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In Bulgaria!

May 3, 2016 1 Comment

Here we are in Bulgaria!

Crossing Border into BulgariaI’d said to Lynn and maybe others, that traveling in Turkey was easy, and like being on a holiday. I should have thought better… we have just spent 5 hours at the Turkey/Bulgaria border crossing!

Issue 1:

Turkey has a law forbidding you to leave the country without your car, unless you have the declaration papers. We knew this, and despite our best efforts at Istanbul Airport, last December, Customs there weren’t interested in signing the form. So, we left anyway. We got out of the country, so we put that issue behind us – wrong.

When we hit customs at the border crossing, to leave Turkey, it was all, you guys – ok, but your car – big problem. So, the fine was 534 TL ($250), but, they had NO credit card facility at the border. They sent us to Duty Free store, to go to an ATM, (bankomat), but the ATM was no where to be seen. So, back to the customs guy and say, your problem.
“How much cash you got?” – “We got 55TL” – not for a bribe, but to see, if we got close, then they would take, and receipt, that. We got them to ring our Toyota friend from Istanbul, Umut Kir. They offered, and we accepted, for one of their guys to drive us 20km back into Turkey, to go to the closest ATM, to get the dosh out. Sounded ok to us.
That was done, another hour pissing about with letters, then we shot out of customs like a dart.

Issue 2:

To enter Turkey you need car insurance. A “Green Card”. We didn’t have one, cause we bluffed the guy at the Georgia border, last December, that our Carnets were our insurance. So, while Turkey would let us out, Bulgaria wouldn’t let us in! The passport guy was great. Leave me your passports, drive through the gates in front of you, drive 1km into our country, change some money, buy a Green Card, come back, (against the flow), see me, and all will be good.

We started that, but the guy at Customs is Billy Connelley’s twin, moves real slow, believes no-one, and had to walk himself back to passport man, have a protracted discussion, then come back and reluctantly lift the boomgate. Thanks mate!

Then, the girl who sells insurance out of an office smaller than the NSW Premier’s dunny, was out, maybe having a pee.

Anyway, she was great, the certificate was purchased, 150 bucks for 3 months, then we backtracked thru the border crossing. You try to explain to a soldier, with a machine gun, that the reason you are going the wrong way is on instruction from a passport man. They must have rung through, warned the booths, and we got a free run.

All signed up and into Bulgaria.

It’s a pretty, fertile country with good roads so far. We are camped beside a dam, clear water, adjacent to what looks like an old bomb shelter, with kitchen and bedroom. We’ll look that up.

Bye for now!

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  1. Barry Armstrong says:

    Great read Al,

    We will see if we can use your experience to get out of Turkey and into Bulgaria is a more civilized manner. How many parts including Kanga did you knock off our car in Istanbul. We might have to accelerate a bit to catch up with you just to P%$@ on your fires.
    Thanks for the info.
    Barry & Dooooona

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