Bike Trip

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    • #426639
      chris pook

      It has taken 2 weeks to ride the 3,000 miles from my home in the UK to see my friends in Iraq. A great ride through UK, Holland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Turkey.  I have stayed in some great places, and met lots of people.

      I stayed in Nuremberg, and drank in a beer cellar.  Stood between Buda and Pest.  Failed to ‘not mention the war’ in Belgrade.  Spent a night with a bunch of ex Britmil guys training on the ranges in Plovdiv for my line of work.  By a massive quirk of fate bumped into Dubai friends in Istanbul, flashed through Ankara and visited 2 of the 3 Irish bars in Adana.  Ankara to Adana is a beautiful trip.

      Had a luxury night in the worlds cheapest Hilton in Gazantiep, was pulled for speeding by the worlds friendliest policemen (now connected on Insta)

      and had a cracking night out in Mardin, a truly ancient town on the edge of the Babylonian plains.

      I skirted around Syria, following the border for miles,


      and endured an emotional three hours going from window to window obtaining stamps and papers to leave Turkey and enter Iraq.

      Border crossing, Turkey / Iraqi Kurdistan.

      I finally arrived in Dohuk on Sunday night, and met up with my friends here.

      I’m going up to the Kane refugee camp this morning to visit the girls I support there, then heading to Erbil this afternoon to visit my friends there.  It’s been a great trip.

      There is a photo journal here if anyone has an interest;

    • #426650
      Rob Wood (Admin)

      Love it Chris. Been following your updates on Facebook too. You should copy and paste that border crossing post – it was hillarious.

      • #426665
        chris pook

        Hahahah…. aaaaah. Ugh!!

    • #426655
      Collin Hampton

      Nice Chris

    • #426680

      Looks like a fantastic trip!  I love the picture in your photo journal of you between all the trucks.

    • #426682

      Looks like a great road trip you had , thanks for sharing your ride with us Chris.

    • #426726
      chris pook

      How to cross the border;

      Filter past a mile of lorries.

      Turkish CP1. Asked for passenger list. ‘Err, as you can see, it is just me’. Receive paper to complete with passenger details. Be given instructions to go pay speeding fine.

      Turkish CP2. Pull up, be swamped by youths. Take Selfie. Dismount bike removing all detachable items. Joint line of people. See Officer, present passport and vehicle docs. Receive docket. Shoo away youths sitting on bike. Remount bike and wait for the people who have parked in your way to get their papers, and move off.

      Window 1: Go to Police Office. Dismount, wait at open window. Wait some more. And a bit more. Go into police station. Find policemen chatting. Helpfully escorted to the Window was at before. ‘But there is no one there!’. ‘Is open’. ‘But there is no one there!’. ‘Is open’. Policeman departs. Ponder writing Python script. As in Monty. Wait some more. Helpful cleaner arrives. Escorts 100m on foot to another console.

      Window 2: Helpful operator says ‘Ah, American! Only 150 TL, go, don’t worry’. Walk back to bike. Sign language to cleaner ‘Just go’. ‘No, wait, I get!!’. Wait back at window 1. Clark arrives. Takes money. Gives paper. Remount bike, move forward to next station.

      Window 3: Customs, maybe. Give paper from window 2 to Window 3. Much clacking of keyboard. Given paper. Remount bike, go to next CP.

      Turkish CP3: Dismount bike. Wait for lorry to clear CP. (Kiosks all at lorry height.). Present papers. Be presented with water, apples, oranges. Find place to stash in bike. Remount bike. Wait for the lorry that is now at the CP to do his papers. Pass through CP.

      Turkish CP4: Lady, maybe from traffic, takes papers, Driving Licence, passport. More data entry. Come checks out bike VRN. Waived through.

      Exit Turkey: Arrive Iraq.

      Iraq CP1: Cursory passport check. Welcome to Iraq! Drive to immigration, dismount.

      Iraq Immigration: Line 1. Asayish check. 5 minutes. Receive card to confirm Asayish check complete, go to line 2. Wait… Present passport, be photographed, electronic thumb print, receive visa. Visa good for 28 days, just about long enough to clear immigration. V friendly though. Had tea.

      Iraq Baggage Check; dismount, take vehicle details, check documents, given a docket. Remount bike, move off bypassing trucks to ‘The Salon’.

      The Salon: Check papers presented so far, check bike, check vehicle documents. Given ticket to pay import duty. Take ticket to…

      Import Duty window: Wait in line, pay import duty, given docket. Told to go to another office…

      Next office window; present proof of payment of import duty. Asked for vehicle docs. Walk 100m back to bike for docs. Present docs. Asked for phone number of my contact in Iraq. Walk 100m back to bike for phone. Get ticket.

      Take ticket back to The Salon. The Salon (super friendly) present more water. Give final ticket, ‘You can go, give this to the final checkpoint on exit’.

      Final Checkpoint; Present Salon Ticket. ‘No Good, where is your …. (unpronounceable). Waving arms. Shouting. Asked for sample, took photo. Returned to Salon with photo of paper required by Final Checkpoint. Salon say Hey is wrong, you don’t need this.

      Start to wonder if Tom Hanks will play me in the movie, if I never leave Iraq Border Control Zone. Salon phone Final Check Point. ‘Go, is good!’

      Final Checkpoint; Boss comes over (obviously having taken call) and tells CP Man to accept my papers. Then asks for my manifest. It was This point that I could have flashed. ‘Manifest? what manifest, it’s just me!’

      ‘Ok, you can go’.

      And that’s all it took. simples really.

      It was 2pm when I was cutting through the lines of lorries approaching the first part of the Turkish side, and 4.30 before I cleared out on the Iraq side.

      Oh, and all the water I was given burst in my tank bag. Just awesome. lol.












      • #426761
        Erik Fransman

        Hi Chris, the Turkish border story is sad (funny to read) and useful. Useful?
        Yes, so we can get used to it how things will go between the UK and Europe after the Brexit.
        For the rest, great pics and I salute you that you took your Fuji GFX-50 and lenses with you on this trip.

    • #426780
      Federico Alegria

      Amazing reading! Thanks for sharing all this with us Chris!

    • #426962
      chris pook

      Thanks Erik.  I went days without using them, but when I did, I was glad to have them.  And on Brexit… with you!

    • #426963
      chris pook

      Thanks Federico, it’s been fun!

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