Our Istanbul tour 2011

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Sven, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Every August in the year we decide to conquer a part of Europe (and beyond, some day) So last year it was Istanbul, this was chosen because countries in between are quite cheap, and we have a lot of contacts who can show us around.


    Start
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    Somewhere in Bosnia, place called Jajce.
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    Past the river Neretva... (as with most places, it's a lot different than what you might expect)

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    500 km later, arrived for the first night in Zenica where we meet some friends and have dinner ("Chevapi" - it's a Bosnian national dish, though Turkey influenced, basically grilled minced meat. (mainly beef and pork)
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    After a sleep over at a biker's club parking that the locals gave us, we head for Sarajevo... but first, some breakfast. "Burek" or "Borek" as they would call it in turkey is another adopted Bosnian national dish. it's a greasy pie with either meat or cheese, they eat it with yoghurt.


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    We collect these Nici plush animals, and then decide which two can go with us every time. This is Wilson the rabbit. (we don't have kids, we are kids)
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    Saying goodbye to our Zenica friends...

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    We arrive at "Visoko" a place near Sarajevo. There's a weird thing going on here. A couple of years ago they found secret tunnels and 3 piramids burried under ground. This is quite controversial ever since and hasn't been backed up by any archeological study anywhere in the world, they keep denying it exsists even though its obviously there.
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    Only funding they have for digging and research is by guiding the rare tourist who comes by to see this for himself.
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    Inside the tunnels they found these huge megaliths that are supposed to be strategically positioned throughout the tunnels.
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    We met the man himself Osmir Osmanagic the discoverer and researcher of this amazing place.
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    one excavation unit on the outside of the piramids. No point explaining too much, you just need to go there and see for yourself, those stones haven't naturally stack up by them selves.

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    Well, we are done with that, heading down to Sarajevo to meet our other friends (who i haven't met till then)

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    Sarajevo.

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    This was built using "Brač" stone. a world famous stone from the Croatian island of Brač. It's been used and exploited worldwide for centuries for its extraordinary quality.
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    We were let to sleep in the parking lot of the Sarajevo brewery. (lucky us) so we didn't have to go very far for a drink... this is their brewery pub, As fresh as it comes. ^-^
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    Sarajevo from above

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    Time to leave Sarajevo and head for Mostar. It's raining.

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    In Mostar, the famous bridge, fully rebuilt. (for more information, qoogle the Mostar bridge, there's a story behind it)
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    Tourism is flourishing in Mostar, you can hardly move.
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    Time to move on...

    Medow of Neretva... (they grow jaffas down there)

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    We have now crossed the border back to homeland, we will sleep on a mountain above Dubrovnik, and continue tommorow.
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    our bed view from the open hatch.
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    Dubrovnik is maybe the most well known Croatian town, also by far most expensive. It is not really the best Croatian tourism has to offer, but when word comes out about something, it tends to get spread and repeated, while other, sometimes more interesting things are left neglected.


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    Since we don't like crowds, or pumped up prices, we move along quite quickly...

    We head for a village on river "Ljuta" and supply our selves with water... it doesn't get any cleaner than this.

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    We know a little secret beach way out of place... it's been accessible by sea mostly, but if you know your way you can find a hole in the mountain and walk down to it. this is something only the locals know about.

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    The sun was on set so i couldn't take any good pictures
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    goodbye Croatia for the second time.. we entered Montenegro.

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    Kotor (for some strange reason, when Michael Palin did his New Europe documentary, he skipped Montenegro, as though it wasn't there.)
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    To be continued....
     
  2. Lord Charles

    Lord Charles Day's Away Mod

    Wow cool stories and pics, looking forward to the updates.
     
  3. Wow pukka pics there. What is that camera. Looked like a fun trip.
     
  4. hailfrank

    hailfrank Admin esq.

    excellent :)
     
  5. excellent pictures Sven, cheers for sharing them!
     
  6. lovely... 8)
     
  7. TY for sharing Sven :)
     
  8. Love the pics and the story, can't wait for the next instalment
     
  9. Baysearcher

    Baysearcher [secret moderator]

    Great pictures mate!
    I worked in Istanbul for a few months; borek rocks!
     
  10. Fantastic adventure ;D
     
  11. Awesome thanks for sharing
     
  12. Wow what a fantastic holiday report!!! I'm loving the pictures and am so jealous of you all ^-^

    I definitely think you have a couple of photo contenders for the calendar next year, they're brilliant :thumbsup:

    Look forward to your next update!
     
  13. Woodylubber

    Woodylubber Obsessive compulsive name changer

    Amazing pictures :) What a great bus trip
     
  14. Thanks for your comments.

    Continuation...


    Kotor is quite nice, our plan was to go to this huge mountain called Durmitor, but our buses were working very hot, so we decided to skip that.

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    had some pizza and beer

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    We head east... It took us a whole day to cover about 100 km... Montenegro is a paradise for all the Serbs that are not let into Croatia... the roads can't take that many cars at this time of year, so you travel at walking speed through most of the country.

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    2am we arrive at Ulcinj, the eastern-most part of Montenegro, bordering with Albania.

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    This would be the first and only night that we would not wild-camp. we don't feel safe, it's too crowded, too many young people doing whatever they please, people driving like maniacs, we are tired, so we park into a campsite.

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    The owners of the camp were very nice, they are Albanians and they made us breakfast.
    In the morning we head for the beach, we want to take some pictures of the buses there.

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    Unfortunately it was too complicated and expensive to do this, so we gave up the beach idea, and head for Albania. This is a russian vehicle converted for transporting bathers to the beach.

