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In Cappadocia with ZZFAZER


In Cappadocia by motorcycle with ZZFAZER

Those who know me, know that I am a solo motorcycle adventurer, but for first time I was setting off on a journey with two other friends. I would ride my FZ1 with over 145,000 km, alongside Antonello on his Norden and Sergigno on his Kawasaki Vulcan. My friends were very pleased to be travelling with me, and weren’t worried at all, except for the rain that has followed me on all my adventures over the years. They reckon that I attract it, so I hoped to prove them wrong!
We would set off from Milan and head to Ancona. I’m sure many of you will understand that whilst travelling is an amazing experience, when you have a limited number of days available, it is important to plan out the best possible route that lets you focus on what you really want to see. This is why I chose to take the ferry from Ancona to Igoumenitsa and cross Greece with just one stop to reach Turkey, which was my chosen destination! In total, we had exactly two weeks to travel, one of which was dedicated entirely to Turkey and the other split between the outward and return journeys.
This means we travelled pretty quickly across Greece, as I had already visited in 2021 and did not want to waste precious days. This meant we only went to Meteora and stopped overnight on the Chalkidiki peninsula.
The following day we were already entering Turkey, where the real journey would begin, at least in my mind! We were welcomed by a queue stretching at least 2 km to cross the border, which initially seemed to be due to a hold up, but was actually a queue of people who would not enter Turkey before the following day!
We overtook everybody and positioned ourselves at the front when we saw the first border gate out of Greece. We didn’t waste much time here, but the problems began when we reached the Turkish border control, where checks on vehicles, luggage, passports and motorcycle insurance took two whole hours.

Subsequent stops on the journey were Pamukkale, famous for its thermal springs which have formed natural bathing pools over the years; Goreme  with its fascinating settlement built into the rock, at the heart of Cappadocia; nearby Derinkuyu, the location of a hidden underground city where more than 2000 years ago around 10,000 inhabitants hid under attack from barbarians; Ankara, the Turkish capital, full of skyscrapers and highly modern, which truly exceeded my expectations; and finally Burj Al Babas, the most famous real-estate bankruptcy story in the world: an abandoned city with more than 700 mini-châteaus, all identical, exactly halfway between Ankara and Istanbul, where we spent the last of our five nights in Turkey.
Istanbul is truly enormous. I remember the moment when the motorway began to rise up hill, and a few minutes later from the top of this plateau, you could see the huge metropolis below, one of the ten most populous cities in the world.
Whilst everything was fairly straightforward until Istanbul, things were more difficult in the city. There was frenzied traffic, taxis driving against the flow, no motorcycle parking, “tourist trappers” lining the streets with many restaurants; basically, all the typical chaos of a big city. But fortunately, Turkey is much more than what you see in Istanbul. The true Turkey is what you find everywhere else. Despite the challenges, we decided to remain in Istanbul for two nights to at least explore some of the key attractions in the Sultanahmet neighbourhood, where we rented an apartment. This included the Sultan Amet Tomb, Basilica Cistern, the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia, as well as the Bosporus, which divides the European and Asian parts of the city, all truly magnificent and a world away from Europe. Of course, we didn’t miss out the experience of visiting a Hammam, and tasting all the typical local foods.
For the return journey, we chose to cross Greece again, with stops in Komotini and a detour for two nights in Albania.

In total we travelled almost 5,000 km in 12 days, which isn’t too bad at all. The overall cost for me was € 1,734 which is below average compared to the budgets for my solo trips. I found you can really save a lot travelling as a group. Even our most expensive hotel stays were little more than € 20.00 per head. Initially, I was a little sceptical about travelling with friends, but now I have changed my mind. It was a wonderful experience, and with the peace of mind that comes with travelling companions, I was also able to push a little harder on off-road sections with the Fazer, not to mention when we entered the Tuz Golu “salt lake” on our bikes! I returned home with some amazing memories and an important lesson learned: you travel faster alone but farther together! Meanwhile, Antonello and Sergigno are still blaming me for the rain :D

The protagonist

The protagonist

Francesco Langiulli known as ZZFAZER, is a solo motorcycle adventurer who for first time settings off on a journey with two other friends, Antonello and Sergigno, and their motorcycles.