Bordercrossing wýth Turkey

The baren landscape of northern greece had not much to it. For four hours we drove to the turkish border seeing nothing but some industrial sites and a dusty landscape. We were excited to head to Turkey and a bit nervous maybe. How would it be, how would customs react to our ‘hippy van’ full of stickers? If they wanted to check the van it would take several hours to get through the mess meaning we would arrive in Istanbul way after dark, something we did not want as driving after sunset is not recommended.

When we arrived at the border we were stopped immediately and given a form we had to sign. Before signing it we read it first and it appeared to be a healthcertificate stating you have not been in SARS related countries. We hadn’t so within minutes we could drive on. Then we passed greek customs which was easy. A quick look at our passport and we were waved through. Then we came in no-mans land on a spooky bridge with militairy service man wearing guns and all. Half way on the bridge was the official greek –turkish border. We had to take a picture and dared to ask the military. If we were quik we could!! How cool. After the pictures we drove on and because of the pictures we thought we would be checked completely. But the first turkish check waved us through and the second asked us to buy a visa for 10 euro’s each. This went easy. So we drove to the last check and were asked for a computer form. Mmmmh where did we miss that one. We made a u-turn and drove back.. aaah the computer form was given by the guy that checks your car and registration papers. Another 8 Euro was asked and we were given the right papers. Then Michel was orderd to see another guy who asked if we had anything valuable to declare…..

‘Anyting to declare?’

(mmmh well lets see…..laptops,videocamera, etc etc) No sir we haven’t.

Okay, what is your car?

‘There we go.. we are screwed’. The white camper with the stickers on it.

Aah with kennewood… autoweek….on it.

Yes, that one!

It’s ok.. you go now!!

Pfew.. now that was easy.

We drove past the last check point, this time with the computerform and stopped a few hundred meters later in front of the Turkey sign for the Homepage picture!

We immediately noticed a complete change in everything. Ofcourse different money, but also bad roads, horsecarts on the highway and different driving techniques. Is it normal to use the safety lane in Greece, is it stupid to use it here as its full of holes and very bumpy. Problem was that the turks wanted to overtake anyway and used the one lane for this. When we approached instanbul we did not see the beautiful skyline but only a dark cloud of smog and one big traffic congestion. Three dimensional roadwars as we call it as you had to fight for your space, look for holes in the road and be amazed by everything around you. Ofcourse we took a wrong turn as signposts are inadequate and via a couple of suburbs we reached the campsite (18 euro p/n) just after dark. Pfewww we made it.. in one piece and without a single scratch on the car!