Sunday, 21 August 2016

To get some Turkish Delight

Today it is to Gelobolu , a town on the Gallipoli peninsular about 50 km from Anzac Cove. It is a long 500km day today and a hot day - the temperature on the bike thermometer stayed at a stubborn 35 degrees C  for a good part of the afternoon. Elizabeth of GPS fame took us an interesting route that was a bit longer than it should of been and rougher than it should of been ( she has now received a formal performance  warning in accordance with New Zealand employment law). The road below is supposed to be a highway according to her 


However they obviously knew we were coming so some of the  road rapidly upgraded for us 


About 4 hours into the trip the GPS showed " turn right on road to Istanbul". It was a defining breath catching moment for me - the reality of heading out of the comfort of Europe suddenly hit home ! 


And then we get to the border crossing. This is not an ordinary border crossing - this is a "leaving the EU" type border crossing. It was rough and tough! It was about one and a half hours in 32 deg plus temperatures. It was reminiscent of border crossings in Central America 4 years ago when we were there. The problem here was a thing called " insurance". Or is it a " permit to drive ". We still don't know as no one could speak English ( it was not a main border crossing ). They wanted 200 Euros or $225 for the piece of paper I needed. . It had to be cash - no credit cards accepted!  It was extortionate. 

I dug in. After about half an hour the man rang his superior on a cellphone. The another call to some one higher up. Then another call. Finally he got thru to President Ergodan  who promptly reduced the fee to US$70. We paid. Then we got the expensive bit of paper all written in Turkish so I have no idea what it is or what it means. A few more looks at the passport are then needed. A few more bike details are then needed yet again A few more stamps are needed. Then hallelujah- we are thru. The sign was a welcome one 


And then a hot 200km late afternoon ride to Gelibolu. Part way down we stop for a break. There were men playing a game of some sort at a table under a tree. As men do in Turkey. They beckon us to sit with them. They have absolutely no English. But they tell us their names , point us on the right road  to Gelibolu and insist they give us cold water and Chai tea on them. . It was a nice welcome to Turkish hospitality. An thus happy with a new Turkish perspective that was not just based on border officials we barrel on down to Gelibolu. No , we don't want a traffic light bun thank you ! 


Then the Agean sea comes into view 


And lo and behold it is Gelibolu - a far cry from the ANZAC beaches of 100 years ago! 


Mine host at our little hotel called somewhat unusually " Gelobolu Hotel" was a friendly Turkish fellow. We had a meal at a little seaside restaurant and retired happy with the day's work 

Tomorrow - Gallipoli ! 

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