TURKEY (06/06/2008 - 20/06/2008)

On 6th June in a few minutes, after getting the stamps
on our passports, we crossed the border to Turkey.
Before leaving the border two officials
stopped us asking for our bicycles' documents! "We
have no document... they don't exist!". They laughed,
we shook hands and they said: "welcome in Turkey!

The first days we cycled along the Black Sea
on the new highway from Istanbul to the
Georgian border built some years ago.

Dispite the warm weather and the clean sea we didn't
swim because the first day we wanted to ride as more
kilometres as we could: "We can go swimming tomorrow!".

The second day we didn't swim as well but we got wet the same, it
was raining and we got Trabzon where we stopped
a couple of days. We found a not well supplied bicycle shop (the people said
that it was the best in the city) where we
could find the spare parts that we needed. The day after
I (Claudio) could fix our bicycles. While I was fixing the
bikes in front of our hotel, the owner came out and spoke
about football players, he started saying names but I didn't
know anyone! I don't like football!! Probably an answer too
strange said from an italian!

We left the Black Sea, the flat road started to go up through the
mountains until the first pass, 2030 metres. During the
uphill it started to rain so we stopped under a tree. While we
were wearing our waterproof jacket a driver saw us,
stopped his truck and came to us with a thermos full of coffee!
Thanks a lot friend!!

Just 300 metres before the pass Claudio got a punctured back tyre
but fortunately on the top there was a small restaurant
where we sheltered from the rain.
The owner gave us two chay for free and wanted to help
Claudio in inflating the tyre! We really love Turkish people!!

The days after the weather didn't change, everyday was raining
and we couldn't pitch our tent up so we slept in the
cheap hotels along the way where the owners usually have
been very friendly, offering chay and speaking about, of
course, football!

Every night TVs broadcasted football matches, no chance to avoid them for
people who hate football!!

Everyday we went through the valley, crossing high passes
over 2000 metres where we met shepherds, beehives near the
rivers and farmers living in small houses made out of stones
and wood. It was funny to speak to them, often the first
question was: "Why don't you go by car?", and the second
question, of course, was: "Would you like some Chay?".

We spent one night in Tunceli, a small town on the way.
While we were looking for a hotel the police stopped us
asking our passports and future destinations because the
area that we were going through was not safe. They had to
report our transit. The same thing happened again some days later
at one checkpoint, the soldiers asked the same and advised
us to take extra care on our way because "Not all Turkish are good
persons!". Probably we were too close at the Curdistan.

Between Tunceli and Elazig we rode 83 kms, went up to two
high passes, crossed a lake by boat and finally we got the
city where we took a rest for a couple of days. We love
Turkey but by bicycle sometimes it's very hard!

In the south east Turkey, toward Syria, the landscape
changed again and turned into desert. It's a nightmare!! From
Elazig we spent four days to get the border, we met
friendly people, we crossed passes, and hot, we faced really hot

Now we're in Kilis, the last city before Syria. Tomorrow
we're going to cross the border hoping to get there the visas.
Officially they are not issued at the border but we know
from some travellers that they got them on the spot.


Have a good trip!

Claudio & Patrizia


COAST TO COAST (29/05/2008 - 5/06/2008)

After saying goodbye to mountain Ararat from Yerevan we moved towards mountain Aragat, the sunshine made this day a very pleasant one.
We spent three days on the way before getting the Georgia’s border. The weather was very cold and some storms stuck us.
We found shelter from the rain under the trees and into
the hovels at the bus stops.
Near the villages we saw many storks’ nests made on top
of light poles.

On 31st May we crossed the border. After that point on the road was dusty and full of holes, sometimes it seemed a dried
We cycled on a paved road for about 70 kms but
after unfortunately
it turned bad again. Unlucky day!!

We slept in a decadent 'gastiniza' (hotel) along the way even if
they are cheap and really unwelcome! The last night before
Batumi we got hospitality from a nice family. While it was
raining and we were waiting under a tree hoping for a better whether a woman approached us and wanted us to be her hosts.
We met all the family and neighbors and all together we drank
beer and vodka!

On 3rd June we completed the coast to coast, Baku (Caspian
Sea) - Batumi (Black Sea): 1416 km.

Probably tomorrow we will cross the border to Turkey.
Our plan is to reach Syria between 10 or 15 days.

Have a good trip!

Claudio and Patrizia


THE CAUCASUS (7/05/2008 - 28/05/2008)

We docked to Baku at night and spent one hour at the
immigration. Around 2 A.M. we found a hotel in the city
centre. Everything is too expensive compared with Iran and
Turkmenistan. We spent some day in Baku before resuming
again. Azerbaijan was the end of the desert! After three
months we could see again trees, rivers and snow!

