Blog 2


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Update - Urfa

Date: 04/06/2009
Urfa, Turkey

I know you haven’t heard from me for quite some time, but now I’m back to tell you another story!

On the day after we left Keyseri, we passed through wonderful landscapes on the way to Maras. We rode through an amazing valley, camped near a 2700m mountain and had to endure a temperature difference of 3°C in the morning and 35°C during the day. Other than that, we challenged some tractors along the way, witnessed a fight between a couple of guys playing back gammon and had a great time enjoying the nature.

Next we were headed for Mt. Nemrut, one of the most important local attractions. We spent a great day on the Atatürk Barrage, formerly known as River Euphrat. We went fishing there with some locals and enjoyed just sitting around and drinking tea with the guys. After that we moved on towards Urfa.

We got up pretty early and took the first boat across the Atatürk barrage. After going along the river for a while, we suddenly did a turn and ended up in this desert-like landscape! 35°C degrees or more and only bushes - nothing else! When we arrived in Sivereck, the children welcomed us by throwing stones at our bikes. Luckily everybody else in town was as nice as always!

We were invited for cays (tea) at four different petrol stations and continued our journey after a small dinner. On our way we were also invited by a group of Kurdish soldiers, who were paid by the Turkish army to take care of their own region.

Afterwards we continued our journey and soon came across a broke-down car. As they needed water for their cooler, we gave them all of ours – quite a stupid idea considering that we were now stuck at 35°C in the desert without water! Luckily, a passing car offered us a ride for the 25km and we happily accepted. When I opened the door, bags full of chicken meat fell out (as you can see in the images) and I wasn’t sure whether I would survive the journey crammed into the back of a mini truck with my bike and heaps of meat and blood! As you can imagine, the smell wasn’t so nice either – although we admittedly don’t smell so good ourselves these days! Anyway, it turned out to be a fun journey and after arriving in the next city, we got some food and beer and set up our tent on a huge corn field!

Images: Take a ride on the meat truck to Urfa
Images: Euphrat Fishing and Crossing of the Atatürk Barrage
Images: Maras to Mt. Nemrut
Images: From Keyseri to Maras
Images: From Kapatokia to Keyseri

Update - Kaman to Maras

Date: 30/05/2009
Maras, Turkey

As always, too much has happened since my last update! Anyway, I’ll try to give you a short summary of the last days.

After a great time in Kaman we headed towards Cappadocia (Nesehirs Görem), which turned out to be a nice place with all these amazing houses build into stone. However, it also was quite touristy and so we left after one day and a half and set out on the amazing route to Kayseri.

On the way there it was raining quite often and so we decided to do a little shaving. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the images of me with a beard and then without it but still with the hair, like it was modern in the 1960s!

In Kayseri we spent one day with our great host Yacin and his mother and girlfriend and we had an amazing time cooking Wienerschnitzel for them. Yacin was a really interesting person and we learnt lots about Turkish history.

Next we continued our way to Maras, where you get the best ice cream in the whole of Turkey. The landscape was amazing but the temperature differences in the mountains and the town were bigger than you can imagine! Yesterday it was 3°C in the tent and today 29°C at 9 pm in Maras!

The day was great, but doing 290km in two days was really tough,
especially as there were several passes along the way, one of them about 1900m high, the other 1610 m. We were totally knackered when we arrived in Maras, but thanks to the police, who gave us an escort into town, we found a cheap hotel for 12 Euro and I’m really happy to go to bed soon!

Update Biyik or Kaman // Friends everywhere – Turkey, the most hospitable country in the world

Date: 24/05/2009
Biyik, Turkey

It seems that lots of people in this aerea speak German, no matter if you’re in the smallest village or right in the middle of nowhere! Yesterday we were invited for breakfast by a guy who had lived in Berlin and we had lunch and dinner with another amazing guy called Hussain. He invited us to sleep at the place of his boss, who is a stone smith, and we really enjoyed the evening hanging out with Hussain, Ercan (the boss) and his friends, doing a stone barbecue and eating way too much. Today, we decided to go fishing together and I am really looking forward to another exciting day in Turkey!


Update – Ankara – Biyik // Left out in the rain

Date: 23/05/2009
Biyik, Turkey

After spending a great time in modern Ankara with our amazing host Yamac, we’re now on the road again and I’ve had a first-hand experience of what it means to be “left out in the rain”. After two days of chilling on the terrace, sightseeing, smoking the water pipe and drinking beer, a massive thunderstorm hit us as soon as we were back on the road, about 60km away from Ankara. What followed were 1 ½ hours of cycling in the rain and a temperature drop to 10°C - these moments can also happen to you when you’re on the road!

