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   Welcome to mad nomad’s adventurous website! This site is about travelling the way I’ve been dreaming of as a child! When I took the decision to make my dream come true, it seemed remote and totally unfamiliar to me. Finally, after two years of profound research and intense preparation, I hit the road!

   On the 14th of April 2007 I set off solo from Thessaloniki, Greece by my small motorcycle (Honda XR 250S), on a journey to four countries, for ten months’ time: Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. During my trip, however, there were many changes in my schedule, and, finally, I ended up returning to Greece after two years and two and a half months, having covered 73,000 km. (45,361 miles), after travelling to 14 Asian countries: Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh! That was my journey known as “greece2india“. You will find my trip reports from that time at: http://www.moto.gr/forums/showthread.php?t=38448

 

 

   On July 18th, 2013, we hit the road for an even longer journey! Africa and Middle East were calling us and we were eager to explore those lands! Why do I use the plural form? This time, Christina, the she-mad nomad, was travelling with me for 10 months. Therefore, we were riding two motorcycles of the same type (Honda XR 250), travelling according to my usual recipe: innumerous detours, in order to visit everything interesting, years on the road, to catch the scent of the local societies we visit, always guided by the love for People and Nature. Since August 2014, I kept traveling solo, as Christina decided to fly from Zambia back to Greece because of personal reasons. I finally completed this three-year adventure on June 29th, 2016 having covered 96,000 km (59,653 miles) in 39 countries. That was the expedition called “mad about Africa“! You can check out our route on Live Trip Traveller and you can enjoy our reports at the Trip diary section.

  

Alpha, July 10th, 2016

   Here you can watch a reportage about the completion of “mad about Africa”! It was broadcasted at the newscasts of Alpha on July 10th, 2016, 19:45.


 

Jordan: A biblical destination

   After exiting Egypt, I crossed the 15 km (9 miles) of coast that nowadays belong to Israel and I entered Jordan straight away. That was a full day of border crossings. I never crossed four borders in the same day. I was planning to go back to Israel anyway. Jordan was the only possible detour that I could make in Middle East. Stella Fotakaki, a Greek motorcyclist, was on my saddle and we would explore together Jordan with its amazing people!

Oops, somebody stole Baobabis! No, it's OK, that's Stella...

Oops, somebody stole Baobabis! No, it’s OK, that’s Stella…

   In Aqaba we already had our first great surprise from this nation. Spiro offered to host us through CouchSurfing but we couldn’t imagine what we would experience… We were absolutely surprised when we were welcomed by his family in Greek! We were trying to realize what was happening and then they started telling us their story…

Serving cold drinks on the street is really refreshing on a hot day...

Serving cold drinks on the street is really refreshing on a hot day…

   A big part of the people who live nowadays in Jordan are actually Palestinian refugees who were forced there when Israel started occupying Palestine in 1948. Jordan up to this day is very welcoming to refugees from its troubled neighbors. The parents of Spiro, like several other Palestinians that we met, studied in Greece. They travel to Palestine almost every year and they always dream to visit Greece again. They were born Greek Orthodox and we were very glad to be with them during the Greek Orthodox Easter and celebrate it all together. We went to their house as strangers and we left as family members. That’s how they made us feel…

Celebrating the Greek Orthodox Easter with Spiro's family!

Celebrating the Greek Orthodox Easter with Spiro’s family!

   Near Aqaba lies the desert of Wadi Rum. Riding on the sand two-up with lots of luggage was not easy but we quickly found an amazing place to wild camp, in front of Khazali Canyon! We left some of our luggage there and we went to explore the desert on Baobabis. The canyons and the natural bridges formed by rocks were impressive but the most mesmerising of all was the quiet night under the stars which were extending over the huge desert…

Exploring the desert of Wadi Rum on an enduro bike and wild camping in its canyons is an unforgettable experience!

Exploring the desert of Wadi Rum on an enduro bike and wild camping in its canyons is an unforgettable experience!

   We headed north through the King’s Highway. Actually, it’s not a highway but a picturesque countryside route. It used to be the road which connected the three ancient kingdoms of that region. It was travelled by caravans of traders, pilgrims and from invading armies as well. We ascended up to 1,600 m (5,249 ft) altitude, where the mountains were green and cool. Some interesting medieval castles lie there, including Shobak and Karak.

The ancient King's Highway passes though rolling pastureland, Roman ruins, Crusader castles and biblical sites. This is Shobak Castle, built in AD 1115 by the Crusader king Baldwin I.

The ancient King’s Highway passes though rolling pastureland, Roman ruins, Crusader castles and biblical sites. This is Shobak Castle, built in AD 1115 by the Crusader king Baldwin I.

   From the heights of Jordan, we descended to its lowest point, the lowest land on earth actually! The Dead Sea, which is a lake to make it clear, is located at about 408 m (1,339 ft) below sea level. It’s funny that you can stand on the part of the road which is at sea level and enjoy a panoramic view to the area which lies hundreds of meters lower! The heat there was intense… We found a secluded beach to cool ourselves down. The Dead Sea is the second-saltiest body of water on earth, with a salt content of 31%. Swimming there is funny… We were floating like never before! There are also many healthy minerals there which make the water look and feel oily. You really have to keep this water out of your eyes or any wounds. Otherwise, it will be quite painful!

