Day 16 - Bulgaria to Turkey

Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 16 - July 31, 2017
Sunny Beach, Bulgaria to Istanbul, Turkey
Countries: 19 KMs/Miles: 7095/4409
Breakdowns: 7 Time @ Borders: 21h 25m

Wanting to spend as much time in the sun as possible, Geej and Andy hit the beach early surfboard and drone in hand. Perfect morning so catch some waves and dive bomb some beach goers. Why not a breakfast daiquiri?! Whether it be on the table or in your mouth, it was damn refreshing. The rest of the Kooks followed suit, some feeling rougher than others after a big night. It was hot as stink already but they only had an hour or so to soak up the rays and strut their bronzed buff beach bods. Luckily they had taken steroids that very morning and were jacked.

After failing to get the drone up for a flight - got to remember to charge those batteries! - the men hit the water. Geej and Mikey sporting the team buggies. The latter grabbing the board and hitting the surf. This trip had got him in the best shape of his life hardly breaking a sweat ears pinned back as he paddling way out to catch the big dogs. Roof roof! After hitting some gnarly tubes that wow'd the crowd, he handed the board over to Andy who hit the sickest set 360ing one last time before riding to shore. J3 (Joel, Josh, and John) whipped a rugby ball making unreal diving catches and all catching the eyes of the many beautiful bikini clad ladies about. Geej, standing in a foot of water, unveiling a posing routine not seen since Ed Corny hit the stage to the delight of all beachgoers. The Kooks were peacocking. Or peakooking. And peakooking good. B-CAW!

It was nice to be in, possibly, the only beach resort town they would see on the quest, but under the gun, they made a hasty two hour get away. Plato typico for this group. Too bad they couldn't have another night but Turkey called and they were excited to go somewhere culturally different. They loaded up on food at a near boarder town and crossed their fingers. They had read of other teams having troubles and long waits and just didn't feel like it today. The short line the Bulgarian side gave them hope.

They were becoming pros at these crossings. Not stressing out and expecting the wait. The weather was nice enough for Head Chef Josh to set up a road side sandwich stand which the team, and a gimpy border dog, enjoyed. Easy exit and with another short line on the Turkish side awaited them. With John suntanning between cars and the line moving, Geej, ceasing his opportunity, jumped behind the wheel and perfectly eased the Skodas forward. Nailed it again! Soon enough Geej, soon enough. Now get back to blogging!

Entry into Turkey was pretty quick too which was nice. The 95US per car entry fee was not. The Kooks were starting to hemorrhage money, bleeding their bank accounts faster than expected. Not seeing the green card kiosk in advance, they wasted their chance to beat their boarder time record. But now in, and beautiful city of Istanbul only hours away, the lads sped down the smooth highways catching their first glimpses of the mosque towers and massive flags that span this huge country; never allowing you to forget where you are.

Rolling hills are warmed by the falling sun bringing Millie and YACKS to the outskirts of the capital city. The Mediterranean Sea hugging the horizon. This place is MASSIVE! It seemed never ending. Shiny cars and shiny buildings everywhere. 747s buzzing their towers. Geej and Mikey had been here before but had flown in and never saw all this. The traffic was moving better than expected as they had heard many horror stories about major congestion. Getting in late as the sun went down was a bonus. Their procrastination paying off.

A missed turn allowed them to take, and pay for, the 5km tunnel under the Bosporus straight. Without an exit until the other side, they had to take it back. Another missed turn. Damn! Who's navigating this ship? These freeways weren't exactly the easiest to figure out but the eventually they got to the old town and their home for the night, hostel Bahaus. The owner Toogie greeting them and the door, finding them parking, and rear ending Mille with his car! Haha. No harm done, and it was worth a free beer each.

With Aussies on Toogie's hit list, Joshy was forced to pay the rent. The room was nice and cool and would provide them with some good rest but not before heading to the rooftop patio for a few bottles of Efes. They had to get up early to get to the Iran consulate for opening bell so they didn't have much time here. Not wanting to waste a minute of it, they hit the streets where they noticed some other Mongol Ralliers. Their first sightings since opening day! Were they catching up to the pack?

One team was waiting their for a late joiner fly in. The U.K. four man team was running behind schedule due to some major mechanical issues. After totally replacing their engine in Bulgaria, the new one was rendered tits-up in a matter of days. Not wanting to quit, two of them fly back to the U.K. bought a new one and high tailed it back to Bulgaria to pick their teammates. That commitment. Good job lads!

Joining forces, the ten hit the streets looking for something to eat and looking for a cold beer. Although a touristy area, alcohol isn't always easy to find and is usually relatively expensive. Being a muslim country, bars are not the norm. And there are restrictions selling such things around mosques. They would have to walk a lot further happy to swap stories along the way. The sites sounds and smells of Istanbul all around them. Walking though the main square of the old town, they got to see the Blue Mosque all lit up at night. Pretty amazing!

Passing shop after shop of Turkish delights, they all settled on a kabab restaurant, of course. It was pretty lively in the area for a Sunday night. Off to find some suds, they headed toward the bridge to Asia that connects both sides of Istanbul. A nice spot overlooking the water made their beers taste even better. And it was good to catch up with another Rally team and hear their experiences. After a few, they headed back enjoying the hot night. They had an early planned getting visas, seeing some sites, and then heading east. Serefe! End transmission.