Totally soaked we arrived in the next small town, only to find that there was no hotel, no place to change, no place to sleep and that nobody spoke one word of German. Eventually we could change our clothes at a petrol station, where we also got some hot tea and with the help of our dictionary could tell the people there that we were looking for a place to sleep.

So after 4 hours in the petrol station and a short visit of the local police, we finally found a place to sleep: the big imame school! When we got there, the students and teachers were just as excited about our visit as we were. They offered us great food and a warm place to sleep and after hanging out with the kids and having some great conversations we fell asleep happy to have found such helpful and amazing people.

The next morning we went back to the petrol station, said goodbye to our helpful friends and continued our journey, passing by small Kurdish villages. It was the first time we had to ride longer distances on dirt roads, but the landscape was great and we only got into a little rain once. In the evening, Adam and me just wanted to find a place to sleep and stopped at a small bicycle manufactory. We could hardly believe that it was a small branch of a Dutch company based at the end of the world! After taking a look around the manufactory (if you’d like to google it, the name was Fietsfabriek) we found a place to sleep right in the middle of endless green corn fields!

The next morning we continued our journey and once again experienced something unbelievable – but I’ll tell you about that some other time!

Images: Left out in the rain
Images: Hussain and his friends

Update // Good Turkish Music

Date: 21/05/2009
Ankara, Turkey

Here an update for people who are interested in good Turkish music: (by the way the cousin from our amazing host Yamac)

Update - Ankara

Date: 20/05/2009
Ankara, Turkey

A few days have passed and we really had a great ride to Ankara. We’re staying with Yamac here, who is an amazing host. As I already told you, lots of things have happened, so I’ll just describe one day here in Ankara!

After sleeping late because we had gone out the night before, we had a great breakfast yesterday. After that, we were chilling a bit on the terrace of Yamac’s apartment, jumping into the pool from time to time and having some cold drinks.

After enough relaxing, we decided to go to the Atatürk Monument, which is really huge and impressive. Then we passed by a friend of Yamac, who is a great musician and composer, and afterwards returned to Yamac’s place to chill out with his friends, playing music on the terrace and having some drinks. The day ended in front of the TV, just relaxing, watching ‘Trainspotting’ and having a good time - sometimes it’s just great to have an all-men’s night!

Tomorrow we will continue our journey - hope to hear from all of you soon!


Update - Turkish desert and the first hashish plant

Date: 17/05/2009
Location: Ayas Hamam, Turkey

After four days of riding, we have now arrived in Ayas, a well-known Turkish Hamam. Unfortunately, nobody speaks German or English here and the standard is not quite so high but it’s nice to stay here for one day, having a shower and getting ourselves clean again before moving on to Ankara! I will try to upload some images of this spot soon!


Update - Turkish desert and the first hashish plant

Date: 16/05/2009
Location: Mihaliççik, Turkey

I left Istanbul three days ago and you wouldn’t believe how many stories I already have to tell – what a shame you’ll have to wait for them until I get back!

Anyway, what I can do is describe a typical day in my life on the road. Yesterday, Adam and me woke up at about 6 am and got ready to leave our wonderful sleeping place next to an old sheep stable in a valley. After passing through the wonderful landscape and checking out Turkey’s greatest toilet we arrived in the small village of MiliMihaliccik, where we had lunch with three local teachers. It was amazing to chat with them!

After lunch we expected another uphill ride but luckily it was all downhill for the next 27km. We came through areas that looked like the wild forests of Canada, passed by an amazing mine and crossed something similar to death valley. We stopped there for a while and got to know Hussain, who spoke perfect German as he had spent 32 years in Hamburg. He showed us his hashish plant, invited us to have two beers and sleep on his farm next to the river. Stay tuned for the images to see what a marvelous spot it was! These moments of truth are the very moments I wanted to experience on this trip!
Although at first glance Turkey seems to be a tough country, it’s also great! By the way, today we had more than 35°C and had to jump into the water to recharge our batteries. In two days I’ll arrive in Ankara and I hope I’ll be able to upload some amazing images there!


Update from Eskeshir

Date: 14/05/2009
Location: Eskeshir, Turkey

Just a short update from on the road! Adam and me are heading towards Ankara, camping near lakes and in the mointains. We’re talking to people who don't understand a word of English or German, but the landscape is amazing! If travelling across Europe by bike is like kissing the alps, riding through Turkey is like merrying them. I’m still hoping that I will one day actually enjoy going up and down all the time! Anyway, we did quite well during the last days although it is really hot. Yesterday I think we had more than 35°C at midday! I wish you all the best – stay tuned for more images to follow!