We spent most of the nights in our tent close to the kafe along
the way. The owners were so friendly and sometime we got
dinner for free!

Although the landscape was up and down and hard by
bicycle we enjoyed cycling there! We went through the
valleys riding alongside the snowed mountains. We got Sheki
and spent three nights in the Karavanserai Hotel, one of the
best reasons to visit the city.

On 17th May we crossed the border and went to Georgia.

Very important for all travelers: at the border hide your
Lonely Planet because in Azerbaijan is forbidden!

There isn't any money changer at the border but fortunately
they can be changed in Tblisi. (Lari into Manat or vice

On the way to Tblisi we stopped visiting Sighnaghi the most
attractive town in Kakheti. A little piece of Italy in

We got Tblisi and spent some days there. We stayed at Nasi's
Homestay where we met a few travelers. Two Dutch, an
American and two South Africans traveling by bicycle from
Cape Town.
Nasi (the owner) wasn't a bad person but she wanted money
for everything we needed!

We left the city and in a few hours we arrived at the border
with Armenia. We got the Visa on the spot and changed
little money to pay for it.

Amazing landscape with rivers, mountains and a lot of
shepherds riding horses. Their dogs weren't so friendly as
them! Usually they chased us and tried to bite our legs.
Fortunately when we stopped they went away!

We went through Alaverdi, Vanadzor, Dilijan, Lake Sevan
until Yerevan, the Capital city. Usually we spent our nights
in the homestays, the cheapest places where to sleep.

Yerevan is a modern and quiet city, nice for walking around.

Here we are! Tomorrow we are leaving toward Georgia. In a
few days we'll be to Batumi on the shore of the Black Sea.

Till now we rode 18835 km.

Have a nice trip!

Claudio and Patrizia


TURKMENISTAN (28/04/2008 - 6/05/2008)

At the border we had to take a van for the firsts 20 km
as far as Ashgabat.
Between the border and Ashgabat it's "No man zone".

We had to stay in an expensive hotel in order to get the Visa
registration. It was interesting going around Ashgabat.
The city has been rebuilt and everywhere there is gold
statues and the President's picture.
We began our trip in Turkmenistan but not alone! Vladimir, an old Russian followed us with his car. He spoke only Russian!
With a tourist visa we couldn't go alone inside the country.

We spent all the nights in tent while Vladimir slept inside
his car. At the beginning the wind pushed us but from the
third day on it was strong against us!
Vladimir was a good person but sometime too much stubborn!
We know only 40 words in Russian but he insisted in complicated
conversations. Usually we said "da da" so he was happy but we
didn't understand anything!

On the 4th May we got Turkmenbashi where we slept with other 15 people in the waiting room of the port. There wasn't
any timetable and nobody knew when the boat would have started.

The day after we crossed the border and got inside the boat.
We paid 100 US$ each! Of course, that was a tourist

We slept one night on the boat stuck at the quay.
Fortunately inside there was a restaurant and a small
kafe. On the 6th of May we left Turkmenistan sailing toward
Baku, Azerbaijan.

Claudio and Patrizia
TEHRAN - MASHHAD (13/04/2008 - 27/04/2008)

We started again toward east. In Tehran we contacted a
travel agency in Ashgabat in order to get the Turkmen Visa.
As the process took two weeks we decided to leave for Mashhad hoping to get the visa there. Along the way we met Yuka, a Japanese girl traveling alone by bicycle for eleven months. She is cycling toward Eastern Europe.

Most of the nights we slept in our tent below the flyovers. They
were perfect places because nobody could see us.
The landscape was everyday boring, desert ahead, behind and on both sides!
In Sabzevar we got hospitality from an Iranian family. We
had everything we couldn't expect. They gave us tea,
biscuits, lunch, dinner and a bed for the night! It was a
beautiful day with them.

When we got Mashhad we met again Mary (we stayed together at
her sister's house in Sabzevar) and her family. Sara (Mary's
daughter) speaks perfect English and she told us many
things about Iran. We spent five days with them and Mary was
a beautiful mom with us! Thanks a lot for your kindness!
We got the LOI for Turkmenistan! We went to the border
(Bajgiran) and got the Visa on the spot.

Goodbye Iran!

Claudio and Patrizia
IRAN (17/03/2008 - 12/04/2008)

We crossed the border early but we couldn't pedal! Unsafe
area from the border to Kerman. Some years ago two
travelers were kidnapped in that area.
We had no choice. The police put us in a Taxi and we went straight to Zaedan where we caught a bus to Kerman.

