Today we travelled from Serbia, through Bulgaria and onto our destination of Istanbul, Turkey!
We left Nis after a sound sleep from yesterday’s big ride knowing that today was going to be an even bigger day on the bikes. It turned out bigger than even we had expected however.
There was approx. 2hrs riding to complete our journey through Serbia where we hit the Bulgarian boarder. The boarder crossing went smoothly and we were soon on our way through Bulgaria, albeit it a brief stay. Our stay was extended however by the first set back for the day, with us taking lap of the capital Sofia without realising until Steve commented on the unusual feature at the road side of the road that we had passed 2 1/2hrs prior! Not good when we had a big days ride anyway. we had also lost 1hr due to the time zone change
Temperatures were in the mid 30’s and with wearing full bike gear we really need to ensure we take in sufficient water throughout the day.
After a chat and a scratching our heads several times we got back on route and headed in the correct direction. A big part of the issues we had with navigating Bulgaria was due to the lack of signage and significant road infrastructure project that is occurring at present causing many diversions.
The ride proceeded well until we hit the Turkish boarder at approx 7:00pm with temps still hovering around 34deg C. Steve made his way cleanly through the first check point, however I was randomly selected for and inspection. Next thing I had all my luggage stripped out and spread over several tables and the bike being X-rayed. Re packing the bike after a good poke around by the boarder guards and we were off to the the check point only to have me make it through and into Turkey and Steve this time held back due to a problem with computers?
We were separated, with me (David) inside Turkey and Steve still in no man’s land sorting out the issue. I was very releaved to see Steve re appear and make his way through the check point. We were finally in Turkey, however by now it was 9:00pm. We were approx 5hrs behind at this point due to the two issues today and with a 3hr dash into Istanbul still ahead we were in for a long one.
The roads in Turkey were fantastic however the closer we got nearer Istanbul the driving became more manic. The last stage of navigating to our final accomodation took about 1hr for the last kilometre with us arriving shattered at 01:30am and having ridden 780km’s. This was clearly our biggest day yet.
Tomorrow the girls arrive!