Update - Magic Istanbul

Date: 11/05/2009
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

After spending a week in Istanbul and having a great time with my former teacher from Austria (who now lives in Istanbul), Milica and some weird bikers, my journey is about to continue tomorrow! I am really looking forward to the rest of Turkey and I also found a companion for the next leg of my trip. Adam wants to ride his bike all the way to Syria and will keep me company for the next couple of days. All in all, Istanbul was a great experience and I found lots of magic spots here. It’s a bit hard to describe them but you’ll see them in my photos - enjoy!

By the way, thanks to Milica for sharing all these magic moments with me!


Music: Secret Garden - Cafe Anatolia

Quick Update from Istanbul

Date: 06/05/2009
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Today I got up early to do some sightseeing before the crowds of tourists showed up. It was great to walk through the city during sunrise and take a look at all those impressive buildings. My walk also took me to the barber, where I got my beard shaved. So don't worry – now I look quite human again!


Highway to hell or extreme sports on the road to Istanbul, the door to Asia

Date: 05/05/2009
Location: Istanbul, Turkey

After a hard day of biking and fighting against the wind, I have finally reached Istanbul. On the way here, I had a strange encounter with a Swiss guy I met on the last hill before the city. He was going from Switzerland to Israel and back and asked me if I was a friend of that other guy. I had no clue what he was talking about and it didn’t help matters that he only spoke French. Eventually I understood that he had met another biker about one hour ago. As I was close to Istanbul I didn’t think I would come across this guy he mentioned, but suddenly at the top of the hill there he was – riding his bike and packed like me! He introduced himself as Sam and told me he was on his way to Kenya. It was great to have someone to keep me company while riding through this crazy town! After two hours of driving on four-lane roads and struggling against cars and crazy drivers, we finally reached our goal. Now it’s time to relax, do some sightseeing and prepare the next leg of my trip, which will take me across Turkey!


By the way, also check out

Update: From the Mediterranean to the Black Sea or from Greece to Turkey

Date: 03/05/2009
Location: Tekirdag, Turkey

Yesterday was a really tough day! In the morning it was looking like rain so I made my way to the station, where they told me I couldn’t take my bike on the train. So I had to face the bad weather and ride the 50km to the Turkish border on my bike. Luckily it only took me a few hours to get there and after a photo shoot with the local military I continued my way towards the next town called Kesan.

After 30km, I arrived in Kesan in the early afternoon and as I had a couch in Tekirdag, I continued for another 80km. However, I was lucky because the weather was fine where I was riding while it was raining everywhere else.

In Tekirdag I was looking for the flat of my host Emel, who is a teacher. After another few kilometers I finally reached my goal after a spectacular 160km and 10 hours of riding! This was the first time of my trip that I was really knackered and after lunch, a visit to the town and a movie at home I fell asleep in about five minutes. Anyway, it was a great experience to go from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Marmara in only one day!


Update 01/05/09

Date: 01/05/2009
Location: Alexandroupolis, Greece

After having had a weird night near Kavala, I spent one night in that wonderful town near the sea. On the next morning it was raining and so I once again had the chance to meet a great CouchSurfer. His name is Kostas and he really saved my life as it was raining like hell! We spent a great day hanging out in Xanthi, an interesting and charming town in the north of Greece.

The next day the weather changed and I could continue my journey towards Komotini, where I could stay with Michalis' brother Gianis. On the way there I passed by an amazing monastery. I don't want to say too much because you will see on the pictures, but it really looks amazing! You can only reach it by a wooden bridge and the monks there were really nice. I enjoyed the stay and the food there and really had a great time! Nimus, the main monk there, just couldn't stop laughing when he heard about my journey and they wished me all the best for my trip and gave me some apples to take on the way.

In Komotini I spent a great afternoon at Gianis' parents, who have a small wine farm, and we had an amazing barbecue there. What a great day!

Today I moved on to Alexandroupolis and I'm preparing to leave Greece tomorrow. I hope the weather doesn't get any worse! By the way, I'm staying at a small hotel here, which is run by only one person, a 70-year-old woman, who hasn't changed anything about the hotel since 1932! I really enjoy her company because she is like a mother to me and she speaks amazing French although she has never actually been to France! I think it is the best place to stay in Alexandroupolis, but sadly no one knows it because I'm the only guest!

