Friday, 20 April 2007

The road to Istanbul

Without any money we entered Bulgaria by night. A lot of gates and checks, and then in nomansland a small office man: `Pay 5 Euro`. For what`? Frans asked. Again: `Five Euro´s`. Ok, we did not have a single Eurocent. The last peage we emptied all our pockets to get through. The man let us sweat, then smiled: Ok, you can pass. We had already a lot of stress on the way because our last Euros were just enough to pay peages in Kroatia and the first one in Serbia, and the last peage costed all our Serbian dinars. Ok, we are crazy not bringing any cash. No bank wants our travelers cheques. But somehow we managed all the times passing with just enough money. Thank the almighty!

In Bulgaria roads got worse again, it was night, we just drove in a side street, and slept on a field between the stars. In the morning we saw the view: we slept close to a snow mountain again. We drove to Plovdiv, recommended by Frans´mother because it was such a quiet, nice town when we are there in 1990. But Bulgaria has changed a lot! Now it is a westernized city, full of shopping crowds and traffic, huge commercials and hard to find the picturesque spots in between them. The landscape also changed. Empty fields full of trash, some herds with goats or cows just in between the trash. On a stop Gaya and Frans had an encounter with a wine farmer, hitting his donkey to work harder. He was very nice to us, but not so nice to his donkey.

The project we wanted to visit in Bulgaria was canceled, and so we decided to drive further, being so close to Turkey. The Turkish border was a huge terrain and we passed at least twelve checks. At one they sent Frans to get a visa, and meanwhile the others ´checked´our buss, found Gaya. One of the officers took her on his arm and walked to the other officers. They all melted as little boys! This was just the beginning of a long story of masculine, macho man shouting, bubbling, laughing, tickling, kissing, when we pass with Gaya. It is hard to walk streets in Turkey because everyone wants to talk to her, touch her. Massalah, a bless of God, people say all the time. We have to give a good travel advice: it is not always easy to travel with a baby, but it also makes everyone weak and friendly. Even the most annoying market sellers just melt and forget to sell us anything!

Again we slept on some fields, next morning we drove into Babaeska, a small town. We felt a bit like home again in Kreuzberg, and people even spoke German to us. The first mosques, the calling for prayers, the different atmosphere, we started to realize we entered another world, somehow. But this was just the beginning...

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