Our first border crossing outside the EU

Trip Start Mar 12, 2011
Trip End Dec 15, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hotel Arif

Flag of Turkey  , Tekirdag,
Friday, March 18, 2011

Left hotel early after breakfast, and drove off. Uneventful day really.
We paused to buy petrol at a shop, which sold an amazing array of all sorts of goods. Cant imagine what volumes they actually sell, but they had everything on offer. Getting back on the motorway was awkward (we had to follow the old road to the next junction), but we did manage it. About 1/3 of off ramps have a return to get back onto the motorway, about 2/3 dont. What you are supposed to do is anyone's guess.

 Stopped off on the coast in a Greek town/village, and went to buy lunch. Obviously the cafe owner spoke no English so we were starting to try our international sign language, when the lady next to us said that she did speak English. So she advised us and translated for us do we managed to secure something for lunch. The lady had an accent, and I was right - she was South African. Came from Pretoria! So we were invited to be in contact with her "on our way back"!!!
Proceeded to the Turkish border. Getting through the Greek side (exit) was simple. However, there was army presence on the bridge between the borders. And when we got to the Turkish side, it was terriible. Queues, awkward, whatever. Needed Turkish insurance for the car, so we were directed into the local shopping centre. There thee problems got worse, because they didnt have a Morris on their computer screen, and nothing dated prior to 1960. So how to insure a 1938 car? Eventually he gave us a certificate for a 1960 Morgan. Back to the customs post and after more queueing, we were allowed to set off.. The guy on the boom, sent us back as we didnt have a 3rd stamp on the passport. Back to the customs guys and following a statement that we had nothing to declare, he scribbled a signature on the stamp, back to the boom, and we were off. Only took about an hour and a half. Nice to know that the authorities who are supposed to check that all the paperwork is in order didnt spot that the insurance didnt tie up at all.

So off we drove into Turkey. The roads are terrible, 2 lanes each way, but sometimes patched and sometimes not. However, there are plenty of petrol stations along the way, whereas Greece didnt have anything along the motorway. We had spoken to a Greek apricot farmer, who spoke perfect English, and he said that it was through the Greek govt's ineptitude - when they set the contarct to build the motorway, they failed to make allowances for services, probably so that they could sell the rights in 20 years time! Anyway, we pushed on, through the rain (windscreen wipers not working) into Tekirdag, hoping for a hotel. What a rabbit warren! Eventually we gave up and headed out, aiming to find somewhere along the road. Eventually we pulled into a garage to clean the windscreen and enquire after local hotels, and the guy who we asked offered to arrange one. Afetr much haggeling about the price (started at E40 each, now its E40 for both) he arranged for a guy from the hotel to come to the garage and escortt us. He led us on his motorbike through a maze of muddy tracks and side roads, until I was convinced we were either being put up in someone's house or we were being robbed. However, we arrived at a reasonably large hotel, with a very pleasant room! Much to my surprise.

So now we are rested after dinner, and although there is a business centre here, there isnt wifi in the room, so this will have to be posted when we manage. probably tomorrow morning, while Martin is cleaning the carburettors!

Mileage 316 Max speed 61.1 av speed  37.9

Martin's moment:
I suppose the reality is beginning to click in.Whilst the car may be a novelty to the natives its an irritation to a button-clicker who cannot locate it on his system and a problem caused by the owner when its the job of the officials to cause the problems.Anyway we got through after I realised the bloke just had to find a way out so why not make it a 1960 car? - simple.I had exhausted Bentley and Bugatti and Morgan seemed as good as any.
Also when I went to cashier number 2 please he asked me my father's first name.I gave it as John and it was explained to me by an English Turk nearby that every body in T has 4 names so I needed another.
Oh and Turkey - at least they don't have to spend a fortune on waste collection,its bound to blow into Greece at some point in the future.Genuinely the poorest country I have experienced.
And we got stopped by the Polis,of which there are many.Turned out I had forgotten to put on headlights.Got off with a warning when they realised Roger was the Prince Michael of Kent.Must have been passed by 3 or 4 sets of Polis escorts flying down motorway escorting some dignitary or other.
Beginning to worry a bit about isolation - been 6 hours since we heard another English voice and we've got 7 weeks to go!
Greece has many English speakers but Turkey none.
Today's instalment:

Or to storm a redoubt you had but to shout
For Abdullah Bul Bul Ameer

We're a bit crackered now but tomorrow its Istanbul - to stop or go?

Night night
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Alison on

Well its been a wonderful day here spring has finally arrived, only today though.Had my lunch outside which is a first and had a Hugh F W moment or maybe even Monty D [he`s back in action apparently]Dug over the veg patch and dug in some home grown copost,Lovely soil! JesWellmary, keep your eye on your rhubarb mine looks almost ready for the first pick probably the only pick! Well boys the challenge is about to start, Good luck.

Emily on

Cashier number 2 please.
Sounds like you need a good sleep. I'm sure some more brits will pop up on your trip, and some interesting characters.
Very proud of you, looking forward to the slideshow when you get back.
As mum says, very sunny today. Flip-fops were out in bristol.
Sounds like Turkey is a bit of a let-down so far.

Polly on

Other people have metioned about the weelie bin that is Greece. I have just been catching up with all your diary entries after I realised that you not only miss out on words of wisdoms and thoughts for the day, but characters mean nothing. It's like reading the book from the middle out. Well done. They must show The Simpsons somewhere if you really want to hear another English/American voice.... Then again

Tim on

Spring certainly has arrived, and I hope it is as nice where you two are. Spent the day in the garden, and now can't walk for sieving soil. Its very back breaking.
Good to hear that you are now driving a 1960 Morgan, why not hey. Hope it all continues well. Still no windscreen wipers....goodness. Keep up the fantastic work.

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