29 July 2008: Samarkand – Tashkent

Because of the Routes of the Olive Tree’s bus breakdown of the air conditioning, the bus got stuck in Samarkand till late in the afternoon in order to be fixed. Meanwhile, the riders peacefully drew up to the capital city of the country, Tashkent, where we stopped for a couple of days.

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28 July 2008: Samarkand

Another resting day in another outstanding city : Samarkand and its monuments that become more and more beautiful as we go further in the city. We discovered places full of history and Uzbeks wanting more than ever to meet new foreigners.

By the end of the day, half of the city knew about the presence of the riders and comments about our trip were transmited from one monument to another.

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27 July 2008: Bukhara – Samarkand

The riders of the Routes of the Olive Tree left late in the afternoon, in order to have a nice walk in the city of Bukhara, one of the most famous city of the Silk Road, after Samarkand.

Riders and participants scattered in the city and crossed each other again and again, through various and colourful bazars, spectacular monuments that give evidence to the glorious past of this commercial road’s stopover. We met and shared a lot with the very warm and welcoming local population.

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26 July 2008: Mary – Bukhara

Last day of our itinerary in Turkmenistan, passing the border from Turkmenistan to Uzbekistan has been the most outstanding moment in this day. An intermediate point, serrated… from one roadblock to another one, having the persistant heat as a bonus; kind of natural endless sauna!

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25 July 2008: Ashgabat – Mary

In order to avoid the heat of the preivous day, we decided to leave Ashgabat (almost!) early in the morning, to arrive in Mary in the afternoon. This time, only few kilometers were separating the two stopovers.

Those who wanted to, have then visited the antique site of Merv, famous ancient florishing Silk Road city. An unlikely visit by night!

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Our thoughts go straight to Mikhalis Kalogeropoulos, on this 25th July. This morning was the burial ceremony in Athens, in the presence of his relatives and friends. The riders that have bravely decided to stop in their trip in order to follow their friend in his last trip and join the Routes of the olive tree Foundation’s members, have gathered their thoughts and transmitted their grief and messages to those who kept on riding the road he had designed.


24 July 2008: Turkmenbashi – Ashgabat

Untill the boat made its sea landing, we were still ignoring  everything about the night we were about to pass! The night in a hotel has quickly been transformed into a freestyle camping at the border, following the rythm of the endless administrative measures. We settled in the open-air, under the floodlights, a few meters away from the train’s tracks and Turkmenbashi harbour, the night has been really short!

Very early in the morning, we took the road towards Ashgabat,the capital city of the country, crossing the Karakoum desert, spectacular because of its hugeness and the dominating heat. As a break between two sessions in the desert : a traditional meal and a nap! During our trip in the country, we’ve been escorted by the local police and Angela, a great and very dynamic guide.

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23 July 2008: Baku – Turkmenbashi

We embarked for a cruise of nearly 24 hours on the Caspian Sea. The Mercure, a sovietic style boat, rustic and picturesque, has thrown everbody in a total old fashioned atmosphere, far away from our traditionnal two wheels vehicules! Everyone’s motions with the numerous  breaks in the restaurant have quickly transformed the boat in a sociable and friendly place, which enabled everyone to better get to know each other.

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22 July 2008: Baku

This first break in our itinerary has enabled some to rest a little and some others to visit the capital city of Azerbaidjan.This day has been dedicated to the Routes of the olive tree and the motorcycle. An olive tree has been planted by the Azerbaidjan Minister of Tourism and Sports and the Routes of the olive tree’s executive chief, George Karabatos, who is also the president of the Messinian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Motorcycling club of Baku, that had taken part in the ceremony, has then invited the Routes of the olive tree riders to a huge parade, organised in the streets of the city.

We left the city center in the evening to go towards the harbour. We got on a ferry that took us to Turkmenistan. The departure’s atmosphere was really friendly, a lot of azeris and turkmens were really amused and surprised about seeing so many riders and foreigners that were about to embark with them! They knew that thanks to us, the boat would get in Turkmenbashi harbour without being blocked for two or three days, as it is usually.

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21 July 2008: Tbilisi – Baku

A week has already passed since we left Pylos…

A new day has started towards a new country : Azerbaidjan.The previous night, the greek embassy in Georgia had warmly welcomed us (on the Europe Square where we then settled the tent), in order to wish us a nice journey and a lot of luck for the rest of the trip.This way, we got the chance to rest a little and measure what had just happened and talk with our georgian friends.

The road to Baku has been a bit dangerous! The time we pass the border and the diastrous roads have constrained to riders to ride till late in the night before joining the capital city, where, unfortunatly one of the two hotels that had been offered to our group was very far from our expectations. ! Sleeping and eating have become a new challenge in this trip!

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