Scenery at the town of Uelzen, Germany .
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Hamburg, Germany.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? North to Denmark!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

"We have a problem".

It was below freezing again when we woke up Saturday morning, so we headed for the border as soon as we got up. Didn't even have a coffee or breakfast. We were on a mission to find out if we could get into Turkiye!

If you missed the post the other day, I'll give you some background. Canadians need a visa to get into Turkiye, but you can apply online in advance. I had done that, and mine was approved but Ruth's wasn't. I cancelled the process, so we arrived at the border without visas, which is okay because Canadians are eligible for visa on arrival.

It was about a 45 km (28 mile) drive to the border.

Lots of trucks at the border.
This is the major land crossing between Greece and Turkiye.

First, we had to stop at the Greek side to check out. No problem there, and we were quickly headed for the bridge across the river that forms the border.

Yes, this is the major crossing between Greece and Turkiye.
The bridge is in terrible condition.

Welcome.
Even a couple of Turkish dogs to greet us.

Yes, welcome... except we're not quite in just yet!

We stopped at a little booth where they checked our vaccination status. They had a quick glance at our Netherlands paper certificates, and waved us through.

Next up was the border police. The guy looked at our passports and started doing something on the computer, then he had a few words with his coworker. I heard the words "Canada" and "visa" in there, so I knew what was coming. 

He directed us to park up ahead, and come back to the building. He gave us our passports back, and told us to walk to the cash office to pay get the visas. It took us a while to find it!

The cost of the visa is $60 USD each. And yes, it has to be $USD. That's one of the benefits of paying online... you can do it with credit card and it's easy. Fortunately, Glen and Steve had some $USD cash with them and we had borrowed $120 USD from them. Not sure what we would have done if they hadn't helped us out there! 

But the guy came back with a printed pricelist that said it was $70 USD each. Everything I had read said it was $60, but who knows. Maybe the price had just gone up? Anyhow, I told the guy that all we had was $120 USD, but I could give him €20 as well. He disappeared and came back asking for the $120. We think the paper showing $70 is a fake, and he would pocket the extra. You don't get any kind of receipt. He had a sheet of visa stickers, and proceeded to put one in each of our passports.

I was hoping we were home free at this point, but that was too optimistic!

Back at the police guy, I showed him the passports with the visa stickers in them. But he asked for them back, and went back to his computer. Eventually he says "come with me", and we followed him into a little office where the boss police guy was sitting behind a computer. 

The boss guy says "We have a problem".

He says it's not a problem that can't be fixed. He says we need to go back to the cash office because when we were here in 2020 we had overstayed our visa by nine days. We were not at all surprised by this problem because when we had left Turkiye in January of last year they had said we were being given a fine, but we didn't have to pay it. We didn't really understand the guy at the time, but now we understand... we didn't have to pay it at the time, but we do if we ever return!

So, they have an ATM at the border police building. Obviously with high fees, because why not take advantage of people! The transaction fee to take cash out was 120 lira ($11.25 CA, $9.00 USD). 

The fine was 1,063 lira ($100 CAD, $79 USD) each. We went and paid the bill, and the boss guy gave us our passports back.

Next stop was customs. The guy needed to register Max in the system. He asked for both passports and the vehicle papers. He spoke no English, and he tried asking me a question through Google translate but it wasn't translating into understandable English. "How many models is your car?" I tried telling him it was a Citroen Jumper chassis, but that wasn't what he wanted to hear. He was getting frustrated, but I was no help. Eventually he went and got someone else and they sorted out whatever the problem was.

One of the guys then wanted to see the inside of Max. So we went in, and he poked around and opened a few cupboards. Then he says "where is the bed"? So I showed him the electric drop down bed, and he thought that was pretty neat!

Back at the booth, they handed me back all the paperwork. I'm walking back to Max when I realize that I only have one passport! Ruth's was missing. I return to the booth once more, they search around a bit and shrug their shoulders as if it must be me who lost it. I went back to the police guy, and every place we had stopped while there. Starting to panic a bit now, I go back to Ruth who had been waiting with Max, and sure enough, she didn't have it. I was really confident that I had both of them when we walked from the boss guy's office back to the customs office. 

Just as we are both getting ready to walk back to the customs office, one of the guys comes running up and taps on the window, with her passport in hand! 

And with that, we drove into Turkiye...

We made it!

It took an hour and forty minutes from the time we arrived at the Greek checkpoint until we departed the Turkish checkpoint. Not bad, all things considered.

But, it cost $350 CAD in total for the both of us to get in! Oh well... not bad when spread over three months. Now that we're in, Turkiye is an inexpensive country.

And, a one hour time change.
We are now 8 hours ahead of Ottawa (eastern time). 

There is some snow in this part of Turkiye!

Just after that, we found somewhere to pull over and have a late breakfast. Glen had given us their Turkish SIM cards with some leftover data on them, but I couldn't get either one of them to work. While we were sitting there, Katja and Yves passed us on the highway. She sent me a message back saying they were going into the small city of Keşan to get SIM cards themselves, then we agreed on meeting at an overnight spot we both knew about.

We parked outside of the city and walked in. I had checked out where the Turkcell store was, but without data on my phone it took us a while to find it! We ended up asking a police officer and he walked us over to it.

It was Saturday market day.

Long story short, they also couldn't get the SIM card to work and we ended up buying another one. Total of 300 lira ($28 CAD, $22 USD) for 20GB of data. Not bad. 

We popped into a Carrefour grocery store and bought three loaves of gluten free bread. 13 lira ($1.25 CAD, $1 USD) per loaf!

