It’s been a while, sorry. I’m not sure anyone will still be interested in our journey, when we’re already back! But at least for my own record, & for the sake of completing the task, I’ll continue.
After disembarking from the ferry at 3.30 am we somehow found our way out of the port in the dark & hit the right road without getting lost in the process. Not an easy task normally. Good job we filled up with fuel on the Italian side. We drove for a very long time before seeing a gas station.
We didn’t see much in the dark, but the roads were smooth & traffic free, & once again we encountered tunnel after tunnel cutting through the mountains.
A hint of light in the sky started around 4.30 am & grew & grew until suddenly the sun popped up from behind the mountain & literally hit us in the eyes! We drove on hoping to find a picnic area or similar, but unlike France, there was nothing. In fact we’d found this to be the case throughout Italy also, so eventually we pulled into a large service area & parked in a quiet part to cook breakfast. First time we’d given the cooker & kettle an airing & it felt great. Our internal fridge had kept the sausage in reasonable condition, & cooked up just fine! Ah! Nice cup of Tesco tea by the roadside, Can’t beat it.
From here we have a long way to go. North East through Greece, passing through or by, Kozani, Thessaloniki, & heading for the Turkish border. A lovely drive with stunning scenery on the way. Mountainous mostly, & sneak peeks of beaches down below us along the coast.
We arrived at the border with some trepidation. UK insurance companies don’t insure your car for certain countries, Turkey being one of them, so we knew we would have to buy insurance at the border. You read about it, & see others have done it, but you can’t help wondering how it works!
First kiosk, cursory glance at the passports & waved us through! Hey, I texted Mike! ‘We’re in! Easy!’ Stopped in the duty free shop feeling over excited & bought some booze. As you do.
Not quite so easy. Drive a little further through to 3 lanes of check points. Fortunately we know the Turkish word for Insurance. Sigorta. There was a shabby table set to one side with a guy in jeans & t shirt in front of his hand made sign ‘Sigorta’. We pulled up next to him & asked (with hand gestures) ‘Insurance? Sigorta? here? . Yes yes, so out Rick gets with the folder. This is a ring binder with photocopies of every document you could possibly think of, from Uk car insurance, to car registration, to tax numbers ,last Tesco shop, blah blah blah. Rick had everything required & there we go. Car insured for Turkey.
Drove on, last kiosk on the way out. Handed him the passports & insurance document. ‘Where is your car registration paper’? ( actually not quite so articulate) ‘Huh’? ‘car registration, you have to register vehicle over there’ (pointing behind us). Oh right . ‘we didn’t know that sorry. Not done this before. ‘ I can see’, he said. We turn around , park up & find ‘car registration’ kiosk where Rick had a fine time with giggling girls trying to decide what Benny was. A car,? a bus? Call it family car, Rick told them. Just as we are about to get back in & head off we are approached by a customs officer to search the vehicle! He asked a few questions ,was clearly bemused by our journey, but after a quick look at the tip in the back didn’t try to do a proper search. The poor guy next to us was having his wash bag pulled apart & his suit on a hanger thoroughly checked in every pocket. Our guy ended quite smiley & we had the usual conversation about Manchester United. Back to last kiosk again, present completed paperwork to implacable officer, & yea! This time we really, are, IN. It feels like we’re coming home!
PS It would be REALLY helpful if there was a board right at the beginning listing in several languages where you had to go, what you needed & in what order. It was all pretty easy going & didn’t take too long, but try it at night & in long queues & it would have been a different story.