So I wrote this post a few days ago but have only just got round to posting so whilst we’re currently in Armenia, I will fill in the past few days in a future post as we have a number of stories to tell.
We’ve been awfully quiet on here since setting off but we are still moving and covered about 3000 miles. As I type this, we are traversing the mountain passes of Turkey on the way to the north before we cross into Georgia. So what have we been up to?
Firstly we set off from Goodwood with Caroline taking on the famous circuit before onto public roads and… Halfords. We made it a couple of hundred metres before stocking up on all those things that we didn’t have due to our stellar organisation. From there we went to Dover and hopped on the ferry befre hitting Bruges for the night. Took a nice peaceful first day before our monstrous second day over to a car park in east Germany. After a long day of endless motorways and a gorgeous sunset, we met a Danish team in a car park in the middle of nowhere to settle down for the night after a healthy 11 hours driving. We quickly learnt that Google doesn’t estimate times well when you are driving an overloaded 1 litre Micra. Not a chance of keeping up with the Germans on their autobahns.
Day 3 involved dropping down into Prague for a party and meetup. The party involved trying to squeeze as many people into the Popemobile as possible, hearing stories of the happenings so far and generally meeting other ralliers. From Prague we ended up exploring rural Austria with thunder and lightning which was a well received given how hot it had been. Vienna was our next pit stop for a couple of hours and we’re definitely glad we did stop because it is a beautiful city. We spent the night in Budapest and the next morning wandering around seeing the changing of the guard and having what seemed like a presidential motorcade swoop in when we were on the river side at the shoe monument. We had a long day ahead of us so set off in the early afternoon for the top of the Transfagarasan Highway which Top Gear rated the best road in the world. After bumping into Yurt Lush at the campsite we took it on with them and bumped into more people on our way up. From here we have convoyed with Genghis Carn and Brothers be Trippin’ all the way to Istanbul after some time on the Romanian and Bulgarian coastline. Sadly, Sunny Beach was given a pass.
The car has held up well and mechanically not broken yet despite some scares. Other than that we have cable tied the exhaust up, given up on air conditioning and been towed out of some sand but we persevere (shout out to Genghis Carn for saving us). Since the Transfagarasan, our brake pads may as well be called sqeak pads as they sqeal with every touch. Caroline managed to rip the door handle off too but they were always overrated anyway.
Istanbul is where we took our first hostel after a week of camping and met many ralliers as we seemed to take over the neighbourhood. The city has too much to cover in the short time that we have here so we have already said that we need another trip but after the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazaar, we headed south to Cappadocia for a hot air balloon ride. This drive was tortuous and long but Caroline successfully got us there in one piece even if it costed her her sanity. After arriving at 0100, we got a couple of hours kip before our 0400 departure for balloons over sunrise. Awesome sight to see as dozens of balloons take the sky, but the most impressive part is that our pilot managed to land on the back of a trailer. In Goreme, we finally fitted a sump guard which took most of the day so we set off after 1700 and made it up to Sivas where we had attempted to camp but were informed by security that we were not allowed. Luckily, here, we met a Turkish family who invited us in for watermelon and they translated what the security guards were saying.
We are driving north to the coast near Trabzon to join the D915, affectionately known as one of the most dangerous roads in the world.
Until the next time.