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.
Bosporus Blue Mosque Hagia Sophia
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.
Spices White Mosque Hagia 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.