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Middle East

The real journey started East, in the Turkish Kurdistan region on the border with Iraq

Great Venture
Great Venture

We are completely uninterested in heroic feats and in the superhero rhetoric that fascinates many travellers. We don’t care about how many kilometres we’ve done, but about the people we’ve met and the stories the world is full of. So the main purpose of this trip was to see the world with our own eyes, without the lenses of the media that often deforms reality.
The only way to do this is by crossing whole countries, kilometre after kilometre, in apparent discomfort that arouses the respect and admiration of everybody and that, in most cases, encourages local people to help you and to warmly welcome whoever arrives at their home after having done many kilometres of dust and rain. We took a year: it seems like a lot but it actually leaves little room for the unexpected and many times you have to go fast even if you don’t want to.
The motorbike is called Sofia and it’s a 2008 Yamaha XT660Z Tenere.
We celebrated our 100,000kms reaching Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Laos, halfway through the trip. It’s a very versatile bike and really good off-road, which is the terrain it was designed for. With about 45hp it is not the most powerful of bikes, especially if compared to the maxi-enduros which at present dominate the market, but it’s enough for two of you to go anywhere with a full load.

In Turkey we lived the calm life of tourists, if we don’t count a broken wheel bearing on the outskirts of Ankara, staying for a long time in Istanbul and on the Black Sea coast. In Cappadocia we took our time, celebrating a fake marriage with the pretext of wearing two wedding rings in order not to have any problems in Iran.
The real journey started East, in the Turkish Kurdistan region on the border with Iraq, where the Isis slaughters started a month before our departure.
A different world made of loving people, the first to fight against the new monster and to accommodate the refugees of Mount Sinjar, whose refugee camp we visited together with an American activist.

Iran laid out for us the proverbial hospitality of the Silk Road: a country whose inhabitants are so quiet and peaceful they could almost seem boring, even if my lady complained a bit about the veil all women have to wear. We pointed south, visiting the city of Baqm where we met Tino and Huber, two German bikers headed towards New Zealand and with whom we crossed Pakistan.
We were seriously worried about this country but, once more, reality proved more complex than the news and, with the exception of a village in the Northwest of Pakistan, we did not have any problems with the local people who were always ready to allow us into their homes to share what little they had with the travellers from the West.
And the police escorts, which we were assigned by law, were one of the most fun things of my life.

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