15.08.2009 - 16.08.2009 38 °C
The first night in Istanbul was domianted by the snoring of the gentle man on the pitch next to ours. no matter what time of the night I woke up I could still hear him which isn;t great if like me you are a light sleeper. We decided that we would get up early on the whole day we had in Istanbul and head down to the beach. First attempted swindle of the day (after the fact that we have paid lots of money for a rubbish campsite with cold showers!) they wanted TL15 for each of us to entry onto the town beach from the entrance near to the camp site. We the told them to shove it and walked into two and went that route which only TL5 each so much better!
The beach had lush clear waters which were warm and until about noon the beach was fairly empty. I read a lot of my latest book Quirkology by Richard Wiseman and Dale played a bit of football and read some of his book Mr Nice. By about 1pm we decided that it was time to move off the beach get some lunch and head into the city centre for some looking around. Sadly we found out that it was 2hrs each way on the bus due to traffic in the city so we deicded that 4 hrs in the day was not a good use of our time and we went into the local suberb town instead.
We needed to stop for lunch and we found a cafe that served chicken doner kerbabs which were absolutally gorgeous! so much better than anything I have ever had in the UK! I ate one and Dale had two as they were so nice. I think it was the lush freahs bread that made it so good!
WE then went back to the beach and stayed there till the sun set and we couldn't say there any longer due to hunger and cold (only because we were wet from the sea not because it was actually cold!).
We met a guy on the campsite Ifram and he took us out for dinner back to the doner place and Dale and I both indulged in another Doner Kerbab! Very good again but not quite as good as earlier as the bread was different and I preferred the last kind which was more of a flat bread. We hung out with him for a bit after trying to find him 'English wife' but we failed haha!
The next day we got up really early and we lucky 'Efrum' the campsite yokel had left the gate unlocked as he was not up at 7am as promised!
The road to our next destination Macedonia Lake Ohrid was a long one but the roads in Turkey and Greece were excellent and that time passed quite quickly. The issue we had with Greece on the E90 at least is it is the worst place in the world for Petrol stations! There are none on the main highway which is an issue as you need to venture off into towns and things to find them...OMG something even the Ukraine wasn't as bad at my god! It was ok but all the hunting (for one which took card!) wasted over an hour in total. Finding a cash machine that would work with our cards was also an issue we really didn't expect from Greece but it happened never mind!
The border into Macedonia was easy. They made us pay for insurace as they didn't like ours and said it was not a green card replacement even though it says it is in black and which (there is going to be a really shitty letter going Dale's insurance's way when we are back as this is slowly costing a small fortune and he did check!). Lake Orhid was not far into the country but required us to navigate through a few small towns and villages. We stopped in one town to get some cash out just 500 which is like £5 each and we were surrounded by begging children wanting food. One really didn't look particularly malnourished though! The town did have a lot of strange looking individuals and Dale and I both thought this might have been as a result of inbreeding or something :-s there was one poor girl in particular which looked unusual and Dale wanted to go back for a second look but I wouldn't let him. It was dark by time we got to the lake and we found a camp site but couldn't find a tent pitch there even though there were apparnetly some there so we slept in the car!
In the morning we woke up to find that the site was actually more of the worlds biggest gypsy encampment that a campsite for tourists! It was amazing there was row upon row of tightly packed caravans some with fences and gardens and everything it was astonishing. We walked down to the lake which was beautiful! We took some pictures before heading on our way to Montenegro via Albania.
The road took us all along the North perimeter of the Lake so we had lots of beautiful views as we drove it was amazing! When we got to the border which really was in the middle of no where! We got through hassel free although again no stamp which was disapointing We have only got a handful of stamps so far maybe the next few will yield more?
Albania was an amazing place scenically but their drivers are what the Lonely planet describes as free spirited and on mountain roads this really doesn't mix well! We had a few close encounters but Dale got us down safetly. I am limited now on the amount of driving I can do as on the border insurance policies only Dale is named on them so its best I don't drive really. We both felt Albania is a country with potential but its current lack of road infratructure takes getting anywhere forever! Albania is a very small place and we only had 200km to travel today but it took us almost ALL day! terrible! The thing that suprised us most about Albania was the number of British registers luxury cars! There were hundreds of them and Dale and I reached the conclusion that Albanians are getting them on credit in the UK then doing a runner home in them??? They were all £5k plus mercedes, BMW, JEEP's etc... that kind of thing. Was very strange! None of the drivers looked very english - its not that we are racist but their tans were a lot darker than ours and their female passengers often had head scarves.
We got to the border with Montenegro and agin got no troubles here excellent service and crossing plus WE GOT A STAMP HURRAH! highlight of the week lol. The shocker with Montenegro is the lack of road signs or as Dale and I have no named them comfort signs as they comfort us we are on the right road! haha. We got a good old way into the country before we saw the first one and the first big town we went into had none! Shocking for the amount of intersections etc... laying around! We asked for directions and manged to make it on the right road down to Budva. This was a VERY scenic drive and looked beautiful. We found a nice hotel in the city and prepared ourselves for a few days of relaxation!
Horse and Cart: 72
Dead Community Dogs: 20
Dead pet Dogs: 1
British cars in Albania: millions!
Crazy Drunk pedestrians:1
Nights paid for the privilege to sleep in car:1
News paper appearances:3