On October 28th 2005 I started a journey which has taken me through two continents and 27 countries. All in all I have driven 80.000 kilometers during the course of two years.
An especially outfitted Honda Transalp 600 served me as my travel vehicle. It was equipped with a big 40liter tank and two aluminum suitcases with a carrying system.
The suspension elements were adjusted to the greater weight and various other components were added to the bike.
At the very beginning there was the dream of Africa.
Over land I went from Germany to Italy where I took a ferry directly to Turkey to get over Syria and Jordan to Egypt.
This is where my girlfriend Midori Hirata visited me for a month to experience fascinating and chaotic Cairo and the desert roads on the way to the southern situated Aswan.
Deep ruts in the soft and sandy soil on a desert track in Sudan brought me along the Nile to Khartoum.
Sudan, by land area the largest country in Africa, at last made me feel that I had finally reached Africa.
After crossing the boarder to Ethiopia I immediately felt a change. The geography altered as I approached the highlands of Ethiopia where 80 percent of Africa’s mountains are to be found.
The region's religion also changed drastically, Ethiopia’s population is mostly made up of Ethiopian-orthodox Christians. So I had left the Islamic world.
Ethiopia first impressed me by its cultural wealth of various ethnic groups which are spread throughout the country.
After crossing the steps of Kenya and Tanzania I reached the boarder of Mozambique. However due to a motorbike accident I had to go back to Dares Salam, the capital of Tanzania, to fix my bike.
The fork and the frame had to be straightened. And as my shoulder was not well I subsequently chose a route over Malawi to travel on asphalt to Mozambique.
From there I entered Zimbabwe. I had to leave this country after two weeks, because of a vast lack of goods, such as gasoline, caused by long term inflation.
In the Makgadikgadi Pan (Botswana) I saw the “nothing” for the very first time in my life. An indescribable plain with an endless horizon on the “plaster” soil created great enthusiasm!
When I entered Namibia in mid August 2006, I initially experienced icy temperatures in this desert country. And I was overwhelmed by the fact of how much German is still spoken in this former German colony.
However at the beginning of September summer warmth was back again.
I visited the North of Namibia, before I went down south to South Africa. From Durban at the east coast of South Africa my motorbike was shipped via air carriage to India.
On October, 22th 2006 I reached India by plane. My girlfriend Midori came to visit me for a second time during my trip.
Together we drove through the semi-desert of Rajasthan to the coast of Gujarat, before we turned back North to the foot of the Himalayas.
In Rajasthan, the world’s most populated desert, we went to Pushkar where the huge annual camel fair (supposed to be the world’s biggest) was taking place.
We saw old desert towns on our way and finally drove to Allahabad, where in January 2007 the Kumbh Mela was celebrated.
The gathering is the meeting point for sadhus, philosophers, ascetics, beggars and millions of Hindus, who all wish to take a purifying bath in the holy waters at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers.
Every blink of an eye gave us the feeling of receiving a different India with all our senses.
In every respect, even on the national highways of India traffic is tense, reckless and fired with selfishness which is hard to express in words. And still we learned to love this county, a country though we will never understand.
Alone again I drove over porous tarred roads which had to yield consistently to countless water roads into the south of Bangladesh.
From there I made my way through the north of this country and through India to Nepal. However Nepal was in a crisis. For some time the royal family power had been perishing and the Maoists had been gaining more and more political influence.
There were constantly demonstrations all over the country. Gas became a rarity.
From March until July 2007 I perambulated the Himalaya-Region to the Karakorum and to the boarders of the Hindu Kush.
From Nepal through Ladakh (North India) to Northern Pakistan. Far away from the crowds of India and Bangladesh, passing gigantic landscapes on bumpy dirt roads. Climbing over the world’s highest mountain passes.
In Islamabad I received the visas for my upcoming destinations and I also organized the entry via motorbike into China. While doing this the political situation in Pakistan’s capital escalated.
The red mosque in Islamabad was attacked by government troops, many people lost their lives.
Suicide attacks against Musharraf’s regime followed. As my safety as a solo traveler could no longer be guaranteed I was partly escorted by the police on the Karakorum-Highway.
In the end of July 2007 I entered China via the Khunjerab Pass (the highest international border of the world) from northern Pakistan.
I left Kashgar, a huge trade center and former point of intersection of the Silk Road, behind me - heading for central Asia. I reached Kirgizia for the last stage of my trip. A country where there are allegedly more horse than people.
I traveled over the Pamir Highway – which runs at 4000m average altitude – along the boarder of Tajikistan and Afghanistan.
I crossed the Pamirs, the last big mountains of my trip. After that I went through the flat semi-desert of Uzbekistan, passing the Silk Road cities Samarkand, Bukhara and Kiwa.
The journey through Turkmenistan took me over a tar band deformed by the sun's force and across the Karakum Desert.
Whereas the isolated Turkmenistan granted me a five day visa only, I was received in Iran with cordial hospitality. 1 drove at least one thousand kilometers in this vast country and extended my visa to stay longer.
However it was getting colder, snow had already fallen in eastern Turkey. It was mid November and therefore high time to travel to Europe.
The trip ended quickly: from Istanbul over Greece via ferry to Venice and from there over the Alps back to Germany.
On November 24th, 2007 – after more than two years on the roads of 27 countries – I completed the circle. The trip reached its final destination. I was back at the point from where I had started.