With the ink barley dry on our car paperwork  and our air conditioning nice and cool we set off for Turkey, apparently its about 4 hours driving from VT (Veliko Turnovo) to the Turkish border, it took us 7 hours, once nightfall came we had real trouble reading the 2 maps in the car, one map in English and one map in Bulgarian. The roads in the south of Bulgaria are such a mess with diversions, road works and some really bad bombed out pot holed roads, being lost was not much of a problem (We’re used to it) at first but as midnight approached there were fewer and fewer people about to ask directions of.

The worst part is the last 20km of Bulgaria before you hit either Greece or Turkey, at every road junction here it really is just a toss of a coin which way you go, anyway pulled in to a petrol station around midnight to ask directions and two security guards eating at an outside table over heard us, they put down their sandwiches, covered them over and gestured for us to follow them. We followed them for over ten minutes through some large town or other up on to a highway and along to a junction where they then gestured which way we should now go, the kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me!!

Lost again in some one donkey village with very narrow cobbled roads (We were actually not lost but could not believe this was the road to a major border crossing) we pulled over near a one lane bridge to consult both our maps by the dim glow of Linda’s mobile phone, a parade of trucks then passed us and they had Turkish number plates!!

We gave chase to the trucks bouncing along over a pothole strewn narrow cobbled road, keeping up with the trucks in the HOPE they were heading for the Turkish border, my poor car grounded a couple of times with a spine chilling crunch but we had to keep pace with these trucks which were clocking 100kph on very iffy roads.

After 20 minutes we saw sign after sign for either Turkey or Istanbul, the trucks were indeed heading for Turkey, saved at last!! We crossed the border no problem at all with Damiano’s conjured up paperwork and sped down lovely smooth Turkish highways. Around 2am it became apparent that we had missed a turn off for Canakkale because we were nearly in Istanbul, so pulled in to a 24 hour petrol station to find out where we were …..We had no map of Turkey naturally, but I knew in my head all the major towns and cites. (More or less)

The four friendly attendants drew us a map of a short cut to get us back on the Canakkale road instead of going all the way back to the turn off we missed, they neglected to tell us however that the short cut was 50km of road works that was basically 50km of off-road driving at night, thud, bang, bash, crunch!!

Got back on to the Canakkale road with the car making some funny new noises , only to be faced with another 35km of road works, this is where the exhuast started to break apart, thankfully we were able to turn the radio volume up!!

We arrived at the Canakkale boat crossing just before the 6am sailing where I was able to grab 30 minutes sleep.

The remaining leg of our route was Izmır, Mugla and finally Dalaman just 9 hours away, just before Izmir I needed another 30 minute sleep and then a couple of cans of Redbull to wake up again, we reached the flat at 5pm, exactly 24 hours after leaving VT, with the car sounding very agricultural.

~ by travelswithmymotorbike on September 10, 2010.


  1. Don’t have any sympathy for him guys and girls, he REFUSED to let me drive!!!!

  2. Dave,
    Driving in the night; I wouldn’t do it now as I did in the 70’s in the middle of Yougoslavya.That was very worse.
    Glad to hear you are still alive, because the most dangerous things to do in Turkey is microlight flying(they crash) and on the road in the dark. Drunken drivers, bad drivers, no lights and wonderful strange motorcycles and cars. But “highways” are very good.
    all the best

    • Hi Rene,

      Agree, its not a wise thing to do, but sometimes you just have to do these daft things lol…



  3. Redbull and pro-plus keeps me going on the nightshift too lol

    • Hi Stan,

      Thankfully many Turkish petrol stations carry an ample supply of Redbull lol..



  4. At least the air con was OK…your a mad bugger lol

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