Saturday, June 14, 2008

turkey to greece and now italy

from the lovely Istanbul, we leave for Greece. meanwhile on the way we went to search for a motorbike workshop recommended by the internet. we wrote down the address on a piece of paper. my Garmin 60CSX GPS do not have any town map except for the major roads. we went around seeking advise from the local about the address till we met a bike showroom owner. he said that this bike shop had closed down long ago and we could do servicing at his workshop behind the street. we were glad that it was an orderly bike shop and Hope Too could have his ‘sauna & massage’. it was a 45° slope up to the workshop area. I did not want to ride up till we had all confirmation on services and prices. Hope Too just want to purchase 3 liters of engine oil and I could do the servicing myself. the workshop quoted us S$170.00! yes, I was not wrong. I showed him the notes and demo about changing engine oil. it was S$170.00! but it was the mechanic doing the service. so I enquired about a bottle of 1 liter engine oil and it cost about S$48.00. 3 bottles would cost S$144.00! I said thank you very much and turn away. we continued to round the town till we reached a scooter workshop. it was a very ‘uncle’ typo workshop and the price was very reasonable. I DIY with the help of Sam and it was a successful change. to mark it, Hope Too had traveled 19000km since 1st January 2008 and he had his 2nd oil filter change. we wanted to get a new pair of shoe for Hope Too but it wasn’t avalible at that time.
we were hungry as it was 1pm and our last meal was 12 hours ago.

setting off towards Greece, known as Hunanistan, we found a camping paradise. looking at the time, we would not want to reach a new country in the evening. if u are around this area, please visit this lovely place with the warm family at Marmaraereglisi, Turkey.
N 40° 59.035’
E 027°58.035’

it was with Mediterranean setting and we were facing the beach! our sleeping were not strong enough to handle the cold temperature in the night and the site owner gave us blankets for comfort.

going thro the Greece check point was fun. it was a line of red and blue that indicates the boundary. the Carnet de Passage that we applied for and had S$10000 for deposit was useless in Europe. instead we had to buy a green card, which was a 3rd party insurance. we had to pay S$120 for a 15 days insurance because our bike is not under the E.U. (Europe union). now, do I have to take a risk by not renewing the green card and travel till 12 july where we go to spain and load Hope Too into the ferry to Argentina or still have to spend that kind of money? for Singapore, our 1 year insurance for 3rd party would only cost S$400 maximum. that’s too much… for EU.

the petrol in Greece was very much cheaper than Turkey. S$2.40 per liter. we were so glad about it. our main aim about Greece was to get to Athens to change a pair of shoe for Hope Too. the highway was real in high speed, anyway, Hope Too is too old for that as he could only cruise at 110km/hr. anything more than that the engine oil would burn up, excessive petrol would be used, spocket and chain would heat up more and so as the tyre, which we already used for 20000km under extreme weight and terrain.

between turkey(red) and greece (blue) was only a paint mark of border.

Hope Too was very lucky enough to find the tyre shop in the complex Athens. Just a turn away from the many exits of the highway and we could stop by a tyre specialist. One set of tyres, ranged from Michilin, Pireli, or Mezeler would cost about S$460.00. I didn’t believe the price until when they showed me the catalog and I saw some tyre advertisement on the biker’s magazine about the price. I was convinced. back home, M-Technic changed the pair of 20000km pireli scopian tyres only cost me about S$220, if I remembered. also my ex Honda ST1100, the most was S$280.00. The service was professional. he was a track racer. he taught me two simple but important message:

1) wash the bike regularly because during washing, we can uncover the dirt and may see cracks or faults on the bike.
2) every good tyres will have an indicator of where the inlet of the air tube should be aligned with.

he also advised me to replace Hope Too’s front disc brake where it was already worn off badly and dented. the worn disc would wear off every new brake pads when ever I replace a new one.

at his workshop, Hope Too has:

1) Mezeler Tourance (front + rear) S$460.00 which we are going to use for the rugged terrain in south America.
2) new set of front disc S$340.00 (after market type 5mm Motormaster)
3) Bimbo front brake pads (left and right) S$100.00 –carbon ceramic
4) Bimbo rear brake pad for spare. S$50.00 – carbon ceramic

total on that 6th june 2008, Hope Too made us spend S$950.00 which is not able to save much as safety is concerned.

the camping in Athens is $$$$$$$$$$$. we had our own tent and it cost us S$48.00 per night! we have to make use of the time we have in Athens.

there are A LOT of ancient ruins in Greece which will cost a bucket of S$1.00 coins if we are going to visit all. the best move is to pay S$22.00 per person to visit 5 selected sites.

the Agropolis is the most famous one. any visitor that come to Athens would visit this place. rocks, stones with carving, heat, site without TREES, packed with tour groups, statues and re-constructed stones were on exhibit. we were quite tired of touching the stones and knowing about the history behind all these architectural buildings until we met Yunling, a French student from China. She was alone in Athens and we walked all day, chatted about everything and share all the ‘missed’ things about Chinese food and Chinese new year. though we are from two different countries but we have many thing in common. basically, language and we were long time away from our home.

we wanted to go Santori, where the lovely island is but the tickets for the next ferry would be 4 days away and the two way tickets would be out of our budget. I told Sam than I’m sorry as she has always wanted to go there. we would defiantly visit this place when we get back to Singapore, make more $ and fly here without Hope Too. Sshhhhh…. don’t let Hope Too know about it.

