The “Superfast” sails behind schedule from Igoumenitsa to Ancona. On board its cargo of passengers, cars, caravans and trailer trucks. Two motorbikes only: Michalis’s Ktm heading to Portugal from Cefalonia, and my Honda returning to Italy after nearly 12000 Km through the Balkans, a diagonal crossing of Turkey started in Istanbul through the Kurdish south-east, Teheran and the Iranian Kurdistan. Then the long way home.
In few hours I will be back in Italy, difficult to state how I feel. Disheartenment prevails at the view of the general indifference which I am no longer used to. Nobody wants to talk to a stranger, nobody smiles to anyone other than their own travel partners. All except the other solo travellers: Michalis and beautiful Heike from Munich.
We are already queuing to get down to our vehicles. The sky is loaded with rain and the crisp light filters from the pitch-black clouds.
I savour the joy to see my country again.
In my eyes the view lingers of the yellow mountains of the Iranian Kurdistan, streaked with green left by the rivers passage. In my heart, only the people.
Doubts on departure day.
I set off from San Gillio near Turin on July the 26th, at midday.
The first few kilometres are uncertain. My new boots seem too big and I struggle to lift up the gears. Inside the helmet I still breath that distinctive smell of new cars, when you sit in one for the first time.
The motorbike is also new, an Africa Twin I have been longing for and it has only two thousand kilometers on.
Suddenly everything seems so absurd to me: I think of all the time I invested in preparing for this journey, of the personal stuff I had to sacrifice, the distance between me and Teheran, the risks I will inevitably face.
Will it be worth it?
What is it that urges me, at 42, to leave by motorbike riding to Iran, crossing a troubled Turkey, ten days after a failed coup that I watched with apprehension live on tv? Along with existential questions, I have to answer logistical issues, too.
I am travelling without GPS (I don’t even have all the maps), by a new vehicle I don’t know well enough nor does any mechanic, and for which spares are hard to find.
An expensive motorbike, of a red so vivid to deserve the nickname of “la focosa”(the fiery).
An object of desire able to attract attention even in the rich center of Milan.
As usual the journey soon restores the balance and superfluous thoughts are abandoned along the way just like useless things that become a burden.
The bike is flying and humming towards Trieste, light like a dragonfly.