To Ankara and Istanbul, Turkey Week 118 July 2nd - 3rd 2013
Another 4am start.

Peter and Margaret are hopeful of a balloon ride.

We are sad to leave them. Willem - they are well.

We drive to Ankara. About 275 km.

Pick up passports with Kazakhstan visas some time after 9am.

We've seen lots of wheat growing.

This is the first time we've seen any significant "infrastructure".

Past the "rafinerie" again.

Something a bit odd about a refinery in the middle of the country, away from the coast, with no evidence of oil or gas wells or pipelines. 90% of Turkey's oil is imported.

We are confused by Turkey's fuel. Apart from being the most expensive we've encountered there's pricing for diesel at around 3.90 Turkish Lira and again around 4.20. Signs for Eurodiesel and Motorin. Apparently it was standardised on Euro Diesel in 2011 and the two labels may refer to the pump nozzle.

Add to that the fuel consumption has been climbing. Along with a noticeable lack of power.

Today I removed the sticking exhaust pipe cover. Power seems ok but it will take another fill or so to confirm problem fixed.

Perhaps this is the third of our "visa", "internet" and now "fuel" problems. They always come in threes!

The outskirts of Ankara again.

Islands of high rises.

"And they all live in little boxes"?


The Kazakhstan Consulate was a pleasure to deal with again.

Just the form and our own letter with a brief itinerary and hotel names.

No letter of introduction. No confirmed hotel bookings. No hassle.

A quick trip to the Kipa (Tesco) supermarket in the Panora shopping center. But no chocolate biscuits.

A quick snooze.

Then off towards Istanbul, and the next Chinese consulate. 

Before Nallihan we passed an interesting looking power station.

At least interesting to me anyway.

The short columns in the background seem to be some sort of forced air evaporative cooling.

We haven't seen any conventional cooling towers.

There's a large underground mine, coal preparation and bedding plant next to the power station.

And a series of smaller mines through the valley.

All connected by conveyor belts from underground to power station.

The coal looked relatively poor,  somewhere between low grade brown and high grade anthracite.

A different sort of coloured mountain.

Just as we begin to see trees as we travel west we see a mountain with no vegetation.

The lake in front of the mountain is part of a larger man made lake.
A bit of cloud.

And a few spots of rain.

Through Nallihan.
And then some mountains with "real rock".


We camped next to a roadside water fountain with a relatively easy 250 km drive to Istanbul remaining.

576 km for the day (about 10 hours with 8 hours driving). Our 6th longest day.

So up at the crack of dawn again.

About 260 km to Istanbul.

Rolling hills and wheat have given way to mountains, trees, and pig or chicken farms. 

But down to the valley on fast road.

To join the motorway to Istanbul.

Basically built up from a hundred km east.
With a bit of industry.

And lots of ships as we approach the Bosphorus.

Plus it all got taller.
We simply followed the gps to the Chinese consulate.

Across the Bosphorus on the northern most bridge.

Then turn right and follow the coast.

One of the other bridges in the distance.
We are camped just along from here. 

About 1km north of the Tarabya Hotel.

The Chinese consulate should have been there but it had moved.

A very helpful Turk wrote down directions. First turn away from the sea to the south of the Tarabaya Hotel. Up a very steep climb, a couple of corners, and a left turn.

He also later practiced his only English - "no problem" - when we asked if we could park and sleep.

The consulate have a policy of only dealing with agents. We were given the phone number of an agent. They even phoned for us and we were given a city center address.

In Taksim. Site of recent rioting. And armed forces on street corners.

Looks like a thriving whelk fishery. Diving.

While Ali defended the truck against anyone it needed defending from I took a taxi to Taksim.

The bureaucracy required a citizenship certificate - we now have letters of no objection from Australian DFAT. Plus new photos and bank statement copies. 

Our limited understanding suggests the requirement for residency / citizenship certificate may be an impost of the Turkish government.

Time and energy ran out. We'll apply Thursday through the agent.

It will take a week to process.

It is, however, a huge step past "no".

Tardis is just visible behind the minibus in the centre of the photo.

We spent the afternoon watching ships on the Bosphorus.

Captive to someone else's timetable and agenda, waiting for visas, we are a tad restless.

Not much different to chasing a spare glow plug in Norway really.

Istanbul,Turkey Week 118 July 4th 2013

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