8th june 2008, we leave for Patrai, where we will stay a night till 9th June, 6pm for our ferry to Italy. when we reached the harbour to check out the location on 8th, we experienced an EARTHQUAKE! I was using the internet and the building was shaking! we didn’t know what to do till we saw the others run out of the building. I shouted to sam to get out and I grap our stuff to the open air. it was about a 10second event and we were not comfortable about the situation. knowing that we were one day early at the ticketing office, the un-calmed counter lady (she phone someone and cry over the phone about the danger of the earthquake) gave us an advance ticket to ferry over a day ahead of our booking date. we agreed as it doesn’t smells good camping here as the image of tsumani came to my mine.

it was a small cruise with 10 jackpot machines and expensive food for the ‘A-Mohs’, u know who they are….
we had the cheapest sleeping place, which is the plastic benches on the most upper level of the ship where the swimming pool is and the cold wind blows. I felt safe as Hope Too slept soundly with the other trucks on the lower level of the ship.


we were not far away from the first town in italy when we escape from the ship at 8am. it was only 80km. till today, I still do not understand about the Italian road signs. we were at Matera, where it was one of the longest continued living city since the pre-historic age where human once lived in caves. rocks everywhere and we had a good but tiring time exploring the ‘FOC’ site.

we were quite shock that the cheap bed and breakfast type of lodging, which was suppose to be the cheapest type of lodging in italy was about S$150.00. Hope Too has to switch on his ‘hair dryer’ to bring us around the slow moving traffic town for a cheaper place to station for a night. luckily we met Chiara and her boy friend. they were doing research on the ancient sites of Matera while they were curious about our visit with Hope Too all the way on land from Singapore. they helped us a lot on searching of a cheaper lodging. they made phone calls to their friends and negotiate much with the hotel manager. we checked into a 2 star hotel that (S$120) but Hope Too had the most secured place to park as the other lodging were on streets where Hope Too has to stay below the street lamp in the night. we were very glad to meet such helpful people on the road but we didn’t got a chance to meet them again in the night.

it was Holland against Italy. we had to support Italy as we will party if Italy wins. it was the first time that Sam and I watch football match together as we weren’t really such a Beckam type of fan. who is who we are not sure but what we enjoyed is the crowd behind us. unfortunately, Italy lost the match so we had to pay for the food in the restaurant.

Napoli would be our administrative city as we need to meet up with the shipper that help us to get to Argentina. Gramadi freighter cruise is a cruise without luxury and it mainly ship containers, cargos and have a few cabin for extra passengers like us. we camped at Volcano Salfatara, which still has steam and heat from the crust of the earth. amazingly, we are camping in the mouth of the vocano! it is a very nice place to visit, camp and friendly management!

N 40°49.720’

Napoli: famous for Mafia. in the city there were near to 200 murders a year. we saw many blacks, which we think they are from Africa, selling LV bags and Gucci wallets on the streets. at the moment Napoli is the main focus of news in EU because of their rubbish issue.

let me tell u, the most enjoyable thing in Italy is the cheap wine, that cost only S$5.00 per bottle. we couldn’t tell the difference between good and lousy wine. we would only know that the most enjoyable wine is the most affordable wine! good camp site, nice wine! Hope Too is our house for the next one year and yet it could provide us comfort and basic necessity.

there, we met our neighbour camper, from Belgium. Peter and Liz were on their holiday to Italy. we had a great outdoor, night, self cooked dinner filled with laughter with them. the next morning, Peter handed some cash to me as a gift. we were shocked and glad at the same time. with that, they had becomed our one of our sponsors. we really hope to go to Belgium to meet them again.

the highway from Napoli to Rome is ‘so-so’. I would consider the Malaysia North-south highway would be a better tarmac to slick on. at the end of the highway, we broke a record in our life!

we paid S$22.00 for a toll fee of 180km highway usage! the distance is lesser than Singapore to Malacca! RECORD BREAKER!

in Rome, we had business to do. as a Singaporean, I have to do up my Brazilian visa in order to follow the ‘cruise’ from germany to argentina.

now we have some issues to settle.

1) transport from Europe to South America (Argentina) for 2 person and 1 Motorbike cost S$6500.00. it’s a big drain for us. at the same time, we are the first Singaporean bike couple to explore the region.
2) the ship leave from Hamburg (germany) on 6th july. we had to attend a BMW biker’s meeting at south Germany, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. more than 20000 bikers will turn up in this carnival from 4-6th july. we are making use of this chance to meet up friends, bikers and stocking up cheap accessories like our seat, that is breaking up my balls and slapping Sam’s butt.
3) the ship leaves from Hamburg (6th july) and sail to uk, then to spain, Africa and south America. we would not have enough time with the bikers and friends in the BMW carnival. it takes more than 2 days from the carnival place to hamburg. so we would load up the ship at spain, which estimated time of arrival of ship would be 11 or 12 of june. we have to be at the port a day earlier. but from the carnival place to spain port, it would take us about 3-4 days, IF HOPE TOO DOES NOT BREAK DOWN. if we miss the ship, there goes our S$6500.00.

please advise how… how how.. we want to stay thro out the carnival to meet more people, but taking a risk to reach the port in spain.

right now, Hope Too has leaking fuel due to the petrol linkage pipe. I have to remedy it at once. I dreamt one night that Hope Too was on fire. will that be true?

please leave us a message to encourage or advise us.


Atticus said...

Great update! It's always interesting reading your about your grand trip. Safe journey!

Anonymous said...

Possible to change your shipping date, or change the freighter? meeting the bikers is more impt.

singaporedream said...

hi atticus. u also have great travel. can u share with me how to ride into china_?

singaporedream said...

anonymous; i made a detour. im meeting the bikers. the ship will start sailing from hamburg on 6th july and reach spain about 12july. so i will travel from germany to spain and load up on 12 july. good idea?