Austria Hungary border near Sopron - where freewheeling trips across Europe used to stop
20 years ago it was very different as a commemorative display makes clear...
It was the Hungarian opening of their border that precipitated change across Europe...
...and among other things made this trip possible
Here's Sopron's fire tower
Danube at sunset, near where it turns south, the so-called 'Danube Bend'
A Danube cruiser from the jetty at Dömös
Visegrád is the former palace of Hungarian kings
Herb garden, Visegrád
One of the amazing tiled stoves, Visegrád
The Lion Fountain, Visegrád
The Hercules Fountain, Visegrád
The Danube and Nagymaros from Visegrád citadel
Danube crossing to Vác - we kept meeting and crossing the Danube throughout the trip
Next stop the city of Eger...
with a hill top castle...
and solitary minaret left from the Turkish occupation of the town.
The castle encloses the original Bishop's Palace, now a museum
The castle walls, withstood a seige by a Turkish army in 1552...
commemorated in several ways, especially noting the role of the townswomen who hurled soup...
Minorite church, Eger
Another border - this time Hungary-Romania
Satu Mare, catholic cathedral, and entry to the Maramureş (JC)
The Maramureş is famous for its wooden churches - here at Şurdeşti - for a while the world's tallest wooden structure
Şurdeşti church spire
Graveyard and field, Şurdeşti
Entrance to church grounds Şurdeşti - similar carved gates are used for houses
Nearby church of Budeşti
Budeşti church door
Grave marker, Budeşti
Church construction uses very large wooden blocks...
and I wouldn't fancy using that ladder
Bârsana monastery, in the rain
Bârsana church - overtops the one at Şurdeşti, built in 1993
Haymaking on Pasul Şetref
A wooden church we came across on the way to Sighişoara
The medieval citadel of Sighişoara - clock tower...
ramparts and attractive old buildings.
You can climb the clock tower...
and around the parapet are some distance markers, so we can check on our progress...
so we're about two thirds of the way there.
More of Sighişoara's streets
The lower town
Alleged birthplace of Vlad Dracul - rough translation “In this house lived between 1431 and 1435 the lord of the Romanian lands Vlad Dracul, son of Marcea the Elder”
The Scholars' Stairs between sections of the citadel
More Sighişoara street scene: the roads were being resurfaced
Gateway and clock tower, Sighişoara
Fortified church at Biertan
This also has a covered staircase
Biertan was orginally a Saxon settlement
The war memorial in Biertan's church makes clear the original inhabitants were German
Discarded clock face, Biertan
Another fortified church at Moşna
If it was this difficult to get to Sarmizegetusa in the time of the Dacians no wonder the Romans had a hard time conquering it
Sarmizegetusa was the Dacian capital until 106AD, though there's not much there now
But evidence of some sophistication in construction remains
No-one seems to know what this circular monument was for
The walls remind me of similar structures built by the Mayans in Central America
We had to walk the last kilometre to Sarmizegetusa, as it was impassable except by serious off road vehicles...
while this is supposed to be a B road passable by all - miles of roadworks made it “interesting”...
and included blockages caused by forestry operations.
The high road to Şugag
Definitely the most miserable day - crossing the Danube at Bechet (Ro) to Oryahovo (Bg) in the pouring rain... (JC)
in a ferry with no shelter...
wedged against a cattle truck.
Plovdiv has a lot of history: Thracian, Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and Bulgarian
Street sign, Plovdiv
Remains of the Roman amphitheatre, in a pit in the middle of a shopping street
Roman theatre, Plovdiv
Friday Mosque, possibly from fourteenth century
Sahat Tepe's clock tower, restored under the Ottomans in 1809
Plovdiv has many beautiful National Revival wooden mansions
Decorated church of Saints Konstantin and Elena
Georgiadi House, now the History Museum
National Revival houses and city walls
Roman remains and newer buildings
Hisar Kapiya, the gate which has existed at least since Philip of Macedon
Kuyumdzhioglu House, now the Ethnographic Museum
The wonderful Hindlian house - no photos inside, unfortunately
Storage building at Hindlian, with an image of the Hindlian House over the courtyard
Reached the Bosphorus at last
View across to the historic centre of Istanbul
Lots of ships on the Bosphorus
Sultan Ahmet mosque, also known as the Blue Mosque
Sultan Ahmet at night
Interior of Sultan Ahmet
Sultan Ahmet entrance
Hippodrome, with obelisk from Karnak, minaret from Sultan Ahmet
Yerebatan cistern - built by emperor Justinian in the early 500's
Haghia Sophia at night
Vast interior of Haghia Sophia, consecrated in 537 in the reign of emperor Justinian
Upper gallery, Haghia Sophia
Some of the original mosaics uncovered in Haghia Sophia
Domes of Haghia Sophia and Sultan Ahmet from an upper window (JC)
The scaffolding used for restoring the dome is almost as impressive as the dome, Haghia Sophia
East end of Haghia Sophia...
with Mihrab added after the Ottoman conquest
Entrance mosaics at Haghia Sophia
When you are tired of culture, you could try shopping in the Egyptian bazaar
Otherwise you can eat on the Galata Bridge...
or take a ferry across to Asia. Behind is the “New” Mosque, completed 1663
A view from the Galata Tower - Asia, the Bosphorus and the Golden Horn
Golden Horn, Galata Bridge and the historic quarter from the Galata Tower
Galata Tower at sunset
Where the bike was parked during our stay - used as a seat by the local cats
Abıyık Street, outside our hotel
Fountain outside Topkapı palace gate
Main gate of Topkapı palace
Gate of Felicity, between second and third court
Second court, just outside the Divan
Entrance to the Divan...
where the affairs of state were conducted...
The Sultan could listen incognito from behind the grille
Third Court, Topkapı...
includes the Library of Ahmet III
Interior of library
Also in the Third Court is the Audience Chamber
Fountain at the entrance to the Audience Chamber
Kiosk of Kara Mustafa Pasha in the furthest part of the palace
Interior of the kiosk with rich decoration
There is a good view from the terrace of the Suleimaniya Mosque
Golden roofed pavilion, apparently used for the Sultan to take breakfast
Topkapı is decorated with all kinds of tiles
A corner of the Baghdad kiosk
The entrance to the harem, Topkapı,
which is like a palace within the palace...
and has the richest tiling of all.
It also has a state of the art bathroom
Princes' pavilion, Harem, Topkapı
Bosphorus Bridge and walls of Topkapı
Haydarpaşa Station in Asia - from where you can take a train to Tehran
Looking back at Europe from Kadıköy on the Asian shore
We had to wait for the overnight ferry to Brindisi...
so we spent a bit of time on the beach here at Igoumenitsa
Dawn on the Ionian Sky, in the Adriatic
Brindisi harbour entrance
Pilot boat coming to direct us
Thank goodness we got out of that hell hole of a hold (lorry fumes and about 40C)
Crossing the Alps at the head of the Val d'Aosta
The Petit San Bernard pass
Last morning, campsite in Beaufort (JC)