September 21, 2011 GMT
Turkey Sept 2011

Hi there again folks --- well we continue to journey and entered Turkey on Mon 19th Sept .The last part of Bulgaria was really flat and a boring ride, really, with one stop for coffee from a machine at 2 Euro each !!!!! -- boy did she us coming and then I was charged 50 cents to use the squat loo !

Arrived at the border around noon and still around 30 degrees. Showed passports and then had to buy visasa ---- he was away having lunch, so we sat on the side of the lane waiting patiently. Not too long a wait and the 2 visas were 70 lire (£26.92 ). Then on to another building to buy insurance -- Colin did this whilst I stayed with the bke in the shade. We were partially blocking the lane exit --- but the official had told us to leave it there -- so we did ! Insurance cost 120 YTL (£46.15) for 6 months. Customs contro; checked bike papers only and we were through after an hour----- good going . We thought we would be longer than that.

Went straight into Erdine and got a Caravanerie hotel which was built in the 1400's-------it has been moderised since then !!! It was very tranquil in the courtyard -- the place outside heaving with people and noise -- but inside the hotel you can't hear any of that. 180 YTL for the night (£69). The place was full of atmosphere , traditional and obviously very old with thick walls and inner courtyards. There is a particular smell to these old places -- slightly sewery and musty --- but you soon get used to it !!!

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The town was heaving with people , shops open till 9 pm with some staying open longer than that.All little shops that seem to sell everything --- Colin actually got a spare panner key cut and I got a new phone charger . Both were 5 YTL ((£1.92!)

The mosques here are stunning inside - they say they are as good as The Blue Mosque in Istanbul.Huge domes inside that are painted and gold leafed. i had to cover my shoulders and wear a headscarf- and we both had to take shoes off. We were visiting the second mosque when the call to prayer came out --- so we left.

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There are numerous stray cats and dogs everywhere - they look thin but not under nourished. Petrol is dear -- more than UK. Food is cheap.

Got back to the hotel and asked for 'water'- guy didn’t understand that and when I got the laptop out -- he rushed over and said ' Google translate ' ------ It's 'soda' --- so now you know! We had to laugh --- Google translate came in useful the next day too --- but you've got o wait for that!!!

That evening I had a dose of the squitts and took 2 Imodium ---- we were then down to 4 tablets, so next day I was sent off to get some more. --------Well you try to mime diarrhoea to 2 girls who don't speak English!!!! We were in fits of laughter -- then the guys came in to see what all the fun was about --- so I was playing to a crowd !---- No embarrassment though - it was all taken in good part. First of all they gave me Dulcolax (a laxative) ---- ‘No, no, the other way’!!!! Then I spotted a computer and said' Google Translate' which they did and eventually I got 2 lots of tablets for 14 YTL (£5.38).

And so we were away to Istanbul on the motorway – had to buy a KGS card for the use of the motorway. The guy asked where we were going after Istanbul and said that we needed one for all the m/w’s in Turkey -- - £19.23 .You just swipe the card at the entrance and exit .Initially the m/w was really quiet ---

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The fields are harvested and the stubble being burnt off. Fields and fields of ' gone over’ sunflowers. The weather is getting cooler –now 25 degrees. We got into Istanbul at 1 pm ---- the traffic was manic to say the least. Car and, lorries cutting you up on either side. People driving down the hard shoulder, horns beeping and at the toll—cars or lorries backing up to change lanes!!------ Colin pulled into the side to let things sort out a bit and then we went for it!!!! Had to get through to the third lane --- this is not for the feint hearted and I kept VERY quiet on the back!

Then we found ourselves in the airport and at the arrivals!!!!!!! ---- At this point I said to Colin –: ‘we have got to get a taxi and follow that to the Ibis. We are rapidly getting into a Delhi situation here’. (I.e. hot and bothered and under a great deal of pressure) The taxi fare was worth every penny. It was 10 k away and we would never have found it under our own steam. The Ibis found us a room overlooking the Sea of Mamara and we are chilling nicely, thank you!!

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We are having 2 days off here to see the sights and have been on a cruise of the Bospherous today ( Wed 21 Sept ) The funniest thing about that was the taxi running out of gas and we had to walk the last 1000 metres back to the hotel! ----- See, Colin’s not the only one to run low on gas --- and he did'nt rn out completely!!! Total 2956miles :

Thurs 22 and we went off to see the sights --- Sofia Museum,Cisterne Bacillicus, Topkapi and the Blue Mosque. Tomorrow we are go on to Safronbolu ---- but first we have to get out of Istanbul - which Colin is not looking forward to. ---- More to come later. Here's some photos of the sights.

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Posted by Dee Masters at September 21, 2011 04:08 PM GMT

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