Survived Istanbul

A Cute Wild Rabbit

It’s been a little while since my last blog because all the WiFi signals I got in Greece were unencrypted. I’m back online again now though!

Bulgaria had a similar feel to it as Bosnia did – a bit depressing, especially after the lovely time I had in Romania. Romania turned out to be a surprise treat on the journey that I didn’t expect at all, and I shall miss the country and the people. Anyway, after staying one night on a run down Bulgarian communist Butlins-style site as the only guest, I made the move to Greece. 4,000 miles covered means it’s time for an oil change. Alexandroupoli has lots and lots of bikes so that was nice and easy – I didn’t shear the head off the oil drain bolt or anything. Tyre pressures checked too and everything was set for the next leg. Just one thing left to do – have a few drinks in the beach side bars. Tip top, although I’m still not into Greek beers at all.

Next stop… Turkey.

Istanbul. Bloody hell. Don’t get dressed up in a leather jacket and helmet and expect to have fun crossing Istanbul in rush hour traffic. Blurgh. It is a spectacular city for sure, its seafront parks are dotted with happy lovers and jasmine and BBQ scent the air. One could definitely have fun in Istanbul without a heavy leather jacket and an air-cooled bike.

Heinz was right about this card thing for the bridges too. I thought I’d just have a go without it and see what happened but as I got to the other side of the bridge there was a series of automatic toll gates with numberplate recognition cameras. My passing through them caused the green light to start flashing amber and there was a loud ‘woop woop’ noise – just for me. I pulled over to where the traffic police were loitering but nobody gave a shit so I just checked my map and rode onwards.

Perhaps there will be some interesting item of mail waiting for me when I get back to Blighty. Erk.

I’m camped out in the car park of a little family-run roadside cafe. It’s not a campsite but there is a big open space here littered with rabbits and the family don’t seem to mind that I’ve stuck the tent up. They were too busy anyway, the menfolk engrossed in some utterly odd card game that I couldn’t make head nor tail of, with rules involving lots of smoking, drinking of chai and banging of fists on table.

Additional: It’s now the morning and I’m sat outside a coffee so in the town of Sile. On the short ride here I saw two tortoises crossing the road! From afar it was confusing, seeing these little rocks moving very slowly. It was more confusing when I realised that the rocks had legs. Someone bring me my morning coffee, please!

So far Turkey looks like it’s going to be fun. Everyone has been very friendly so far and the place has a nice feel to it. I’m going to get up to the north and try to find some fun people, as I basically have almost five weeks before I need to be at the Russian border.

Here is a picture of the little fellow who kept me company while I packed up the tent this morning

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