Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Day 11 - Istanbul - Alexandroupoli

While writing my blog last night there was obviously some bedroom action going on in one of the adjacent rooms. I tell you this because she was very loud and it went in intervals for over 2 hours! Now that's what I call stamina, or there where several blokes.

We set our alarms to get an early start back to Greece to try and avoid the traffic, ha ha. We ended up going round in circles trying to find our way on the motorway in a Westerly direction. It was impossible, four lanes plus hard shoulder of gridlock in every direction. When we did move every inch of space would be aggressively possessed by a vehicle, it was too close for comfort and was an invasion of personel space. We found the best tactic was to ride two a breast. That at leased the cleavage was protected and we each had to only concentrate on attack from three sides.

We left Istanbul, with cloudy grey skies, on the E80 toll motorway and used it as far as we could without going out of our way or ending up in Bulgaria. We turned off and tried to get the credit on our 50 Lira toll cards refunded but the officials were having none of it. We rode through Corlu which seemed to be rubbish processing area. We joined E84/E90 dual carriageway, the road we took previously, through Tekirdag. It was just as potholed with oily tarmac everywhere.

When we where a couple of miles from the border we saw a Police road block, nothing we hadn't seen before, but this time the police (three with guns) were standing in our path and indicating that we pull over and stop. We obliged and got off our bikes with a smile and produced our documents (they like looking at documents). Once the documents were scrutinised and found to be in order, one of the police men announced "Speeding!, radar". They didn't have a speed camera but we weren't going to argue. He then wrote on a piece of paper and explained speed limit 90 KMH (55 MPH) and he said we were doing 112 KMH (65 MPH). OK we may, we may not. It was obvious from the way one of the police men was frantically filling out tickets we were not going to get off with a caution. OK how much? 290 Lira (£120). What! For maybe doing 65 MPH on a now empty dual carriageway that ends at the Border in a mile or so, yeh right, if this isn't extortion from foreign tourists then I don't know what is. He saw our expressions and we said are you sure. He produced a table with fines on it. Sergio pointed out he had made a mistake because the table allowed for lower fines the bigger the motorbike cc. The tickets were amended 140 Lira (£50). We opted to pay customs at the border.

The customs turned out to be the same guy I had bought my visa from. He sat in smoke filled hut, with a sliding window so low I had to crouch (in the stress position) to converse. He was on the phone and was going to deal with us in his own time. We had no Lira, we used it up on fuel, so we were going to have to pay in Euro. He wanted 55 Euro each (5 more than expected) and wouldn't take credit card (only time he smiled when he told us that). I asked for a receipt (he stopped smiling). The receipt was for only 105 Lira. Dodgy bastards.

The Greek authorities were friendly and curtious and I now see their roads and drivers in a new light.

We're back at the same campsite, tents up, swim in the sea, sunbathe, shower, food and bed.

We've ridden in to town. Found an internet coffee shop called Flocafe, a bit like Starbucks but with free WiFi. Sorry forgot to post mileages for the statisticians. Yesterday and today both c.230 miles. Mileeta has now done over 3,000 miles this trip!


  1. Turkish gits ! At least your out in one piece mate.
    Another life experience to add to the many !
    Lets hope easier roads from now on.

  2. Thanks Gary, headed South to sunner climes and clear water. It's all now a distant memory. Tiger sold eh! I'd sell you Mileeta but she's not for sale and the miles are owned by me. Happy hunting.