"Meaning of the word TRAVEL:
1 Moving from one place to another, taking a certain way: adventurous or quiet travel , go on the road , business or job travel... more or less long itinerary through places and countries, different from their own: tourism travel, etc. etc. ...
I would also add the most important meaning for me: to know oneself ! "
I am 45 years old and I have been travelling from fifteen. For business reasons I often travelled to far countries: Asia, South America, Australia, South Africa.
With the slightest organization, I was able to combine a vacation trip to work, damping in this way the cost of the flight ticket.
Buying a plane ticket and a Lonely Planet, throw some rags in a backpack and go alone towards the unknown.
What will this trip reserve for me? Who will I meet? What will I see?
These are the questions arising during the preparations. Then you board the plane and everything vanishes. Like a beautiful flower, a "new vision of being" blooms and you discover to be a twenty-first century adventurer leaving for his new adventure.
The passion of the bike instead, was born five years ago and it materialized in a Honda Transalp with 40,000 km by which I went around a part of Italy and Corsica.
In 2009 like a chrysalis, the "caterpillar-Transalp" turned into a stronger Africa Twin RD07A with 53,000 kilometers and from it I carried up and down the Moroccan Atlas Mountains, on the sands of Erg Chebi , along the beaches of Croatia and Montenegro.
My love for travel and passion for motorcycles came together in an unbreakable bond which flowed into the summer project just concluded around the Black Sea solo.
As I said before, I was first a traveller and later a biker . So the bike became for me the ideal means of transport to move around the world.
The 230 kg of steel turned into muscle, the engine in a heartbeat, the fuel and oil turned into the coolant flowing in the blood through the veins of this horse of the modern era.
It has a soul and you can listen it, you can talk to it.
You trust it as you would do with your four paws travel buddy, you apologize for having mistreated it on this road or on the dirt patch in the mountains.
When it is tired, you beg it to hold on, ending soon, with the promise you will stop and you will allow it a bit of rest sooner.
To know oneself , then...
Being alone, away from your known world, from your daily routine, your love, let you getting in touch with your most secret IO.
Remove your masks because here, you do not need them and you can find out what you really are.
The well –known Carpe Diem, Here and Now!
More you travel, more you’ll discover.
More you see, more your desire to travel and more you would like to improve your discovery. And exactly from this idea, the Black Sea 2012 came from : to test myself for thirty days and 12,000 km. Cross over twelve countries including Eastern Europe and Asia Minor to see how I should have reacted facing the difficulties of many hours on my saddle, alone, in countries where very few people speak English or other languages familiar to me.
Where bureaucracy and corruption are supreme masters .Where speed limits are constantly monitored by police in search of the "second or third salary." Where people are suspicious and smiles a little, but if you can find the right key, they open their home and host you for lunch and want you with them as if you were their friend for a long time. To test in preparation for an more difficult adventure which will start in 2014: around the world solo that will take me across 6 continents, 71 countries and 115,000 km in 18 months.
Unexpected encounters, extraordinary places to see at least once in a lifetime, hundreds of photos to remember the moments lived.
So Dagna Mauro, 45 year old from ASTI, summarizes his journey of 12,156 km through 12 countries in just 31 days.
"I leave Asti on 27th July 2012 with the purpose of crossing Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria in the shortest time possible. The goal is to get to Istanbul after three days to begin the journey itself that will lead me to the last goal: Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.
I leave Asti early and on the road to Zagreb I meet another Africa Twin, as mine, carrying a nice couple from Milan. I'll be with Imam and Aurora for two days to the border with Serbia where we separate forcedly. For a glitch about their documents they cannot pass through customs and are forced to turn back. From now until the Russian border ,it will be a long pilgrimage alone, interrupted by short and sporadic encounters with bikers of various nationalities, Italian people rarely.
Zagreb , later Sofia, the Bulgarian capital and on the third day departure for Istanbul.
The decent quality of motorways sooner will turn into bad asphalt roads scattered everywhere with yards and police checks. The arrival to the Bulgarian-Turkish border is upsetting . It 's July 29 and most of the Turk people living in Germany is coming home for the Summer holidays. It’s a real delirium ! The waiting, the heat and tiredness lead to a change of plans: no more Istanbul! I would have gone late at night to leave again at sunrise. Better head towards the South and the Dardanelles. I spend my night at and go via Selcuk to Bodrum the following day, where you can’t miss the ruins of Greek and Roman Ephesus. The site is spectacular even if the service leaves a lot to be desired. The only drawback is the crowd of tourists. Thousands of people "vomited" by dozens of buses, as hordes of barbarian people invade the quiet of this place.
I reach Bodrum, the Emerald Coast of Turkey, on the same evening and spend the night there while the next day I leave for the next stop, Pamukkale. Here, the visual impact is amazing: a white mountain, topped by the ruins of the Greek-Roman city of Heliopolis, stands in the midst of arid mountains of brown-gray. The village lies at the foot of calcite flows, the famous travertine, is a country that depends on tourism, so while there is no problem to find accommodation for the night and something to put in the stomach, on the other there is the confusion generated by the crowds of tourists that I like to call with "bulimia Travel"!
The next step should have been Konya, home of the Whirling Dervishes, famous Sufi dancers, but the visit to Pamukkale has taken longer than expected then I change plan and decide for a stopover in the town of Beysehir, built on the lake.
