Friday, 30 May 2008

Pilgrimage from Monastiraki to Ipsala 26/05/08

Even though we get moving by 8am it's still hot. Really hot!!! The 8kms to Feres for breakfast is a sweatfest. Dragging ourselves in to town we are pleasantly surprised to find it is market day. Grabbing an apple on the way through we then find an internet cafe to pass the morning hours.

Before leaving I have to make a quick stop at the post office. While asking for directions we come across Muhammed. He can speak perfect German and is more than happy to act as our guide/translator for a bit. Cheers mate :)

On the way out of town we decide, since it's already getting late, we might as well stop for lunch. Looks like we made a good choice because five minutes later it starts pissing down with rain! Where did that come from???

It has cleared a little by the time we get moving but 2kms down the road we cop it. After three weeks of no rain the Gods let us have it on our last day here :)

The good thing with the rain is that it cools everything down, but with all the rain gear on I am still sweating. So wet inside and out we battle on, determined to make Turkey before nightfall..

Around 4pm we spot the border. The first thing we get told when we stop is...

"Sorry, you can't walk across the bridge to Turkey. You will have to hitch-hike."

Hmmmm, we will have to see about that. The bridge isn't in view of the border post so we think we are in luck but at the foot of the bridge two armed guards block our way...

"Sorry, you can't walk across the bridge to Turkey. You will have to hitch-hike."

"That's a bit strange...why?"

The soldier shrugs and smiles, looking slightly embarressed "Don't know, just our orders."

Got to love the army :)

I was considering asking about walking under the bridge but sense got the better of me and we started hitching. How hard can it be...

The first convoy to pass is three black mercedes at around 120kms/hr. I don't even know if they saw us! The soldiers laugh...

"Don't worry, we will stop you a car for you."

The next mercedes comes speeding up, brand new and immaculate with an elderly couple driving. This will be funny....

The soldiers stop the car "Do you mind giving these two a...."

"No way!!!" The guy doesn't even look our way before stepping on the gas and roaring off.

We all laugh again :) The soldier taps his pocket "Too much money...but no heart"

And then third time lucky. The next vehicle is a delivery van. Sabine and I pile into the back and head to Turkey!

Jumping out at the first checkpoint the offices all look extremely confused as the van drives off. They check our passports but can't speak any English...

"Auto, auto?"

"No we came by foot" I tap my legs...

"No, no,

"No, we are walking"

"No, no, no..." They start to look more confused...

After a quick chat between themselves we get thrown in the "too hard basket" and waved through :)

All goes well and as we pass the last checkpoint a young officer with a cheeky smile leaves us with...

"Careful, you are in Turkey now..."

I can't tell if he is just teasing us or whether he is serious but quite amusing either way :)

And so we Turkey now. It's great!!!

The best thing is that by our estimates we should still have 300-330kms to Istanbul, but the first sign we pass tells us we only have 230kms!!! That is always a good feeling!

Stopping for our first Turkish meal, it is wonderful until the bill arrives...we forgot that we were in bargaining country and should have negotiated the price first :) But oh well, lesson learned...

Finding a camping spot in a paddock we make the mistake of getting out the bottle of chippero. Five minutes later it's all gone! We must have been thirsty...

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