Having made it to Bulgaria and with Turkey now just a stone’s throw for Ed the last two remaining hurdles for him were to wait patiently for the arrival of his carnet from the UK and deal with the massive hangover he had been left with from the previous night’s hospitality. Within hours of Ed facing the daylight his carnet arrived courtesy of the DHL man in his yellow suit and by the afternoon Ed felt well enough to log onto the internet and do some of the ‘housekeeping’ tasks that he had set himself such as washing and charging gadgets. In fact, Ed wanted for nothing that day because a kind couple from Devon took it upon themselves to cook Ed an omlette and let him use their netbook charger and, still holed up in the appartment, he retired to bed early in preparation for the border crossing the next day.
On Ed’s 7th day since leaving the UK, he reluctant left the lovely flat that had become his ‘tent’ for the past two nights, packed his bike and after a chat with the owner Matt hit the road and within 20 minutes was already at the border. With Dan’s insurance saga ringing in his ears, Ed checked every dutyfree shop as he went throught the border process although most were just shells waiting expectantly for the wave of tourists that passed but never stopped.
In the border insurance branch of UMAT Turk A.S., things weren’t going so well for employees Semih and Dogan. The computers were down and no amount of hammering the enter key or gesticulating wildly could help them get an insurance document to Ed any faster. He was just going to have to sit this one out, watch Bulgians hoover the dutyfree from the shelves in the store opposite and hope that the internet god would look favourably on him that day. Over two hours, and many complimentary cups of Turkish tea later, Ed had his insurance and using Dan’s instructions, was straight through the border process and on his way into Turkey.
No Turkey entry to a blog is complete without the traveller’s account of arriving at the first motorway toll booth with incorrect monnies and this was sadly no exception. The elderly gentleman in the window asked for 40TL for a card and some credit to put on it and Ed was only in possession of part of that. The gentleman look resigned to this inevitable outcome and taking the money, let Ed through without further comment.
The short distance from the border to the campsite was dispatched easily and arriving to find that Dan was still somewhere between the campsite and Istanbul, was humbled to be offered a table and chair and a cup of tea by a friendly english couple who were already set up opposite Ed. From this comfortable vantage Ed awaited Dan’s return and considered the past month of frantic activity leading up to that moment. The false starts, the technical issues with bike(s) and the speedy journey across Europe. 2,500 miles and 7 days of riding and Ed was now ready to start the real journey.