Images: Stay next to the beach - Thessaloniki to Kavala
Images: Kavala - Xanthi
Images: Porto Lagos - Komotini
Images: Rainy day in Alexandroupolis

Update 28/04/09

Date: 28/04/2009
Location: Kavala, Greece

After a great time in Salonika, I continued towards Istanbul and spent a wonderful night next to the sea. My good night’s sleep was only interrupted by a sudden noise and flashing lights – a pretty frightening experience when you’re camping out there on your own! However, I soon realized that it was not a tractor about to run me over but a fishing boat attending to its work right next to me. They didn’t even bother about me and my tent, so I rolled over and fell back asleep again.

On the next morning the weather changed and I hurried to get to Kavala before the rain. Now that I have arrived and found a cheap accommodation, it is raining outside, but I can still do some sightseeing in this nice town.

By the way, thanks once again to my incredible hosts Michalis and Pernille from Salonika! You are the best and I hope you’ll come to stay with me some time in Austria!

Update 24/04/09 - From Skopje to Salonika

Date: 26.04.2009
Location: Salonika, Greece

As it was raining like hell on Wednesday, I decided to go the next 30km to Veles by train. In Veles I stayed with an interesting CouchSurfer called Ace, who is working as a DJ at a local radio station and invited me to do an interview on his show! It was a great opportunity for me and I told all my friends to tune in and listen to the show on the web.
The show started at 23:00 and it was great fun. I especially enjoyed some of the text messages I got from my friends after the show!

The next morning I set out for Dorjana and on the following day crossed the border into Greece without any problems. The first thing I noticed is that everybody in Greece seems to know Sturm Graz because we beat Panathinaikos in the Champions League a couple of years ago!

After a whole day on the bike I finally reached Salonika, where I’m staying with Michalis and Pernille from Denmark. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the Greek lifestyle a bit better and exploring Salonika, which seems to be a great town with lots of cafés and bars next to the sea and great food.

I also found out that the Greeks actually call the Northern part of Greece Macedonia, while Macedonia is known as FYROM or Scopia here - a really interesting story! I will stay here in Salonika for three nights and then continue my trip to Asia.

Stay tuned, my friends


Images: from Skopje to Salonika

Images: Salonika

Update 21.04.09 - Nis to Skopje or leaving Serbia, the most welcoming country in the world

Date: 21.04.2009
Location: Skopje, FYROM

My stay in Nis was more than awesome! I lived with the best host you can imagine, who showed me a great deal about how Serbian people live and party! As Serbians are not 100% friendly towards the NATO and US, they are very keen on keeping their own culture alive, which I think is amazing.

During my short stay in Serbia I had the chance to visit three live gigs and all of them were fantastic beyond words! All the songs were in Serbian and it was an amazing experience.

Me and a girl from the Czech Republic were invited to my host Milica’s parents for dinner, which was fabulous. After the meal she and her brother played some songs for us on the piano and the guitar. It was such an impressive experience that I still have to think about that special moment! Her brother is a genius and she is a real character that I will never forget.

After two days and lots of magic moments I had to leave for F.Y.R.O. Macedonia on Saturday to visit my friend Jeti and celebrate Orthodox Easter with him. As I left Nis quite late in the day and wanted to protect my bike, I rode several kilometers on the highway. Although I was a bit worried that the police might stop me, I was happy to cover more kilometers than expected.

When I finally arrived in a place near Vranje, I set up my tent there. As I had been riding quite late into the evening, I had to make do with this spot although it was not perfect. My worries wore confirmed about 20 minutes later, when a gipsy family set up camp about 100m away from me. I have to admit I didn’t sleep too well this night but in the morning I could continue my journey safe and sound.

Like the day before I decided to ride the first 20km on the highway – only this time I really was stopped by the police! I can tell you my heart really sank into my boots when I heard the police siren and saw the flashing blue light. But in the end everything went smoothly and they only wanted to know where I was headed to.

At around 11:00 I reached the border to F.Y.R.O. Macedonia but had to realize that the small street I was traveling on had no border crossing. In the end I decided to cross the border anyway, which was a bit of an awkward feeling. I felt a bit uneasy entering the ghost town ahead of me and seeing the F.Y.R.O. Macedonia sign knocked to the ground, but at least I had made it safely into the country!

At about 12:00 I reached the first town called Kumanovo and continued on the route to Skopje. It was beginning to look like rain and I was afraid that my last 30km to Skopje were going to be a quite uncomfortable experience when suddenly a car drew up next to me. It was a VW2 with two guys and their three kids, who all spoke perfect Austrian! Both of them had been working in Austria without permission for several years until they were made to leave the country and one of them was even married to an Austrian woman in St. Pölten. They persuaded me to come with them and after a coffee at their place in a small village they drove me to Skopje, which was really nice of them. Once again I was astonished by the great hospitality here on the Balkans!

