Day 19 for the records. Early start at 07:15 a.m. with minimum traffic in my area of driving. Reached the same hanging bridge as I came in and felt the departure from Asia to Europe in a special way. Smooth sailing until the first stop at a Cafe attached to a fuel station. A fine gentlemen served me turkish coffee and I bought additional biscuits. As a gift he served me a cup of tea before I left.
I was hoping to have my next stop in the town of Alexandroupolis, but they had a festival using the beach road. Additionally all roads in town were blocked, I could not find alternative parking. Tough luck, I left. Unfortunately I had drastic coffee withdrawal symptoms but I did not stop at any of the fuel stations on the way, because they just did not look good. Saw the sign to a hotel, turned right and was then the only guest in their coffee shop with a charming turkish lady having grown up in Russia as my host.
Snacks on route
Carried on then to Kavala, a town I never heard of and was therefore not on my radar. But we adjust to circumstances quickly and I had no regrets. It did not open to me easily. I should have used a detour because of a road maintenance. The detour was very narrow and therefore unacceptable. After turning around and back to where I came from I saw on the right hand side lower down a romantic fishing boat harbor and some restaurants alongside. This was my spot. For the parking I had to turn around once more, but then all was good. Needless to say I found my Cafe with Wifi in walking distance. When I entered 4 young ladies looked at me as if I was George Clooney. At least I had the impression…
Day 18 for the records. As it rained a little in the morning I went to nearby Starbucks for C+C and had an interesting chat with the (male) waiter. When the rain subsided I took the bike and cycled to the ferry terminal. Took me about 45 min. I found a hidden spot behind a restaurant to lock it away and went through the same procedure as yesterday with the Istanbul card for the ferry, etc. Because of the uncertain weather I used the tram and went straight for the Archeological Museum and had a great time. And also with the tram to the foot of the hill where Galata Kasei, the dominating tower stands. Found a snack and coffee terrasse before the ascent and upgraded my energy levels.
Misty morning on the ferry
Some 20 min queuing for the tower, but then the view above Istanbul was magical, of course. Had a coffee also after that visit, went down the hill, walked over the bridge, found the ferry, crossed the Bosporus the 5th time (of in total 6), found the bike and cycled back to the east to my motorhome.
Up to Galata Tower
Found the helpful hotel receptionist in her late shift, had a short chat and sat down in their coffee area and worked with their Wifi. Another day with tons of beautiful impressions came to a quiet finish.
Day 17 for the records. Back a short stretch on the same top highway towards Burgas but turning right soon to southeast towards Turkey. Actually passing a 3 country corner Bulgaria – Greece – Turkey.
First mosque after border
Crossing the Bosporus to Asia
Border procedures into Turkey cost me a Visa for 25 Euros which was obtained quickly. The reward was that the Diesel price was 20% less than in Bulgaria. I filled at the border. My original plan was to stop rather far outside Istanbul and travel to the city by train or bus. But I became brave and found a camping site on the eastern side of the Bosporus and drove there on the city highway. Crossing the Bosporus on this impressive hanging bridge was exciting. Not the least because I took pics and videos and was one hand driving…. Ups. The nasty surprise was that the Camping Site Google suggested did not exist. And you guess what followed. Very tricky maneuvers to get out of trouble of VERY busy and VERY narrow roads. Found parking lot nearby for 36 Lira per day = 5 Euro / day. Nearby hotel receptionist gave me all the advice and recommendations I needed to find my way around and changed my Euros to Lira without commission.
Took group taxi to the ferry terminal, asked a lady how the payment for the ferry works. She went to the kiosk with me and ordered an Istanbul card for me. It can be loaded with cash at machines all around the city and is used for public transport. It cost me 17 Lira, about 2,5 Euro and would pay for the ferry there and back and for the tram around the mosques.
I could not believe the recommendations of the receptionist would work out so easily and I would be sight seeing in mid afternoon in the center of Istanbul. On the ferry I took the upper deck and enjoyed crossing the Bosporus again towards Europe and took the shots. I also spoke to young lady who came down from Edirne near Bulgaria, which I passed on the highway. Her English was limited. I also watched a group of what must have been Scandinavians. They were obviously touring Istanbul as well.
Bosporus again on the way back
In the hotel I received also a map and I knew where I was, but not the individual buildings. So I followed the Scandinavians and also took the tram. Good choice, they knew their way around better and after 10 minutes we arrived at the Blue Mosque. Here I lost them and followed my guess and the crowds and found Hagia Sophia, the Obelisk, another mosque and finally the closing Grand Bazaar. At Hagia Sophia an beautiful young Russian lady asked me to take a photo of her. I did it with pleasure. On the way back I was very hungry and stopped at a bar style self service arrangement, because another lady who just left, sad in passing by “it is really good food”. As it also looked good in the display I did it and had great noodles, rice and yogurt salad. And all for 12 Lira, another 2, Euro. Back to the ferry and crossing back in charming twilight. To find the right group taxi took about 10 minutes and another young lady next to me helped me to tell the driver where I wanted to get off. It worked not so well, I was dropped 2 km before my destination. Good digestive walk “home” at 10 p.m. along the shores. No problem whatsoever.