Bolu is quite small town, there live about 80,000 inhabitants.
The invitations to the islamic praying was heard clearly five times a day.
Good loudspeakers in the minarets... First one was at five o'clock in the
morning, meaning early wake-ups for me :(
On my way from Ankara to Bolu I got sick and then had to give
up travelling for a while. I got into very weak condition, the fever kept on rising. I had 40°C fever, I was nearly to be hospitalized. But I couldn't have gone to hospital by myself, because I didn't know, what "hospital" is in Turkish language...
Anyway, resting in a motel room and some medicines luckily
worked this time. My friend Ahmet (the owner of "The Mercan Restaurant") asked a waiter of his restaurant to bring me cow stomach soup to my motel room.
I am very grateful to him. I've met very nice people during my tour.
23.8. Sat (45) Bolu, Turkey
I heard glad news from Finland: my old bike, Suzuki DR750 was sold there at price of 20 kFIM. I can survive 3 - 5 months
with that money. Thanks to my parents for that help in
selling it. I had left an sales announcement to a Finnish magazine Keltainen Pörssi from Ankara via internet and the bike was sold next week in Finland. Power of internet!
27.8. Wed (49) Bolu, Turkey
I got into condition at last and then on the road!!! I had
spent almost full week in bed, resting and taking medicines. Hoping that the high fever would go down :(
I rode through coast road towards Greece. In Turkey I didn't
like the traffic: many car drivers were careless there and a danger to others. I had to be cautious almost every moment.
I had some dangerous situations on highways, when a car
driver continued overtaking a truck or some other cars
without caring at all of the on-coming traffic! I thought,
those drivers would need a mental therapy, or jail sentence!
As I arrived to Greece I had a strange feeling: "I'm at home again (Europe)". I can relax on the road and breathe free! (not so dangerous traffic).
I searched the ferry lines from Thessaloniki directly to Athens, but
the ferries go usually first to the isles and from there maybe to
Athens. The trips may last two days. I would have wanted to visit some
isles, but now I was going to Athens.
In Thessaloniki I almost 'dropped my eyes'. If more traffic accidents
will happen to me, it is women's fault!! :-) :-) Greek girls are beautiful!
30.8. Sat (52) Athens, Greece
I met some members of Suzuki DR Team in Athens. Their team spirit was
good, they were like "the same family". In the DR Team there are nowadays
(8/97) about 60 members. The Team gave me two T-shirts as a gift. The
other contained a wish for good trip. I like that a lot. Great, kind
I met also Martha Kambili, product manager of Sfakianakis,
the Suzuki importer. I promised to co-operate with the Suzuki importer
during my trip. It means writing about my trip and sending pictures.
I guess some of them are published in Greek MC magazines.
31.8. Sun (53) Greece
On morning Jimmy and his girlfriend came to take me with them to beach.
We put the flag of DR Team to flap behind my bike. It is an important
thing to have a flag! :)
During the trip towards Korinthos there joined some other motorcyclists
with girlfriends/wives, so then there were about a dozen of us. We rode
a nice mountainous road. We took sun bath of course and played games.
At the beach some 'clever' :) guys decided to begin to throw each others
to water. Two threw the third one. Really funny looking! Of course I
had to join to that funny and crazy thing :) :)
And later we (6 of us) made a pyramid, like in a circus. When that fell...
I hadn't laughed that much for some time!
1.9. Mon (54) Athens, Greece
I could have my bike repaired (the damages due to crashes in Poland and
South Lebanon) and maintained at Suzuki service in Athens. The
periodical 12,000 kms maintenance was made and the additional oil cooler
was repaired too (important thing). I got also spare parts what I wished
to have... all this FOR FREE!!!
Also because the repairs & maintenance took time to next day, they
borrowed me for that time the company's bike, Suzuki DR650!!
Many thanks to the Suzuki importer of Greece, and Jimmy and
2.9. Tue (55) Athens, Greece
We had a meeting at Suzuki, with Jimmy and Martha. They had written an
article about my tour and it was to be published in all of the Greek
MC magazines (14 pcs)! I was flattered. And in the text was mentioned
"member from Finland" (of Suzuki DR Team of Greece). Very friendly!
Last days I had got an idea of arranging a 'friendship visit' from
Finland to Greece after my tour, with
Let's see... But I have to do this trip first.
