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We woke up bright and early once again, and rushed upstairs for a quick, olive heavy breakfast before heading down to find our new Fiat Doblo waiting for us. We’d had Prevlaunch. Now it was time for Turklaunch 2010. So we loaded our stuff in the back, a tight, but manageable squeeze, and we were off.

I took the first shift driving and piloted us toward the Kazakh Embassy. Part way through the drive, we realized the tank was completely empty and pulled over to fill up. That was our first encounter with Turkish gas prices, which are some of the highest in the world. We paid well over US$120 to fill the 50 liter tank. Admittedly, we were buying some more expensive variant called Euro-Diesel, but that’s really no excuse. We just hoped this tank would hold us for a while. The Doblo reportedly got amazing gas mileage… we’d have to see.

We got to the Kazakh Embassy and dropped our stuff off. This time we were introduced to the Kazakh Consulate General himself, who also coincidentally favored pink shirts, and personally reviewed our papers to see that they were in order. He decided they were and thanked us for our submission. We resisted the urge to give him a huge high five, and left.

Back on the road, we spent some hours battling Istanbul-related traffic before we hit the open road. The Doblo had a CD deck and we were listening to Wu Tang’s Enter the 36 Chambers like the good old days, and just letting the little 1.3 liter engine of the Fiat Doblo eat road.

We stopped for lunch at a little roadside diner, where we were treated to our first affordable Turkish meal of rice pilaf, kebabs and salad.

Claudia’s incoming wisdom teeth were becoming infected. We’d been monitoring it for some time. It had been waxing and waning in its severity, but today it was getting bad. Her face was beginning to puff up, and she was quickly chewing through the AsiaWheeling supply of pain killers. She was, unsurprisingly, no big eater at that meal. When we headed over to a nearby grocery shop to find some more painkillers, we unfortunately found none and were forced to resist the temptation to just fill the entire excess capacity of the Doblo with Vitaminli drink.

So teeth swollen and stomachs full, we pulled back onto the road.

We began driving through sunflower country, just endless fields of sunflowers in every direction for hundreds of kilometers. It was enchanting.

When we reached the city of Gelibolu, we purchased tickets for the Doblo on the ferry to Lapseki and began our crawl across the sparkling blue Marmara Sea, toward Asia Minor.

Once we hit land again, we worked our way across some more sunflower country until we reached the coast. We stopped for dinner that night at an amazing restaurant attached to a small seaside guest house. We feasted on fresh fish, octopus, squid, and salad, and watched the sun set into the sea. The bread was a little moldy, but so good were the sauces on the rest of the dishes that we all happily sopped them up and ate heartily. The lights periodically went on and off as we ate, which also helped us ignore the mold. We considered briefly staying there, but decided to move on into the night.

It was plenty late by the time we crawled into the cobblestoned town of Assos, where we were able to find a room at a small guest house called the Siday Pansiyon.

We had successfully made our way into Turkish wine country.


  1. otelleri | December 12th, 2010 | 3:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Unfortunately I can not see photos of your blog in using IE 9 browser…

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