DAY 42 – GREECE TO TURKEY

We really like Greece and we would like to spend a week or two here, but we are both tired after six weeks on the road, Linda just wants to get back to the apartment in Turkey and be Human again with all its creature comforts and conveniences, a small part of me wants that as well.

With both of  us being in that frame of mind we discussed our options, tourist season is well in swing now in this part of the World, the towns and beaches are all crowded, and that’s the clue really, this is our corner of the World and we can come here any time we want, so that’s what we will do, come back again at the end of September when all the tourists have gone home, no crowds and the pensions will be cheaper…..Its also an excuse for another ride !!

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We packed up the bike and had a late start, I’m still dragging my feet, a part of me still does not want the tour to end yet, but you have to be realistic, we are both a couple of knackered old farts and our Arthritis is playing up badly now, I’m chewing my way through 4,000Mg of  Paracetamol a day and Linda is not far behind, I hate being realistic on this occasion, in my mind I’m still 23 years old and can do anything.

I have learned something though, those people who tour on bikes for years travelling around the World and mostly camp are tough, really tough people, because camping for weeks and weeks has a cumulative effect on the body, it sucks basically, not to mention the daily hunt for food !!

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We took the old coast road from where ever it was we stayed and headed towards Turkey, one of the curious things about the Greek roads is that there are hundreds and hundreds of these little miniature Churches on the roadside, mostly on bends and around junctions. We wanted to know what they were,  some are very old and tatty, some large and grand, I saw a quiet place to stop that had a couple of these miniature churches and had a look inside them.

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This older one had nothing inside and no clues but the new one on the opposite side of the road kinda answered the question as to what these appeared to be.

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They appear to be shrines, and perhaps this is where the person died, due to a road accident  perhaps.

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Further along the road we came across this large statue.

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By midday it was getting very hot and we just had to come of the road for a while to find some shade and drink water.

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I took the opportunity to change in to my shorts, the trees in this olive grove were old and very interesting in shape.

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It was nice along the old road but too hot, I would guess the temperature was in the low 40’s today, we needed air, so about 80km before Turkey we came off the old road and blasted along the highway to cool down.

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The Greek part of the Border was like all the borders we have crossed, a mere 10 second  formality of flash the passports, there was a duty free shop immediately after customs so I took the opportunity to buy a few more cartons of ciggies at 0.65pence a packet, they would not all fit inside the top box so we lashed some on top of the pannier.

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We met these Turkish guys at the duty free shop, also loading up on ciggies, you do not see many Turkish bikes in Greece, well none actually, but these guys who lived in Istanbul were just finishing their third trip to Greece.

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Next we rode over the jointly controlled bridge and a joyous site greeted our eyes…..A Turkish duty free shop for even more cheap ciggies. After strapping yet more cartons of fags to the bike we proceeded through the numerous check points of  border control.

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We cleared all the other check points quickly until the insurance check point, 40 minutes we were here, foreign vehicles entering Turkey need a green card, God help you if your green card is not coloured green as a lot of them no longer are, those people had to go off  to a little hut and we never saw them again.

We had all the correct paper work, presented to him, written in Turkish because its a Turkish registered bike  with Turkish insurance etc etc.  But the old guy would not let us through without a green card ?? so after much remonstrating we stood our ground, quoting Turkish laws and rules to him……we passed through, its quite ironic that the only country we have had a problem crossing,  is our home country !!

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We decided to cross the sea at Canakkale instead of  Istanbul so that I could look around the war museum there that I had to miss on the way out 6 weeks ago. The European part of Turkey is very flat with straight roads, it was so, so hard to remember the speed limit here is 70kph after cruising along in Europe at 130kph all day.

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The European and Asian Continents are separated by just a few miles of sea.

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On reaching the port I went for the ‘Every 10 minuets ferry’  because it was just too long to wait for  ‘The every 20 minutes ferry’  Once on board I could rest my right hand, in six weeks I  have worn through my leather gloves.

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The ferry deposited us right in the centre of town, when we were here previously we met a great guy called Hamit who had an Internet cafe and was a moderator for Turkeys largest bike club.

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Hamit photographed the old girl for his website, we chatted about the trip then Hamit and Linda went off to find us a hotel in town while I stayed and guarded thousands of cigarettes in the bike. Crime is generally not a problem in Turkey, but because someone stole our wet weather gear  off the bike when we were in London the old girl is guarded all the time now. The bike was in our site when the gear was stolen but we were about 15 meters away, I guess we must have both turned our backs for a second or two and that was all the opportunity he needed to help himself to our stuff.

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The hotel was in the centre of town, 40 Euro a night, and  came complete with  a night watchmen to keep an eye on the old girl.

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~ by travelswithmymotorbike on June 17, 2009.

8 Responses to “DAY 42 – GREECE TO TURKEY”

  1. Dave
    Yes the roadside shrines are a feature of Greek roads and to my knowledge “celebrate” the result of a fatal road accident- in England we have piles of soggy flowers!
    I recall my coach trip of some 40 years ago (I was a boy then!) where we crossed into Turkey – took 3 hours to enter Turkey – the customs were grilling some Americaan students and even went to the lenghts of slitting their toothpaste tubes open. In those days, the Turkish army used to start their tank engines up at night and rev them them high to silence the racket the Greeks were making with their bouzouki music across the border (Evros river?).
    Thank the Lord that times have changed…..

    • Hi Nikos,

      Thanks for the info on the shrines, they are really abundent on the old roads, I did not think the standard of driving in Greece was bad at all, fast yes !!

      So 3 hours to cross the border, that must have been fun for you under the midday sun, I guess things are at lightning speed now at only 40 minutes for us lol….

      Cheers

      Dave…

  2. Nikos: Toothpaste tubes! Sounds like shades of Midnight Express. I saw that film 2 weeks before I went to Turkey for the first time. It’s rated here as one of the most racist films ever.

    • Hi John,

      Midnight Express, its so long since I have seen that film that I no longer remember it, do you think it will be in our local video hire shop here??……..perhaps not, I will find it on the internet tonight lol..

  3. Found this post randomly via a search for anything on the internet with “coast road.”

    What a neat trip! Thank you for the vicarious thrill!

  4. God it would do my head in crawling along at 40, as you say, you get used to it.

    J

  5. Hotel Papigo Royal Palace is situated in Papigo our Papigko,Papingo in Zagoria,Epirus and overviews a fabulous view on the famous Astraka 2436m and Gamila mountain 2497m,Zagoria,Ipirus,Ioannina in Greece.

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