The Dead Sea, located on the lowest land on earth, has a salinity of 31%, which makes you float like never before!

The Dead Sea, located on the lowest land on earth, has a salinity of 31%, which makes you float like never before!

   In Amman, Jordan’s capital, we had the pleasure to meet several members of the small motorcycling community. Jordan was a country were motorcycles were absolutely forbidden until about five years ago! Since they were allowed, motorcycle dealers spread in town like mushrooms after a fresh spring rain: Honda, Yamaha, KTM, BMW, Harley-Davidson, Indian and other brands… Stella borrowed a Yamaha TW200 and our new, local friends took us to the dirt tracks in the forest. It was a great riding day!

Stella borrowed a Yamaha TW200 and we went riding in the woods with some local motorcyclists!

Stella borrowed a Yamaha TW200 and we went riding in the woods with some local motorcyclists!

   We spent some days exploring the area around Amman. The picturesque old town of Salt became our favourite one in the region. Of course, we couldn’t miss Jerash, with one of the best-preserved Roman cities that exist up to this day. Madaba was interesting too, with its world-famous Byzantine-era mosaics. Stella had to fly back to Greece for a while, so I finished exploring Jordan by myself.

The Byzantine-era mosaics that were found in Madaba are world-famous. This one is inspired by Euripides' Greek tragedy

The Byzantine-era mosaics that were found in Madaba are world-famous. This one is inspired by Euripides’ Greek tragedy “Hippolytus”.

   It was time to head east and explore the desert. I was very close to Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia but unfortunately I couldn’t go anywhere, either due to war or due to Islamic fundamentalism… I visited some medieval castles, including Kharana and Azraq, which was used in 1917 by the legendary Lawrence of Arabia during the Arab Revolt against the Turks. The caravanserai, bathhouse and hunting lodge at Amra was what really astonished me… It is full of vivid 8th-century frescoes that depict wine and women, even naked! Imagine that Islam does not allow either the depiction of any live being or the consumption of alcohol. However, it seems that Emperor Walid I (AD 705 – 715) found a remote place to freely express himself and enjoy some nice time with his friends…

Islam forbids the depiction of any live being but the remote Amra Caravanserai is full of 8th-century frescoes that depict wine and women, even naked!

Islam forbids the depiction of any live being but the remote Amra Caravanserai is full of 8th-century frescoes that depict wine and women, even naked!

   I enjoyed some amazing, real off-road routes in the desert. The ground was usually rocky but I could go up and down the hills and make my own way, which is what I love most! After a few hours, I reached Tuba Castle. The building was not that impressive but I enjoyed it more than any other castle because of its remote location. There was nobody on the horizon. I decided to pitch my tent inside the castle’s courtyard. Thirteen centuries ago it was hosting camel-caravans which were trading frankincense. Now it only hosts occasionally some weird travelers who are still looking for adventure…

I enjoyed some amazing, real off-road routes in the desert!

I enjoyed some amazing, real off-road routes in the desert!

   I left for the end the world-famous ancient city of Petra, because I had some doubts about visiting it. That’s the most expensive to visit ancient site around the world that I have heard of. A day ticket for foreigners costs a hefty 65 euros! I was hosted by some Bedouins just next to the ancient Nabataean city. Nabataeans established themselves to the region and developed an advanced civilization, not because they had a strong army but because they knew how to manage the scarce water resources in the dry desert.

After a short hike from Little Petra through nice scenery, you get to the Monastery. It was built in the 3rd century BC as a Nabataean tomb and it's actually bigger than the famous Treasury!

After a short hike from Little Petra through nice scenery, you get to the Monastery. It was built in the 3rd century BC as a Nabataean tomb and it’s actually bigger than the famous Treasury!

   Walking through the deep canyon and suddenly staring at the grand façade of the Treasury is definitely an unforgettable moment! Equally impressive is admiring it from the top of the canyon. I spent four days hiking around the area and exploring the canyons, the hills, the numerous temples, the tombs and the caves where some Bedouins live up to this day. Petra is definitely an interesting destination but to be honest, I don’t think it is worth the price of such an expensive ticket, if you travel on a tight budget. After all, I have visited similar grand monuments in Egypt which are even more impressive and the ticket prices are quite reasonable.

Some caves in Petra are used for housing by Bedouins (and their goats!) since centuries ago and up to this day.

Some caves in Petra are used for housing by Bedouins (and their goats!) since centuries ago and up to this day.

   After almost a month and 2,000 km (1,243 miles) in the small but interesting country of Jordan, I ate my last kunafeh (tasty dessert with lots of cream cheese, pistachios and syrup!) and hit the road to Israel and Palestine. Jordan fascinated me mostly because of its hospitable people. It was a relaxing break between two countries which are hard to visit as an overlander: Egypt and Israel…

Eating my last kunafeh in Jordan with my little friend... I already miss it!

Eating my last kunafeh in Jordan with my little friend… I already miss it!

You can check out the map with more photos and reports at: Live Trip Traveller

 

ERT3, 102 FM, July 6th, 2016

   Here is my live interview through telephone from Greece about the completion of “mad about Africa”. It was live on July 6th, 2016, 10:30 on ERT3, 102 FM at the broadcast of Katerina Renieri. It is in Greek.

 

      102FM

 

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