12/11/2013 – 160 days/15248 miles

I just made it to India, but am waiting on my bike. I’m having some serious motorcycle withdrawals and have almost considered renting one of these…
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Other than that, I’m photoless, but here’s the story of how my shipping experience went out of Turkey…

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12/03/2013 – 152 days/15241 miles

The original Galata Tower, built in 528, was used as a lighthouse and as the northern end of the “great chain”, which was stretched across the golden horn to prevent enemy ships from passing. It was destroyed in 1203, during the 4th Crusade. In 1348, the tower was rebuilt at a slightly different site (this is what still stands today) and called the Christea Turris, or Tower of Christ, but today is referred to the Galata Tower.
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11/28/2013 – 147 days/15224 miles

Not surprisingly, Istanbul makes me feel further from home than anywhere I’ve been yet…both geographically and culturally.
After five days here, I don’t have much desire to move on. I think this is due to the fact that there’s a seemingly infinite amount of things to see here, and I met a lovely girl that’s showing me around to all the best spots.
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11/22/2013 – 141 days/14957 miles

The last few days have been filled with some pleasant surprises. First, I’ll go back to Skopje (and earlier). While I was riding the Adriatic coast in Croatia, I passed two people on a tandem bike with a French flag on the back. A few weeks later, shortly after getting off the Lake Koman ferry in Albania, I passed a tandem bike in the mountains (I felt a little bad as I simply laid on the throttle and cruised up such a steep road, while they were in the middle of what I’m sure felt like an endless climb) with a French Flag…was that the same bike?! When I got into Skopje, there was a French couple at my hostel…turns out they were riding to Istanbul on a tandem…and we discussed our routes…it was definitely them that I’d seen twice before. How crazy?! And speaking of crazy, the two of them got married in September, and their honeymoon is a year long trip on a tandem across Europe, SE Asia, and South America. I guess they’ll at least know by the end of it whether or not marriage was the right decision.
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11/19/2013 – 138 days/14453 miles

Next stop was Lake Ohrid, on the border of Albania and Macedonia. I stayed on the Macedonian side, at one of my favorite spots yet. A little hostel run by the most hospitable couple I’ve ever met. They made their own wine and rakija, and handed it out very freely.
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11/15/2013 – 134 days/14082 miles

After two days in Albania, I consider myself a total expert, and I’m a bit torn between the two extremes of the place. The views of the mountains, and the riding in them was great…from 2nd gear on dirt and loose gravel, to 3rd gear on twisty paved roads with very unpredictable and frequent changes in quality (just to keep things exciting), to 6th gear, wide open, 100+mph riding on an empty highway without so much as a crack in the pavement. Every mile was astounding…and I even had a 3 hour ferry ride on a beautiful lake in the mountains.
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