In Skopje I met my friend Jeti, who is Austrian and working in Skopje for the next two years. Again I was met with great hospitality and spent some wonderful days there. As it was Orthodox Easter, Jeti had a day off work on Monday and so we had two whole days to spend together. We had dinner with his friends, played chess, enjoyed the old and new part of town and visited the Orthodox Easter celebrations - I think I must have gained at least 2kg of weight here! Tomorrow I will head to Veles, where I will stay for the evening and then continue towards Greece! Images


Date: 15/04/2009
Location: Nis, Serbia

I’ve made it as far as Nis, where I’m staying at a cool CouchSurfing accommodation -  you wouldn’t believe all the things that have already happened to me!

Today I visited a concentration camp and obviously was the only visitor in long time. The lady at reception asked me whether I was a student – of course I was! – and in I went for an incredible fee of 10 cents. The lady unlocked the door to the concentration camp, turned on the lights and let me in to explore the museum and its eerie atmosphere all by myself. What a strange and intense experience!
After my tour had ended and I was back outside talking to the lady at reception, I suddenly heard a girl shouting “Hello Stefan!”. She had seen on the CouchSurfing website that a crazy biker was passing though town and as she had spotted me and my bike from her nearby pottery she decided to come over for a chat. Over a cup of coffee we decided to meet again tomorrow afternoon – the people here are really amazing!

Today I’m invited to dinner at my host’s parents and after that we’re planning to go out a bit – can’t wait to see what nightlife in Nis is like! The day after tomorrow I will set out for Skopje, where I want to join the Orthodox Easter celebrations. Lucky me to celebrate Easter twice!



Date: 14.04.2009
Location: Nis, Serbia

As it happens I’m already in Nis and glad that I didn’t have to ride here from Belgrade in the current cold and rainy April weather. In Belgrade I made my first CouchSurfing acquaintance – and hey presto – now I’m already in Nis, where I will stay for the next two days and explore the town. Unfortunately sightseeing’s not so great in rain either, but at least I don’t have to sweat on my bike with head wind and rain right in my face!

I’m doing really well here and I must say that Austrians could really learn a thing or two from the people here when it comes to hospitality! Of course you also have to meet the right people but it seems that I’ve been lucky!


Stefan und sein Vater

Week 1 (8-13/04/09)

Date: 13/04/2009
Location: Belgrade, Serbia

As my grandmother had died, I started my trip one week later than planned on April 8, 2009. Together with my father I set out for Radkersburg in bright sunshine and already attracted the attention of lots of others bikers. One of them asked me whether I was only going to Radkersbug and to simplify matters I simply said yes. Had I told him where I was really headed to, the old man would probably have had me arrested!

My father accompanied on the first 30km and then it was just me on my way to Radkersburg, where I spent the first night with friends of my parents. On the next day I made my way through Slovenia and towards Croatia, where I had my first wild camping experience. I really enjoyed my camp at the edge of the forest, with only a stork keeping me company.

I spent the next three days riding through Croatia in perfect weather and eventually reached Vukovar, a city which still hasn’t entirely shed its dark shadow. After two nights of camping I decided to stay at a private accommodation with awesome hosts. After they invited me to have coffee and two glasses of Sliwowitz with them, they showed me around their private distillery and told me about my landlord’s escape to Nuremberg during the war.

After a nice evening and a good night’s sleep in Vukovar I continued my way towards Serbia. Despite strong head winds I made it to Novi Sad and after a quick tour of the town continued towards Belgrade, where I spent the night in the local vineyards. After a quiet night I got up early and set out for breakfast in Belgrade at 6:00. However, my plan didn’t quite work out because it took me almost six hours instead of the usual three to get there due to the extreme head winds – or rather head storm - and rain. However, I’m finally in Belgrade now and will spend the next two days here!


The journey begins!

Date: 07/04/2009
Location: Graz

Hi everybody!

Because of the death of my grandmother I had to postpone my trip to tomorrow. In perfect weather conditions I’ll set out along the Mur River for Bad Radkersburg! Let’s get this thing started!


Stefan verlässt Graz

Testrun - Bike Check

Date: 27/03/09
Location: Graz

The first 40km on my bike were awesome! Although my 30kg of luggage were heavier than expected everything worked out fine. I’m getting a little nervous now but I’m ready to get this thing rolling and am looking forward to the adventure of my life!