3.9. Wed (56) Athens, Greece
We had party with some members of DR Team at Porsche Club. One of the
members thought that I would be having problems in Sahara with all that
amount of luggage. I agreed. I have to arrange the stuff better,
because riding on sand with heavy bike (and with lots of luggage) is
Later Jimmy showed me some pictures about Paris-Dakar rally. They gave
me good inspiration, how to arrange the tools (11 kgs) better, for
I said goodbye to some of the members of DR Team, which I now consider
to be my friends.
4.9. Thu (57) Patra, Greece
I left early in the morning towards Korinthos and Patra. I would have
liked to stay longer, but "El Viaje" has to continue.
The trip from Patra to Ancona by FastFerry was luxurious. It
took about 21 hrs and cost 37,000 Drakhmas (130 USD).
The destination of ferry trip was North enough, just because of
convenience. North Italy looked very wealthy and luxurious.
All the people were very friendly.
6.9. Sat (59) Bassano del Grappa, Italy
I rode by my heavily loaded bike to Bassano, where
Luca Piotto lived. I had met
him half year ago in internet. We had planned to meet
during my tour. I met that proud Suzuki street bike rider in Bassano.
Because there are almost no camping places in North Italy,
low budget living would have been a problem. But, Luca called
to his friend Maurizio, who is an owner of a restaurant. He said it's no problem, I could camping at the backyard of his restaurant, at the Ducati Pompone Club!!!
The Pompone Club was in mountainous, peaceful place surrounded by
woods, 700 metres above sea level at Paderno del Grappa. The
restaurant is also the headquarters of the Ducati moto
club: Rifugio Bellavista da Maurizio (bikers' restaurant) and
also a camping area. Sometimes there are arranged Ducati/Laverda bikers' meetings.
Thanks to Luca, thanks to Maurizio of all the arrangements!!!
Maurizio did the 'welcome rite': he gave me official T-shirt of
Pompone Club, official coffee cup, official cap, official soap... :)
I could also buy riding gear at very reasonable price from the
Pompone Shop! That update was an important matter, as I didn't have
practically any other riding gear than helmet, when I left Finland...
Luca offered me the membership of
Ducati Pompone Club.
In that club there are members worldwide. During that weekend there was a Laverda meeting, there were almost 100 bikers.
In the evening there was nearby a MC party, lots of people.
Rock, beer and beautiful women!! Not bad, not bad... In the
end we saw two good striptease performances!
9.9. Tue (62) Bassano, Italy
As Maurizio closes his restaurant on Tuesdays and has day off,
he took us (some tourist bikers) to the mountains. We rode in very curvy, mountainous, narrow roads. We had a little bit
speed (for me enough) I enjoyed a lot about that.
Usually I ride with heavy luggage on highways and now it was a little bit 'racing' feeling. Nice! In a group it is more fun
to ride, but one has to be more careful.
10.9. Wed (63) Bologna, Italy
In the morning we left to Bologna. We were almost 10 tourist bikers attending that occasion from Pompone Club. In Bologna there lives Mr. Fabio Taglioni, who has been a famous design engineer of Ducati. He worked at Ducati 1954 - 1990 and had effect to all the design of the bikes. He was a
famous person already in 1970's. This day he had 77 years anniversary.
In Bologna there was a birthday greeting moment at his home and then all of us went to a celebration dinner. There were among
the family, some famous racers from 1970's and also some
tourist bikers in their leather suites... It wasn't a formal occasion at all.
In the dining hall, there was also a Ducati Desmo model 1974 fully restored. Like a piece of art.
Nice opportunity to visit, nice party! Thanks to Taglioni's and thanks to Maurizio.
Later news: Mr. Taglioni has died in 19 Jul 2001.
11.9. Thu (64) Bassano, Italy
Luca's friend, David welded more engine protection shields to my bike and made a toolbox. The original engine bottom protection
in Suzuki DR is of plastic and therefore not good in rocky
roads. Also I had my tools packed up and rear, so I needed a
tool tube "Tubo di Attrezzi" to get the load more down.
That man likes cutting & welding bikes, do I have courage to leave my dear bike into his hands?? (joking) :) :) He had previously made a custom bike from Kawasaki 1100 GPZ street bike!!!
The bottom shield was made of a 7 mm thick duraluminium part
(from motocross bike) and tool tube was made from stainless steel. The tools were now easier to steal, but good
installation was far more important. They made good work
and riding was easier after the modification.
