Every piece fell into its place, we were ready to leave. Almost ready. Because by the time every piece has fallen into its place, we were nerve-wrecks.
That’s all folks, unfortunately without the doggo
The last two week has been incredibly busy, I scheduled everything down to the last minute, but of course when something that wasn’t my personal responsibility didn’t meet the schedule, the domino effect started, and I had to start over the whole planning again. I wrote about this in more depth in the previous post, but that was only about official, bureaucratic stuff. Obviously the tailormade personal fuckups were a lot more abundant, but at least that kind of steam can be let off on our loved ones, so I want to apologise to all those who assisted me in this madness.
Everyone cries, it just doesn’t show
The morning came, bringing along the most difficult moment. The moment everyone knew was coming, but when you’re actually standing there with your motorbike, in front of your family, after two weeks of intense insanity, saying “okay, bye, now I’m hitting the road” - that is definitely fucking hard.
Hard or not, we left, with my girlfriend, who’s coming with me in the first month on her own motorbike, just to double our chances for possible fuckups. I’ll try not to write down fuckups any more…
According to our plans we should have gotten to Istanbul within a mere two days, and we will officially launch the rocket then. Our first planned stop would have been in Nis, but when we were refilling the tanks at the gas station, we realised, that the license plate of my girlfriend’s bike was missing. Lilla was about to flip out, but since I was following a Dutch girl’s blog, who went to India and had a similar incident I knew the inevitable: we needed to counterfeit the plate. But then it became also inevitable that we won’t be spending the night in Nis. Luckily we never actually book our accommodation in advance, only last minute. We did try to get a license plate in the official way, but that lasted only for a short phone call. Since the officials said it was mission impossible, the burden of turning us outlaws lies upon the their shoulders.
Okay, this is a real fuckup!
Victims of bureaucracy
I asked a guy at the gas station if he knew a good print shop in town, because we need a license plate. When he asked back why do we actually need a license plate, at least I knew that we won’t get into any trouble going around this area without it. But we also had 3 border crossings ahead of us, and that’s definitely not gonna fly without one. The guy couldn’t tell us a print shop, se we drove straight into the city.
100% homemade, and no child-labour
After 1,5 km of driving in the suburbs, my eyes got hooked on a huge Suzuki sign that belonged to a motorbike shop. So we pulled over straight away and I told the owner what happened. He was super cool, he instantly got it, and he told us he knew the perfect place for us, where they print all kinds of shit. The shop was already closed, so he told us to return in the morning, and he’s gonna help us arrange things.
Marco, our accomplice
So we got ourselves a room, and we were there at 9 am sharp in fron tof Marco’s shop. Together we went to the print shop, where they told us, our very own, self-adhesive license will be at our disposal within 1-1,5 hours. Marco went somewhere to obtain an aluminum plate in the meantime. While he was away, we were lucky enough to wait in the repair shop behind, where he allowed us to use anything we needed. He brought the plate that we cut to the size with the tools he gave us.
the shape to the content
Of course it didn’t turn out very pretty, so I went to the hundred-year-old shop of the local aluminum expert, who made the edges really smooth. I stopped by at the print shop for the sticker, we put it on the plate in the workshop, and there it was! Our 5 EUR license plate. The type is a little different, so is the color, but it’s ours! We made it look more authentic with some dirt, so unless you look on it really closely, you wouldn’t tell the difference! Marco refused any money we offered him, so we gave him a bottle a whiskey, and we hit the road down to Sofia.
Baby, you’re on fire
We were speeding happily on the motorway towards Sofia. We were already past our first border crossing with the counterfeit license plate, when my girlfriend suddenly appears right next to me signaling me to pull over.
- There’s smoke coming of your bag!
Turns out my bag slid all the way back on the seat, down to the exhaust, that started slowly melting the plastic and the spare rubber straps inside it, that melted perfectly onto some of my clothes. The loss wasn’t that significant, but two of such incident in two days was a bit too much to handle. We temporarily fixed the issue with black tape on the inside, pink on the outside, and arrived in Sofia in the evening mentally intact after all.
Lesson #1: always double check if your bag is fastened properly!
List of losses
First day we lost a license plate, got replaced the day after.
Same day, my motorbike also wanted to take a rest, bent over, and broke my arm protection. I bought a new, no-name one in Istanbul. It has proven itself since.
On the second day my bag partly melted with some clothes in it. I grieve only my favorite scarf, and one of my sweaters, a couple of t-shirts and shirt were lost too. I bought a new scarf in Istanbul, the rest I don’t give a damn.
I felt exactly like this at the end of the second day.
In Turkey with bae
We were mentally ready for another hellish day of being on the motorway, but the sun was up all day, and the landscape wasn’t that bad either. We were a bit stressed about the license plate on the border, but obviously nobody noticed the obvious. 650 km later, we arrived in the suburbs of Istanbul totally washed out. The suburbs was tiring us for another 28 km long, and the differences between driving styles started to become obvious.
In the Friday evening traffic jam on the highway people literally become werewolves. Nobody is courteous anymore, trucks are pushing you off the road or change lanes suddenly. And when everything is hopelessly clogged, and when you’d look to escape in the emergency lane, then someone would definitely drive against traffic, who is even more fed up than you.
Actually, everyone drives the way I do in the city (obnoxiously). I wouldn’t have any problem with this, but I was freaking tired as well, and since Lilla is less experienced, it was really hard on her. But then we finally arrived in Istanbul, checked in to our hotel, which turned out to be a lot better than we expected from the price, and we dropped dead immediately.
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