This website was the blog we kept...

The official website is here:

Also, my latest adventures are here:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Returning the Car

Just when you think you read it all, there is more!

We celebrated the bike ride over a two night stay in a lovely Istanbul hotel, visited the famous Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, and then it was time to go our own ways.

Cindy flew to London to go have a break with her daughter in Ireland, Troy flew to Brisbane to have a naughty catch-up weekend with his girl (apparently). Lucas will soon be flying home to Canberra from Istanbul and Heather is going back to Canada via Scotland to visit her very pregnant girlfriend before leaving Europe.

David and myself got into the support vehicle and headed for Holland. It is a long trip! We left at 11am on Monday morning and with panic in our eyes, two GPS units on the job, and me with a map as well, we negotiated the Turkish traffic to get out of Istanbul.

We made it out of Istanbul without a hitch and soon after got to the Turkish Bulgarian border. We knew that Troy had driven the car into Turkey and had a stamp in his passport to say so. With our incredible foresight we got a photocopy of that page in his passport and the front page as well, and a statement of Troy to say he has left the car with us to return to Holland.

The customs found this an irregularity and we were sent from one to another building, none were easily found and noone was easily understood. IT was a frustrating process which we finally got through after two hours of juggling, custom officers pointing at the photocopy of Troys passport and telling us he was Mafia and we had to pay a US$100 fine.

Next we were faced with many toll roads along many sections of highway. Not all roads looked like highways of course, but we got through the Balkan countries with one stop in Bulgaria and the next in Austria. We literally went THROUGH the Alps using amazing tunnels. The scenery was great and I was glad not to be cycling over these mountains.

Once in Austria the car's navigation system kicked in and we belted down the freeways at 130km/hr in the ultra slow lane. Most people appear to do 160 and many over 200 km/hr. Amazing! We got into the Frankfurt rush hour, learned to use the smart dynamic navigation system which keeps into account current traffic conditions (it diverts you automatically and turns up the radio when the traffic updates come on). When we got stuck in gridlock in Frankfurt we pressed the BLOKADE button and blocked out the next 10km which we assumed were not moving. Immediately the navigation system diverted us off the next exit and around the problem section of the freeway. The unit also told us we would be in Holland by 11pm.

And so we got to a friend's house late at night where we enjoyed a scotch before retiring to bed. Today we will clean the car up a bit before returning it to Martin. We are exhausted! Not sure what we will do in Holland but I think it will include lots of sleep and laundry! Will keep you posted when we find a place in Amsterdam to do just that, I expect it will be Saturday.

No comments: