash through the city, skimming other cars, bullying our way through the traffic and shouting at people to get out of the way. This was an emergency! I laughed as Max jumped to the other side of the seat when he thought we were going to hit something. It really was that close at times! Poor Sophie managed to stay calm on the outside and gave up suggesting we slow down. I think she secretly enjoyed the ride as did the rest of us!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Always leave while your Hijab is still wet.

Did you know that in Iran.....
  • You can get 200 miles on a Honda CRF250L on just £2.50
  • They have chocolate flavoured cigarettes
  • It is illegal for women to sing in public 
  • A taxi is paid for by the hour and costs roughly £2 
  • Men can only ride up to 250cc motorbikes (illegal for women all together)
  • Dating is illegal 
  • Imported cars carry 100% tax so most cars here are Iranian built
  • Lead singer of System of the Down is Iranian

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Loving the learning curve

There is real freedom in wild camping. No onlookers!
What do you do when you find yourself wild camping with 15 bikers?
Get them to change your tyres of course! Evidently this took one main man, several supervisors and one to hold the hijab while I handed tools out and ensured the supervisors where supervising correctly!
It was lovely to have company from Urmia over to Sanandaj and great to spend time with my dad. I embraced the chaos of the tour and the traffic the next morning as we rode out of Urmia together and hit the road for a mere 300Km (very low miles for a NS day).

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Bad Hijab Day!

Photo borrowed from Andy's facebook (Nicks group)!
I arrived at the Iranian border hot, tired and a little agitated!Not a good state of mind to arrive if it can be helped as there is a lot to deal with once you cross that line.

I hate feeling rushed and this was the case today.  I had been overwhelmed by the beauty of the mountains, missed my turn and gone 20 miles before noticing my mistake. GPS down and relying on checking my map and road signs, I just carried on. It could have been worse. Initially I thought I had gone 40 miles out!

My ride from Van was otherwise uneventful despite my concerns. I was nervous for the first 40 miles having been warned not to take this route as apparently the mountains were full of  Kurdish PKK militants who were known to stop people on the road and at best demand money. I chose to ignore the warning and ride on through, knowing that several people did use this route on a daily basis and I guessed it would would be particularly unlucky to have any trouble.

Click here for video diary

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Goodbye Turkey. Hello Iran

It has been a real pleasure meeting the Kurdish people in the East of Turkey. They make sure I know they are Kurdish as I make sure they know I am Welsh!
"Kurdish NOT Turkish"
I reply
"Welsh NOT English"

Very proud people and great at washing bikes it seems!!!
I have been a great source of amusement to everyone of them I have met. No charge for tea once again and always want to know about the bike and how much she cost. Always respectful and always time to help me on my way.
Turkey has been a real pleasure all together. A beautiful country full of wonderfully kind people. Thanks to everyone who has put me up and showed me the best of it along the way. My home is yours if ever you come to Wales (when I get one that is!!).

Friday, 9 May 2014

Is it because I lied when I was seventeen?

The weather has not been too kind to me over the last couple of days so I have spent a lot of time riding in the rain. I still made it to Capadoccia in good time after leaving Kas and had a lovely walk in Ihlara valley (the sunken city). It was a long climb down to the valley floor and an even longer climb back up! I was drenched by the time I got back to the bike. Rain soaked outer layer and sweat soaked inner layer all being held in by the waterproofing in the middle! Nice! It was a lovely experience all the same and the car park attendants found my drowned look amusing so it was worth it!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Human Trafficker or Philanthropist?

Riding with David and Co. near Kas
I clocked the open window as the dishevelled man led me from the dark corridor and in to the small room. The room had 3 beds and I found myself listening for the click of a lock as he shut the door behind me. It didn't come. I hear his footsteps as he walks back up the corridor and close the second door leading to the garage front where my bike was parked. I wait and listen. Still no sound. Phew!

My attention turns to the job in hand. I quickly take off my boots and and trousers and slip on my waterproof liners. Then the jacket. I try to not to rush. Its like when you walk home in the dark and get spooked by a sound and don't want to start running because it only accelerates the paranoia as you have accepted there really might be something there to be scared of. I don't hang around to zip the liners in place though and go straight for the boots.