Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Balkans - 4 - Turkey to Bulgaria

Distances are longer than they seem on the map sometimes. After my visit to Gallipolli I drove to the Turkey Bulgaria border just west of Edirne in Turkey. This involved a short distance of toll road and I had no Turkish money and they didn't take credit cards. This presented a small problem but the toll collector indicated I could pay him one Euro. However I only had 50 Euro notes in that currency so it looked like I was going to have a problem. But then he said "One Dollar" - and having some US dollars in my wallet I was through (saving some expense compared to the Euro price in the bargain).

It was dark when I reached the border and for some reason I did not run the camera as I went through so there is no video - sorry. I had originally intended to see if I could arrange to visit the BGGRTR tripoint but my e-mail to the Turkish officials had gone unanswered and it was very late and dark anyway so I had to forego that pleasure.

The Turkish side of the border crossing is undergoing major construction work and is pretty chaotic, with few signs to indicate just where you should go and many unpaved roads, uncompleted buildings and so on.

The final check on the Turkish side was to examine the vehicle's papers and there was a (mercifully short) line there - but, even so, each car took about 4 to 5 minutes to be processed and that meant it took me over an hour to get through even this short line. It seems amazing that there was only one person checking these papers.

Once across the bridge into Bulgaria I had a repeat of the process I went through crossing from Serbia (with the "chip" and so on).

Then it was off to Romania and the last couple of legs of my tour.

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