Here I meet a couple of travelers, he’s Turkish, she’s Dutch, riding a new a strong Yamaha Super Tenere .
We spend the evening in a traditional restaurant, gobbling up a fish of 2.2 kg ( paid just 12 € per kg), but only drinking water, we are in a period of Ramadan, so no alcohol allowed outside the most tourist destinations.
350km separate me from the long-wished Cappadocia where it seems that nature had a lot of fun. Here in Goreme, a "giant" in a very remote past seemed to have played with bucket and spade, building everywhere huge sand pinnacles, made holes in them to make them habitable by humans and some of them for worship. A magical place that require a break of at least a week, but I have to be satisfied with just 3 days.
The next steps will be Mount Nemrut Dagi and the famous statues on its top, the shores of Lake Van, Dogubayazit with Mount Ararat dominating the Palace of Ishak Pasa Sarai, the ruins of the ancient Armenian capital Ani and finally Armenia through Georgia.
I am six days in Armenia, stopping in Yerevan and Gyumri to meet some Italian friends living here from years. What strikes of these places, apart from the wild, especially in the mountainous part, is the respect and love for the culture.
From Armenia to Georgia. 225 km of slippery and dusty asphalt from Sevan to Tbilisi beautiful and cared Georgian capital where the thermometer marks 40 degrees!
A couple of days and on August 18th I leave from Tbilisi for a "spin" of 1000 km in the region of Svaneti. The aim is to visit the Upper Svaneti whose capital is Mestia and then arrive till the isolated Usghuli village, a small village located between 2,086 and 2,200 m, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where 200 people live all the year around very close to nature, with rhythms and attitude we have been forgotten for centuries.
Usghuli is surrounded by peaks of 3,000 - 4,000 m and on the background the glaciers going down the slopes of Mount Shkhara of 5021 m (the highest mountain in Georgia), adds a touch of white in this picture painted with green, brown and all shades of grey.
Civilization is located 47 km away with Mestia, that is a strip of land and rock,that for the copious rains during the night, was not accessible for several landslides.
I spend two nights in this enchanted place before leaving to Mestia and then Kazbegi, the famous Russian-Georgian border closed until 2010 for the war in South Ossetia.
The first part of the journey is worrying.. crazy, to say the least ! Landslides everywhere! The river , which fills the valley, swollen by the rains of the last nights, screams while breaking on the rocky walls of the narrow gorge where it is forced, as if it wanted to create a new space best suited to its current size. I met many other paths more or less dangerous. The stones went on detaching from the waterlogged sides . It was a real disaster.
I reach Kazbegi in the evening, after a ride of 600km almost entirely under water, tired and cold and pass the border the next day. The next 4 days I'll spend with Piotr, Polish loner rider on his way home. Piotr, thanks to its basic Russian , will be fundamental to communicate with the locals when crossing Russia and Ukraine.
We’ll separate in Ternopil where I take the way of Hungary and he ‘ll that of Poland.
It 's August 25, the last 360 km of roads full of holes, bad asphalt, herds of cattle into the fray, corrupted police. Later on Europe, its highways and the petrol with its unlikely price ! "
Mechanical problems: two holes of the rear
Only a fine, paid to the Armenian police - € 20
Lowest fuel price : Russia € 0.69 / l
Highest fuel price : Turkey € 2.05 / l
Highest temperature: 45 ° C South East Turkey
Lowest temperature: Usghuli, Upper Svaneti-Georgia 2 ° C
Most expensive Accomodation - Yerevan, Armenia - 40 €
Cheapest Accomodation - € 7.5 Usghuli
The journey steps:
27/7: Asti - Zagreb (Croatia) 780 km
28/7: Zagreb - Sofia (Bulgaria) 788 km
29/7: Sofia - Kesan (Turkey) 445 km
30/7: Kesan - Selcuk (Ephesus) - (Turkey) 508 km
31/7: Selcuk (Ephesus) - Bodrum 239 km
01/8: Bodrum - Pamukkale 359 km
02/8: Pamukkale - Beysehir 379 km
03/8: Beysehir - Goreme (Cappadocia) 349 km
04/8: Göreme 0 km
05/8: Göreme 0 km
06/8: Göreme - Tasuku 434 km
07/8: Tasuku - Nemrut 587 km
08/8: Nemrut - Tatvan 405 km
09/8: Tatvan - Dogubayazit 292 km
10/8: Dogubayazit - Kars 261 km
11/8: Kars - Gyumri (Armenia) 379 km
12/8: 0 km Gyumri
13/8: Gyumri - Yerevan 195 km
14/8: Yerevan 0 km
15/8: Yerevan - Sevan 285 km
16/8: Sevan - Tbilisi (Georgia) 225 km
17/8: 0 km Tbilisi
18/8: Tbilisi - Ushguli (Svaneti) 404 km
19/8: Ushguli 0 km
20/8: Ushguli - Kazbegi 593 km
21/8: Kazbegi - Krasnodar (Russia) 681 km
22/8: Krasnodar - Sudak (Crimea) 437 km
23/8: Sudak - Odessa 601 km
24/8: Odessa - Ternopil 645 km
25/8: Ternopil - Tarvisio (Italy) 1300 km
26/8: Tarvisio - Asti (home) 617 km
The description of the trip can be found on the website of Mauro Dagna: www.sempreinmoto.it / mauroblacksea.
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