The Final Stretch Home

The end of the typical ferry ordeal in the life of a motorcyclist who wants to travel, and lives on the edge of Europe, navigating through life with limited control over time. Time is certainly the most precious asset of a human being; no amount of money can buy it.

Table of Contents

Welcome back, 2wheeler ladies and gents! Today, we are in for the final entry in our motorcycle diary. At least for this ride, and for the time being.

After many days of thrilling adventures, amazing landscapes, and the occasional ferry ordeal, we’ve reached the conclusion of this journey. This last chapter covers the final leg from Barcelona to home, marking the end of an unforgettable ride to Turkey.

This amazing ride spanned across Europe into Asia and allowed us to explore some of what the countries we crossed have to offer. I’ve got to say that I didn’t come out disappointed.

In the end, I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of this motorcycle adventure. The partnership between myself and my yellow stallion worked as a charm, with no mechanical failures or problems of any kind.

In addition to discovering places that left me in awe, I got to meet wonderful people along the way, to once again experience that going on a solo motorcycle travel doesn’t mean loneliness. Come to think of it, the mindset you bring along is the major catalytic aspect of solo riding. When you bring along the right mindset, it all just seems to work out in the end.

Last Day of the Journey

The end of the typical ferry ordeal in the life of a motorcyclist who wants to travel, and lives on the edge of Europe, navigating through life with limited control over time. Time is certainly the most precious asset of a human being; no amount of money can buy it.

You don’t need clairvoyant abilities to predict that day 21 would be predominantly spent aboard the Grimaldi Lines ferry, echoing the pattern of the second day of the journey, albeit in the opposite direction.

I arrived in Barcelona at 10 PM on Saturday, during the MotoGP weekend in Catalonia. It almost seemed like a sign not to miss the Sunday race! Calm down, my wife is a saint but she’s not foolish, and even her patience has limits. It was indeed a day to head home.

The plan was to arrive Sunday night. I had thought about doing some kilometers to get out of Barcelona and sleeping somewhere along the way when I felt tired.

Meanwhile, Tom, with whom I had spoken a lot during the hours we waited to board, told me he was planning to do the same or maybe drive straight through.

We were going to enter different borders, but we had a good part of the journey together.

And so it went. For the first time since I left home, I had a road companion. I confess that hour was quite pleasant as we rode through the night and, before I knew it, we were in Madrid.

There, Tom continued towards Salamanca and I kept on towards Toledo and Badajoz until sleep forced me to stop… (remember my plan? It resurrected)

This theory is always very nice until you reach the “just now” phase, which in my case happened around 300/350 km from home. That’s when I really started to feel very sleepy and simultaneously close enough to home to also feel the desire to fight the sleepiness and to push through. I’m sure you can clearly see the conundrum, but I sure did not.

I confess I stopped at three service areas in a row, during that early morning phase when the sun begins to rise. But fortunately, after the sun came up and helped out, I felt better and continued the journey home.

I arrived at 8:30 AM with the hour gained at the border, making that surprise which earned me some extra points in family management for the next trip. And so, the planning for the future begins. Surprise 1 – check. Let’s go, 2025 is coming, and I need to work on the family credits for that trip.

Reflecting on the Journey

As this adventure comes to a close, it’s a perfect time to look back on the incredible journey we’ve shared. From the early days of setting off with anticipation and excitement, to the breathtaking landscapes of Turkey and Albania, and the challenging yet rewarding rides through Italy, every moment has been unforgettable.

Highlights and Memorable Moments

  • First Days on the Road: The thrill of the open road as we set off, the excitement of exploring new places, and the joy of the journey ahead. Despite being far from our final destination, the momentum continued to build, fueled by the exhilaration of riding and the serendipitous encounters with fellow travelers along the way.
  • Turkey’s Landscapes: It’s a challenge to find the right words to capture the essence of this remarkable country. From its breathtaking scenery to the warmth of its people and the depth of its history, every moment and every mile spent transversing its landscapes was worth it. How do I even begin to highlight its wonders when every corner reveals something extraordinary? As I’ve said before, if given the chance, I would return to Turkey in a heartbeat.
  • Albania’s Hidden Gems: Discovering secluded beaches, scenic routes, and experiencing the warm hospitality of the people. From the moment I crossed its borders, Albania greeted me with open arms and a wealth of hidden treasures waiting to be discovered. Its coastline, adorned with secluded beaches kissed by the turquoise waters of the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, offered moments of awe-inspiring beauty on the way to Turkey. As I rode back, choosing a more inland route, winding through rugged mountains and verdant valleys, each twist and turn revealed a new scenery more breathtaking than the last.
  • Greece’s Marvels: Within its trove of treasures, two experiences emerge as unforgettable highlights: first, the exploration of the mystical monasteries of Meteora, delicately balanced atop towering rock formations, and second, camping along the idyllic beachfront of Alexandroupolis.
  • Italy’s Diverse Beauty: The contrast between the vibrant, chaotic south and the serene, picturesque north, each offering its own unique charm.
  • The People: Let’s talk about the heart and soul of our journey, the incredible individuals we encountered along the way, especially in Turkey and Albania. Each encounter left me with a lasting impression, reminding me of the kindness and generosity that transcends borders. Truly, it’s the people we meet along the way that make the journey unforgettable.

