So, we finally got to Ankara. I drove 17 hours and 1200 km, through snow and rain.
We (me and my cousin) left Romania at 6am – after only 2 hours of sleep -, reached Bulgaria at 7am and started the trip through a country that scared me to death last time I drove there. This time, though, I had no problems whatsoever (if we don’t include the snow in the mountains). We reached the Turkish border at 1pm. Because I already knew what to do, I went and bought the visas, I even helped the custom worker to translate to a Romanian guy there that he needed some documents to get to Turkey (problem solved quickly :D with the use of a fax machine). So, we entered Turkey at around 2pm.
Now, the adventure started: our phones were not working. So we were unable to communicate to our friends in Ankara that we will be there, but we might be quite late. We weren’t too worried about it since we thought we can buy a prepaid Turkish card at a gas station along the way (common thing in Romania). Well, wrong: no gas station in 200km had a prepaid SIM card for sale. More, no gas station allowed us to make a call in Turkey. We already started to get worried, since it was almost obvious that we would be late. So, at some point, I thought I saw a shopping mall outside of the highway and just went there. Bad luck, though: it was a kids store. And, even worse, nobody spoke English. And, since all I know in Turkish would have made those people either kill me with stones (Turkish men) or madly fall in love with me (Turkish women), we really had a problem. Well, guess what, the girl at the counter, though she didn’t understand too much, understood from my gestures that I want to make a phone call to Turkey (I showed her the number) so she called a guy that spoke English and allowed me to use his phone. Even more, he actually came with us to buy a prepaid card from a village not far away and stayed with us until we could call somebody. Thanks, Yavuz, you really helped us. If you ever come to Bucharest, send us an email or give us a call :)
Finally, one hour late, but with a working phone in our hands, we continued our trip. One more thing, though. When Yavuz heard we want to get to Ankara in 4 hours, he started laughing telling us it will take us not 30 minutes to cross Istanbul, but at least 2 hours: we would be there at the rush hour peak, when people would leave Istanbul (it was Friday, after all). That would make us not an hour late, but at least 3. Not good news.
So, we got to Istanbul in about an hour. And what a sight: lights everywhere, cars everywhere… Unfortunately, because we were already late, we didn’t stop to take any pictures, but we will stop in Istanbul at least one day. Anyway, it took as 2 hours to pass Istanbul. On a highway that had 6-9 lanes. That was mad.
Finally, at 11 pm we entered Ankara (the wrong way, which made us wait another 30 minutes to meet with our friends). At 12:20 am on Saturday, we were at our designated apartment for the next 2 weeks. We got the all-wanted sleep.
First day, in the next post.