...the work and parts didn't cost anything!!! I have great
12.9. Fri (65) Bassano, Italy
Luca helped me to find some bike accessories (bigger tank) and
equipment. For Sahara it would be necessary to have 50 litres of
gasoline with me, but the Italian acessories manufacturer Acerbis does not make such big parts for DR800 anymore.
The original tank is only 24 litres, so then South from Morocco
I have to take additional gas in jerrycans! Then I am not a motorcyclist, but a truck driver! :(
13.9. Sat (66) Bassano, Italy
I tried to put an oil temperature gauge to my bike, a cheap
one of Biltema (Swedish). I found it to be of low quality and threw it away. Cheap things will come expensive, when you have
to buy three of them... Before Sahara it is necessary to put
an oil temperature gauge to the bike.
Luca arranged a biker's rain suit for me and back shield (both high quality Italian Dainese) in stock price! Great! Back
shield is important for safety, it protects spine and kidneys from impact in traffic accident.
Because it was weekend, there was an MC party (of course). This time at Mussolente, near from Bassano. Luca was as a security
man there. At the party, some motorcyclists were interested of
my tour. Rock, beer, nice women... Good action! :) :)
14.9. Sun (67) Bassano, Italy
I tested my Magellan GPS (Global Positioning System) satellite navigator. I connected it to my bike and rode in the mountains. GPS worked well, I think I can rely on it.
One problem there is still with batteries. Battery changing between bike battery & four 'finger batteries', (a daily thing) is not so easy as battery change with mobile telephone, for example. That is a small security problem, because I can't
leave the GPS connected to bike. I found out too, that GPS's
are 'electricity eaters'...
15.9. Mon (68) Bassano, Italy
This week Luca had holiday, so we could ride on mountains together. There was also a German motorcyclist having 1000cc
Moto Guzzi. We visited the highest place of Monte di Grappa,
Casa Armani at 1,745 m above sea level. Nice place, clouds
were at the same level or below us.
When returning back to Pompone, we saw a bicyclist laying in
the roadside!! We stopped and rushed to the place. I checked,
the man didn't breathe, nor heart didn't beat! We started to
give first aid for him, artificial breathing & heart pressing. The German guy went to find the nearest telephone. There came
in a few minutes a car driver, he possibly made the emergency report.
We continued with Luca about 15-20 minutes. Time went slowly...
We supposed he was dead, but weren't sure, so we wanted to
leave the decision for ambulance personnel. Anyway, I said to Luca: "We continue one hour, then we stop". The man had
muscular trembling and was warm, when we came, so the falling
had happened just before. His neck was OK and he had worn a helmet.
The ambulance came finally. They just covered him with a green sheet. He was dead. He presumably had got a heart attack and didn't die in our hands. During the action I was a little bit surprised, how calm we were. And we did our best. I admired Luca's coolness. Cool guy! :)
Later in the evening we took some Grappa (alcohol) in
Maurizio's place, after the shocking experiences.
I could write this travel update by the computer of Mailajussit of Munich. Mailajussit is a pesäpallo ('Finnish baseball') team of the city of Munich. My friend Susanna plays also in
that team. She has played twice in a team (Parkanon Urheilijat) in Finland, that has won Finnish championships.
Nowadays there are about 10 pesäpallo teams in Germany and in
the beginning of October there are German championships in pesäpallo. Last three years Mailajussit of Munich has been
the champion of Germany!
Pesäpallo is still quite a new thing in Germany. Finnish pesäpallo players staying in Germany brought the game to
Germany a few years ago.
20.9. Sat (73) Munich, Germany
That day the world-famous "Oktoberfest" started!!! The
three-week-continuing beer festival was held now 175th time. First it was established to celebrate the wedding of princess Theresie, daughter of king Ludwig. Ludwig's grandson, Ludwig
II has built many of the castles in Bavaria.
And there were lots of people! Atmosphere was great:
people cheering and having lot of fun :)
Beer steins were of proper size: one litre. "Eine kleine Mass, bitte!" In Oktoberfest, there visit 6 to 7 million friends of beer. A couple of years ago, the starting day of the festival
was changed to two weeks (or so) earlier, because of climate matters (warmer weather). So, at least it ends during
21.9. Sun (74) Munich, Germany
Feelings of near future & end thoughts of Europe: I think
I'll leave Europe within 2-3 weeks. I have spent more than two months in Europe and Middle East and learned lots of new things of MC travelling. The start has been good. Bike is now quite
good for bad roads, after the modifications.