1

Panini Tour: Postcard from Samarkand

The exciting world tour of Barbara Kenedi and partner Peter with their two 1190 KTM Adventure Rs continues. Here’s what they sent us from Samarkand in Uzbekistan

 

Two months have passed since the start of our world travel adventure. Meanwhile, we’ve accumulated about 17,500km with our two 1190 Adventure Rs. We renewed tyres in Baku, Azerbaijan at the new KTM importer and also made an oil change. Our bikes have been running absolutely problem free and digesting some of the worst roads, tracks and poor fuel quality without a hitch! If you ask us, KTM has developed a real world trip motorcycle!

In Turkey we went all the way to the East of Kurdistan to the Van Lake with a magnificent view of the volcano Mount Ararat. After reaching Georgia, we experienced a very diverse country with different climates: subtropical Black Sea coast, dry semi-desert and snowy Carpathian Mountains. We traversed a veritable off-road paradise that can only be recommended (see also: www.ktm-georgia.com). Delicious food and passing through a private wine-growing region (Kakheti) make travelling all the more enjoyable. A very impressive outing took us to the Russian border to the foot of the Kazbegh summit, which reaches 5000m up to the sky.

After a trip to Armenia (Yerevan) we crossed Azerbaijan; from the green foothills of the Caucasus Mountains to the desert-like coast of the Caspian Sea, which is dotted with oil drilling rigs. Baku is a curious metropolis that proudly offers its oil wealth with light and laser shows on brand new high-rise buildings.

 

Somewhat unexpectedly Iran presented itself with green rice fields and tea plantations, as well as extremely friendly and communicative residents who seem to be true motorcycle fans. Everywhere we went we were always received with a warm welcome and the same goes when we arrived at the KTM importer Kavirmoto. The largest Iranian daily newspaper even ran an article about us, the bikes and the world tour.

At the capital, Teheran, we discovered a modern, constantly-on-the-limit mega-city with moderate traffic. The city of Isfahan in central Iran turned out to be more conservative with beautiful mosques and palaces richly equipped as tourist attractions. Across the extremely hot Kavir desert and a wonderful mountain pass we continued then to Turkmenistan and Ashgabat.

Our goal there was the impressive spectacle of the Darwaza gas crater in the middle of the Karakum desert. From an explosion crater 70 meters in diameter natural gas has burning-off for over 20 years. A phenomenal sight, especially at night, of course!

We reached Uzbekistan on the worst road we have ever seen. This Islamic country presents itself half as a semi-desert, half as an irrigated agricultural area. Incredible to see were the Aral Sea shipwrecks lying in the sand, in places that are already 80km away from the lake today! On the Silk Road, the former centres Khiva, Bukhara and Samarkand are mighty eye-catching with their magnificent Islamic structures.

So far we have had only positive experiences on our route and met many hospitable people. We have now been on the move quite a while but nevertheless we still look forward to riding everyday.

Many greetings from distant Samarkand

Barbara & Peter

Editorial note:

Why the mysterious name Panini? Named after the pair’s cat which stays in good hands while the house is empty. The marathon tour titled “Around the world – Panini Moto Tour” can be followed by anyone on Facebook, by appointment. Link