Riding again our bicycles we got Yazd. We met many
travelers here. The city was quiet and lovely for a walking.
The roads in Iran were perfect and mostly flat. 95 km before
Esfahan we spent a night in Toudeshk. We got hospitality in
Jalalil Mohammad's home having a delicious dinner, night and
breakfast. He's very friendly and welcomes all travelers who
come on that way.
In Esfahan we got the visa extension in just one hour.
We stayed and went around the city for some days.
The hospitality in Iran is very warm, usually they have been
very friendly giving fruit to us on the way.
On the way to Tehran we slept in our tent hidden during the night by bushes. The city doesn't seem Iran, chaotic and expensive.

In the Capital city we got the Azeri visa in 24 hours. We
tried to get the Syrian visa but it was impossible. Probably will be
better to apply for it at the border.

Claudio and Patrizia
PAKISTAN (22/02/2008 - 16/03/2008)

The first day we stopped in Lahore and slept at the Regale
Internet Inn. We met there some travelers.
We went back to the border by taxi to see the closing
ceremony. Unbelievable! Football stands, people waving flags, football chorus and officials wearing old traditional clothes. A big
atmosphere of party and patriotism! They do the same every

In Punjab the roads were perfect. We met friendly people and
along the way we could sleep in the restaurants. In Mian
Channun (before Multan) we slept in a hotel for free! The
owner was very glad to invite us to sleep at his place offering us a kind of all you can eat! He likes cyclists a lot!

After Multan the landscape changed. No more trees on the way,
only sand and stones. The beginning of the desert!
We left Punjanb and entered Balochistan.
The towns here are more chaotic and it was difficult to see women
on the streets. Toward Ziarat the road went up reaching 3000
meters over the sea level. It was cold and there was snow
beside the road. On the way to Quetta the police escorted us. They said that it was for our safety.
In Quetta we saw some women on the streets but all wearing
the burka.

The desert between Quetta and Taftan was a hard part, 600
kms in 5 days. Patrizia was sick and tired so we hitchhiked, a
big truck stopped and we went on with it for 100 kms.
The road was in bad conditions but fortunately mostly flat.
Taftan was an unwelcoming city at the end of the world!

Claudio and Patrizia
INDIA AGAIN (8/01/2008 - 21/02/2008)

Nepal was very quiet compared to India!

After one week we got Agra. We stopped here some days
visiting the city and the magnificent Taj Mahal (from
outside because it was too expensive for budget
travelers like us!) the symbol of love.

We got Delhi after a few days. The capital is different
from the other chaotic and noisy towns of India.
Patrizia got a new passport (she finished the pages) and after that
we got the Pakistani Visa in a couple of days. For the
Iranian Visa we had to wait two weeks. We needed a LOI in order to get a tourist Visa valid up to one month.
Waiting the Visa we took a train to Pushkar and met our
Italian friends there. They are traveling around India
by their Bullet Enfield bought in Punjab.
Have a good trip dear friends!

We got the last Visa and started cycling again toward West.
We stopped in Armistar visiting the Golden Temple. Many Sikh
go there to purify themselves having a bath in the "nectar

We changed our clothes, took off our shorts and worn a pair
of pants. Patrizia wore a scarf over her head and we were
ready to cross the border to Pakistan!

Claudio and Patrizia
NEPAL (25/11/2007 - 7/01/2008)

The road went up through the mountains as far as Kathmandu.
Here we are, our parents came to visit us! We'll leave
our bicycles for a month and by bus will go around with them.
We spent some days in Bakthapur, sacred city for Hindu.
In Nagarkot we enjoyed the dawn behind the Himalaya mountains.
Lumbini, Siddharta’s birthplace. Pokhara, the city on both
sides of a beautiful lake surrounded by Annapurna.
We went for a short trekking from Nayapul to the Poon Hill,
Gorepani and Gandruk. A short five days trekking because there was too much snow on the path.

Our families went back to Italy and we began again our trip!
It's the beginning of the new year and on the mountains is very cold. Four days later we were back at the Sunauli border.

Claudio and Patrizia
INDIA (26/10/2007 - 24/11/2007)

We spent some days in Kolkata before leading toward
west. We visited Bodhgaya, one of the most important pilgrimage
places in the world for Buddhists.

Along the way many Indians wanted to race against us! It was a non stop race, we overtook each other every other 50 meters, a continuous annoying overtaking! Every day it was the same!
When we stopped along the road for eating something, a lot of
people used to come around staring us. Just watching... They didn't
say a word!

After one week we got Varanasi (Benares) where we spent
almost ten days, really a fascinating city! Cows
and bulls strolling around the alleys, cheeky monkeys everywhere along the sacred Ganga. Daily life is carried out along that river, while more then 50 sewages dropped into the river some people washed their clothes and others bathed. Dead people are burnt on both sides of the river. In a few days we crossed the Nepalese border.

Claudio and Patrizia