Back at Max, we continued the drive to our overnight spot.

The road was in excellent condition.

We went through one higher altitude area that had a fair bit of snow!

While it's really pretty, we would rather not be seeing it in person!

Heading back down.

No more snow at the bottom.

We had one more stop to make... diesel fuel and propane gas. We purposely arrived in Turkiye with less than 1/4 tank of fuel, and with the gas bottles almost empty. The price of fuel is almost half what it was in Greece! The guy didn't even question our gas bottles, and happily filled it up. I only filled the one, because I thought the other one was still good for a couple of nights, but it ran out in the evening. Oh well, it's readily available here, and it's cheap.

Diesel cost was about 14.2 lira ($1.33 CAD) per liter. $4.00 USD per gallon. Propane was 9.5 lira ($0.90 CAD) per liter. $2.68 USD per gallon.

Pulled into the little fishing harbor at Kocaçeşme.

Sunset.

The harbor.


Katja and Yves arrived a half an hour after we did, and we sat in their van for happy hour and a long talk about our day. We're both headed in the same direction (quickly!) so we'll see them again along the way. 

Katja and Yves post a lot of great content on Instagram if you want to see them there...

Woke up to -2C this morning, and windy. This is why we are quickly heading to the south coast!

We have one stop to make today though... a quick visit to the ancient city of Troy. Its history dates back 5,000 years!

Yesterday's drive, 107 kms (66 miles).

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16 comments:

  1. Türkiye'ye hoşgeldiniz. Glad you made it throught the border. Noted that unpaid fines can catch up with you. Bob and I are also here for 3 months. Let us know when you are somewhere in Antalya province- would be great to catch up. cheers

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    1. Teşekkürler!

      We weren't surprised at all that we had to pay the fine, we were half expecting it actually and thankfully it wasn't a terribly high price. We will certainly make up for it with the cheaper food, and fuel costs.

      We will be in Antalya probable sometime in February so, yes we can try to meet up somewhere in the area, that would be nice. :-)

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  2. Finally.... All caught up. A lovely Sunday arvo catching up on the last fortnight of your travels. The Aussie racing post was weird, the rest was awesome and I'm looking forward to reading about your travels back in Türkiye.
    PS We just bought a motorhome 😊😊

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    1. You have had a very busy time these past few weeks. Again our condolences on the passing of your father but it looks like you have a wonderful celebration of life for him and he will be well remember by a lot of people.

      Anytime you see a weird looking post, it is most likely a sponsored post and if you look down and can't see any commenting then you know for sure and all you have to do is skip over it and go onto our next post and that was the case for the Aussie racing post, lol.

      Congratulations on the purchase of you new motorhome. I hope you have posted pictures on Facebook so that we can see pictures of it. :-)

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  3. Wuhoo! Always an adventure at the border! We had an interesting time leaving Albania and entering Greece, but we finally got in! Turkey looks beautiful in the snow, but I can understand why you want to get beyond it quickly! Hope Ruth is feeling better! BTW, you probably passed our friends in Frenchy LeVan (Brad & Oksana) as they left Turkey and headed into Greece. Stay safe and have fun!

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    1. Yes, border crossings are always a crap shot. This was definitely our most difficult crossing since we left Germany at the beginning of October. We look forward to reading about your crossing from Albania into Greece, obviously you made which is a good thing.

      I am feeling much better thank you. I just took my last antibiotic pill so hopefully that was all I needed and that the infection doesn't return.

      We didn't see another motorhome but as I think about it, they would have had to use a different crossing because the one we used does not allow car traffic to cross back into Greece only truck traffic but going from Greece into Türkiye is no problem.

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  4. Wonderful following your adventures. How difficult is it to buy a car or can in Europe with registration and insurance as a non resident? Do you plan to sell it after the trip? If you covered this in another post already could you point me to it? Thanks. Jaonne

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    1. We are glad that you are enjoy reading about our travels and adventures, we always try to keep them interesting.

      It is not all that difficult really. The main thing you need is an address that you can use in the country that you are going to buy your vehicle in. In our case, we bought our motorhome from a dealership that also does rentals. We have a paper that shows that we own the motorhome but our registration and insurance is actually done through the rental division of the dealership which has made things much easier for us. Yes, we will sell it when we are finished using Max but that could be quite a while yet. I don't believe that we actually covered this in any one post but if you have any questions don't hesitate to contact us for more info. Our email address is up near the top in the right hand side bar.

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  5. Wow, that could have turned out a lot worse at the border! Thank goodness they found the missing passport!

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    1. The worse that could have happened is that they turn us around and we have to go back into Greece. If that had happened then we had plan "B" which would have involved parking Max up somewhere and flying somewhere warm for a few months. We would have been ok with either scenario. We are definitely happy that they found the missing passport, that definitely would have been a big problem but we are sure that they had the passport and we weren't about to leave without it.

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  6. Great header picture of the harbour. Gorgeous colours of the boats and quayside.

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    1. Thank you! It is a pretty picture for sure, especially with the nice calm water. :-)

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  7. I was going to say how this was an expensive crossing, but after seeing the price of GF bread, I agree that you'll make it up. Here in NC, it's over $5 a loaf!

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    1. It was a bit of an expensive crossing but when you spread it out over three months and yes, take into fact that the gluten free bread is so cheap (not the best bread though but at least it is bread) and just the lower price of food in general, especially produce when you buy it at the market and the lower fuel costs it all balances out well. It is expensive in Canada too!

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