As fate would have it, I ended up getting a Ducati Red MultiStrada. For any motorcycle freak on this planet, there is no color called RED, it is always Ducati Red.
I arrived by flight from Dubai to Istanbul yesterday flying over the forbidden land of Iran. I was sad and happy at the same time. Sad because I couldn’t do Iran, happy because the Mission would continue after all.
The view from my hotel room in the day and night:
I learn my first Turkish word yesterday when I used Google Translate to learn what does a receipt is called in Turkish. ‘Makbuz’ it showed me as a literal translation (but later I came to know that more accurate in asking for receipts from Taxi drivers and restaurants is fiş. Hence Makbuz became my favorite word in Turkey.
My first Turkish ‘Taksi’ driver:
A day was spent updating blogs, rewiring route and tasting Turkish tea (which is without milk) and eating Turkish Meals.
Next day, 25th May to be exact, I went over to the Ducati Istanbul showroom in a ‘Taksi’. Istanbul, and Turkey people in general are known for their over enthusiastic driving. It is not as wild as India, but certainly not as mannered as elsewhere in Europe. However, you still ride on the right and you just hav eto keep an eye for that off enthusiastic guy. Speeds are generally 20% over the recommended limit. As I entered the Istanbul area I could feel a sudden increase in traffic density. From there on and during my entire ride in the city it was stop and go traffic, quite bad indeed, but very few were honking or splitting lanes.
However, the city itself is beautiful and amazing. It is a transcontinental city, which means a part of it actually falls in Asia and the other in Europe!
Ducati Istanbul was located on a busy street besides a nice café. The weather was chilly and cloudy. I could see the unmistakably red Ducati strip and insignia on the showroom as I approached it in the ‘Taksi’. The owner, Koray, was very nice and immediately offered me a Turkish Tea, to which I requested to be converted into a regular ‘Indian tea’ or chai, as even they call it! So with milk it was. I would take a while to develop my taste for the Turkish variety of tea.
Me waiting for the paperwork in Ducati Istanbul:
Thats Koray, me and Koray’s father:
Koray and the staff then pointed me towards the Ducati red MultiStrada with the side panniers and the top case. It was looking beautiful. A red bike for the Red Planet. Awesome!
I explored the showroom for a while, as Koray got some paperwork done. I again got lost in the sea of Ducati accessories and bikes. And there it was, another Panigale, a red one this time. Beautiful it was.
Then it started to rain. The bikes outside the showroom looked more beautiful as the rain drops bounced off them, somehow the colors are always more vibrant post rains. And it got even more chilly. While I waited for the rain to turn into a drizzle, at the least, so that I could head out, Koray explained me some route suggestions with his father, another true Turkish gentleman that I met.
They were very helpful and polite in nature and they set me with goodbyes as I clocked my first kilometer in Turkey towards the Red Planet (Misano, Italy). But somehow I decided to do a couple of important monuments before going back to the hotel, which was in the outskirts of the city. It was not a good choice. It was drizzling, the traffic was stop and go throughout, and even one kilometer used to take forever. However, the Aya Sofia Mosque was a sight to behold. The Istanbul streets looked stunning after rains. However since it was quite late in the evening and it was drizzling I could not visit most of the sights, nor I could take out my camera as often as I would have liked.
All in all, it was quite a day and I was elated to have a MultiStrada beneath be once more. There was a mission to complete though…
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