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Current location : Urgup, Cappadocia region (Google map)
Last entry date : 30 April 2008

Istanbul man fishing by the pier

We had planned to be in Istanbul before sunset. What we had not expected was the 1-1/2 hour wait of getting through the border into Turkey and the strong westerly wind blowing that day. There were 4 check points to cross at the border, each a hundred metres apart and each checking or counterchecking our passports and bike papers. While we waited in the queue that afternoon, gusts of strong winds blew up dust and fine sands into our eyes.

We’re now pretty conscious about getting some local currency once we’re in a new country so we may be able buy petrol or food. There wasn’t any exchange counters to be found. No need to worry, the owner of the Shell petrol station was happy to exchange some Turkish Lira with us. I did not know what the exchange rate was, but was just as pleased to have some of it in the pocket. Its strange how fast money disappear while on the road.

Twice later that day we had to break our journey due to strong winds. The force of the wind against the bike was just too strong in certain open areas to hold the bike firmly and it felt dangerous. Windsocks on the highway into Istanbul were at horizontal, and trees were leaning heavily. We lost another 2 hours that way while waiting at truckstops for the wind to subside.

Istanbul is such a big and bustling city. The locals are so helpful. At a bus-stop that night, an entire family wanted to show us how to get to our hotel. Since we couldn’t communicate in English, they even called up someone on the phone who spoke English and explained the way. It was 23.00hrs when we arrived at our hotel in the city centre Sultanahmet area of Istanbul. This is the 1st hotel I’ve booked in advance since we started our journey, and I’m so glad I didn’t have to go around hunting for budget hostels at this time of the night.

We spent the next 4 days in Istanbul. What a wonderful city – a city full of life. We sensed the Turkish people are very helpful and amazingly friendly in contact wherever we are in our hotel, in the streets, restaurants and shops, etc. We get a feeling here that should you fall down, that 10 people will rush to help you. What a great and friendly people.

It’s here that I had to get my visa for Iran. So much has been said about the long process to get a visa for EU passport holders. From my preparations, I had an invitation code number for a visa, a phone confirmation to come to Istanbul, which means in theory all is well. Well that morning, the consulate could not find my invitation code and at first this presented a problem and my passport was handed back. However, they were quite relaxed and after some explanations they finally agreed to allow me a 14 days stay. Youpie, I can continue the journey. If the visa was not granted or if there was a waiting period, I would have had to continue via Georgia & Azerbaijan, then take the ferry from Baku across to Turkmenistan. That might have been nice too.

This bike I called “Kuda” or my horse has coped well with the weight and roads. So far its running to my liking. It’s here in Istanbul that I collected my 2nd set of tyres from GencMoto and also got the bike checked up by CC Moto for the next 10000 km.

Sadly, it’s the end of the trip for Lydia. She would have liked to continue along, but … we’ve some commitments at home in France. It’s been great to have company. It will be less animated from here on.

10 Responses to « Istanbul – So glad to be here  »

  1. Wow, uncle. You’ve visited many new places! Hope you are safe. Take care!

    Kua Family,
    Ms. Maglin, Mr. Peter, Gregory and Gideon.
    Johor Bahru,

  2. annie jeanmichel erwan gwen30 April 2008 à 1:44 pm

    bonjour sheen

    j espere que ton voyage se deroule toujours aussi bien depuis que tu as laisse ta femme a istanbul …
    l aventure continue et j attend avec impatience les prochains commentaires et photos
    d ailleurs je me pose la question si le but de ce voyage n est pas de tester toutes les differentes bierres locales
    j attend ta reponse
    bisous annie

  3. Siew Hoon & Victoria30 April 2008 à 10:12 pm

    Enjoyed,reading your interesting news. Glad that you’ve seen so many beautiful places & also met many friendly and helpful people.
    Take care.

  4. Merci à tous de visiter ce site. Les traductions ne vont pas tarder à venir.
    A Annie, la biere est encore meilleure après une longue journée.
    Bisous, Sheen

  5. Hello All,

    I hope you like some of the photos so far. Some of the events / sceneries are really great but have missed to capture them at that moment. Thanks for visiting this site.
    To Gideon, Nancy, Kua family : going to Iran border today, riding safe. Thanks.
    To Thiam, Henry & LSU fans : journey has just started. Expect to be at Chinese border in 4 weeks time.

  6. Hi dad, so far, so good 😉 Don’t worry i take care of Maman. I am so proud of you. Istanbul seems beautiful according to your nice pictures and to what Maman tells us. I hope to see you tonight on skype.

  7. Johanna & Christian1 May 2008 à 7:47 pm

    Hi Sheen,
    What fun it has been following your progress through Europe and seeing all the photos and commentaries. I’m looking forward to reading and seeing more. By the way, I like your new stickers on the bike!
    I think so many people at work must have been looking at your website during office hours that it is now ‘Websensed’ and you can now only look at it at lunchtime!
    I can understand that your children are extremely proud of you and Lydia.
    Take care and drive carefully,
    Johanna & Christian

  8. I am impressed on how fast you have achieved your first milestone of going through Europe in such a short period of time. Don’t give up on your dreams even though the journey is getting more challenging. I will be going on an overseas trip during the school holidays if I’m lucky enough to get the visa. When you are alone, look at the stars because your friends are just like them, watching you all the time. We, the LSU Tigers won’t let you down.


  9. serge/claudie2 May 2008 à 6:12 pm

    On s’aperçoit grace aux photos(Bulgarie) que la nourriture est toujours aussi importante pour la famille Kua,le pain est phénoménal.
    Continuons à te suivre,continue à nous faire réver car à notre âge on le fera pas et on t’admire d’aller au bout de ton rêve.Fait tout de même attention à toi.Gros bisous de toute la famille.

  10. annie jeanmichel erwan gwen3 May 2008 à 8:26 pm

    coucou sheen
    les photos de cappadoce sont superbes j espere pouvoir y aller un jour
    nous pensserons tres fort a toi demain pendant le bapteme de gwen tu nous manqueras
    bonne continuation et bonne route en iran
    bisou annie

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