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    Ulcinj is not for the elite... there's rubbish everywhere, dead animals, crazy people, criminals, etc... we are thinking if its like this here, how is it in Albania... a country that's been in complete isolation for a very long time.. we'll see.

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    Entry into Albania goes smoothly, but the first image wasn't very reassuring. :eek:

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    [glow=red,2,300][glow=red,2,300]FACT[/glow][/glow]: 90% of Albanian drivers, drive Mercedes. Origin: unknown. :-
    Roads: sometimes, yes. Surprisingly lots of UK plated cars. ??

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    Albanians don't seem to have any driving culture, rules or regulations, they sit and drive, they rarely let go of the accelerator, they show no concern for any ones safety, including theirs... I was never in my life scared on the road for any reason, until now.

    The horn button was strategically placed on a special button i had to hold in my hand while driving.. that second that it takes you to move your hand from the rim to the horn button, could be crucial for your safety.

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    Center of Tirana. it was Sunday, nobody around.

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    Time to head for Macedonia (or if you are Greek, FYROM)
    If you ever watched the Top Gear series where they go through Albania, you'll know about one of the worlds most dangerous roads. it takes you from Tirana to Elbasan.

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    I really wanted to go through this road. The road is very narrow, in some places too narrow for two cars to pass each side, it's very steep and full of hairpins, and nothing to stop you falling down. This would all be somewhat ok if Albanians didn't drive like suicidal maniacs.

    If you see a car that's bigger than you, you move! that's the rule.

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    Some kids were throwing stones at us when we were going down, so we went as fast as we could, however, this caused our brakes to overheat.

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    Late at night, exhausted from Albanian traffic, we head for FYROM

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    At the border crossing, my starter gave up. tried tapping it with a hammer, jump-wiring it, but no luck, maybe it wasn't a good idea to lie under the bus in line at the border. So i pushed the bus across. The customs officer didn't say a thing, we push- started it and went on our way.


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    It was late at night, lot's of shops open, I tried getting a beer with euro or credit card, but none would have it. I stayed thirsty that night, and i'll never forget it.

    Ohrid is a famous Macedonian lake. In the morning we find a secret beach.

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    And finally beer! everything is incredibly cheap for us here, i can eat and drink as much as i want, and hardly feel it on my pocket.

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    Ohrid is also a town on the lake of the same name... quite a nice place.

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    Time to go, we supply ourselves with washing water, petrol and oil (since everything is so cheap)... and we head south for Greece.

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    On our way through desert roads, we go through a gipsy village... they burn clothes, sort rubish and whatever, little girls flashing us on the road... it's like you fell into Mad Max wastelands... unfortunately i only managed to take a single blurry picture... but i wouldn't be able to show this through a photo anyway.

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    Miles and miles of empty roads...

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    Until i ran out of petrol. luckily i had a spare 20 lit. tank with me.

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    We took a small break, left the engines to cool off, and enjoyed the scenery.

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    To be continued...
     
  15. so amazing so so so amazing
    i am really jealous
    bek
     
  16. Thanks for sharing, this is one truly awesome trip :) well done ;)
     
  17. Great photos :)
     
  18. good pics mate
    done greece before in a ford cortina thinking about doing it in the van :thinking:
    sister lives on Thassos
     
  19. Thanks!


    So... some hours later, we arrive at the Greek border. A sign greets us saying "welcome to Macedonia" I'm thinking, but we've just been there, then i remembered, ah, you mean the real Macedonia.

    This seems to be quite a delicate matter for some Greeks, they are very proud people.
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    Our contact in Thessaloniki is a friend who insists we stay over at his house, and not sleep in the buses. He's a quite respectful businessman, so he wouldn't like anyone seeing his guests sleeping in the car. It's sometimes very hard to explain that we actually like sleeping in our beds, but sometimes it's easier to let go.

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    Our buses are to stay in one place, and we were led around, wined and dined... I can tell you one thing, GREEKS KNOW HOW TO EAT!

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    If it weren't so expensive, i might consider emigrating here just for the food.

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    Problem with our friends car, it's not really meant to seat 4

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    signs of public rebellion everywhere.
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    I think some of the stuff in this store was there before the store.

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    Some more dining...
    those are not just hamburgers, those are special hamburgers.
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    Finally we say goodbye to our friend and hit the road... there are more friends waiting for us in Turkey...
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    We set very early in the morning to catch up on time and spare the engines of the daytime heat.
    I drove through a huge storm, and finally sunrise...

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    While she was still sleeping in the back

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    We arrive at Alexandropulli.

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    Not much to see here... only 44km to Turkey!

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    After a checkpoint with armed guards and road spikes, we come to another crossing where we fill out some forms, and then some more forms for the cars, then we get about 3 stamps in the passports, and are finally let into Turkey!

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    Coast road to Istanbul
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    Weird vehicle. camper?
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    I have this photo hanged on my wall today. It was a great feeling to get there.

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    The light, the clouds and the mood was just so great.

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    It got late, so we decided to sleep over on a beach near Istanbul, we need to be fresh and alert for Istanbul traffic tomorrow.
    The grey bus got stuck in the sand, but we got it out. Our bus was ok, i drive on winter tires all year round which proved itself useful on loose ground many times so far..
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    My bus wouldn't idle, and his was running a bit rough, we adjusted the valves in Greece, but it was rough again, something wasn't quite right, but we got this far... so i fixed my idle and we went into battle.

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    Istanbul!

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    To be continued... :)
     
  20. the foods always fresh and lots of it in greece :food:

    you dont seem to have much stuff in the vans sven looks like i take moor for a weekend well she does :)
     

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