Picture This Moment from the Trip.

In Göreme, at sunrise, the sky transforms into a canvas of breathtaking hues as the darkness of night gradually yields to the soft, warm glow of dawn. The horizon blushes with shades of pink, orange, and gold, casting a magical light over the unique rock formations of Cappadocia. It’s a scene of serene beauty and quiet wonder.

As the first rays of sunlight gently caress the landscape, dozens of colorful hot air balloons begin to rise into the sky. Each balloon, vibrant and buoyant, floats gracefully on the morning breeze, adding a sense of enchantment to the already stunning scenery. The balloons drift silently, their reflections shimmering in the morning light, creating an almost surreal, dreamlike atmosphere.

Now, imagine that each single one of these balloons represents an opportunity for a motorcycle travel adventure. Just as the balloons ascend into the sky, filled with the promise of discovery and exploration, so too do the opportunities for your next journey. Each balloon embodies a new destination, a new culture to immerse yourself in, new roads to traverse, and new people to meet.

The variety of colors mirrors the diversity of experiences awaiting you. One balloon might symbolize the rugged mountain trails of the Alps, offering challenging rides and breathtaking vistas. Another could represent the coastal routes of the Atlantic, where the road hugs the shoreline, providing stunning ocean views and the scent of the sea breeze. Yet another could signify the exhilarating journey of traversing an entire country from top to bottom or tracing its borders on the map, each mile unfolding new landscapes and adventures.

Some balloons might take you to bustling cities, rich with history and vibrant with life, where every corner turned reveals a new story, a hidden café, or an ancient monument. Others could drift over the tranquil countryside, where the journey itself becomes a meditative experience, and the simple joy of riding through quiet, scenic landscapes brings a deep sense of peace and connection with nature.

As you watch the balloons rise higher, imagine the sense of freedom and exhilaration that comes with each motorcycle adventure. The open road ahead, the wind, the smells, the hum of the engine beneath you, and the thrill of the unknown path all combine to create an unparalleled sense of liberation.

Every balloon, like every journey, is filled with potential—potential for new friendships, unforgettable memories, and stories that you will cherish for a lifetime. They remind you that adventure is always within reach, waiting for you to take the leap, just as these balloons rise effortlessly into the morning sky.

So, as you stand there in Göreme, taking in the awe-inspiring sight of the sunrise and the colorful balloons dotting the sky, let your imagination soar. Envision your next adventure, the places you’ll go, the roads you’ll ride, and the endless opportunities that await. Just like those balloons, your next great motorcycle travel adventure is out there, ready to lift you to new heights and take you on a journey of a lifetime.

Lessons Learned

As with all rides, there were some lessons to be learned along the way. Some that I already knew and just needed to be reminded of, and others that were completely new to me.

  • Embrace the Unexpected: The journey is always full of surprises, from unexpected detours to spontaneous encounters that enrich the experience.
  • The Value of Rest: Taking time to relax and recharge is essential, especially during long trips.
  • Stay Connected: Keep your family and friends updated. It’s good for everyone.
  • Appreciate the Moment: Every day on the road is a gift, filled with opportunities to explore, learn, and grow.

Final Thoughts

This trip has been more than just a series of destinations; it’s been a journey of personal growth, discovery, and unforgettable experiences. As I plan for future adventures, I carry with me the lessons learned, the memories made, and the excitement for the road ahead.

Revisit the Journey

If you’d like to revisit each entry of the Ride to Turkey motorcycle diaries, you’ll find a detailed chronicle of the journey. From the initial thrill of setting off on the open road, through the breathtaking landscapes of Turkey, the hidden gems of Albania, and the diverse beauty of Italy, each post captures the essence of the adventure. Dive back into the excitement, challenges, and memorable moments that made this journey unforgettable.

Thank you all for your company on this journey. Until next time, ride safe and keep exploring!

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