Wednesday 16 May, Day 13 – Paros – Syros – Kos
Up early and broke camp. Heading for Turkey today. Had to give my gear a good shake to get rid of all the earwigs. There was one in my boot. I ditched some bits and pieces in the camp site bin including the Hi-Viz vest I had to wear in France but didn’t think I would need again. Sat down with Paul and Linda for a chat, they had been to Mykonos and Delos the day before and enjoyed Delos where no-one is allowed to be born or die.
Went into town and changed all my UK Pounds to Euros. I need to spread these around in my gear in case I get turned over but think I will put them all in one pocket at the border in case the customs officials will go through everything. I don’t want them finding hidden money while I am not there. Sticky fingers!
Paul asked if I was going to Cappadocia on my way through Turkey. Apparently there are some great caves and the remains of an underground city. This would be a great place to visit and I am looking for something to break up the trek across Turkey.Boarded the 16.30 boat to Syros and John came along to see me off. He took a couple of photos and promised to email them to me. Had to hang around Syros harbour until 23:10 for the boat to Kos so cooked myself some Batchelors chicken noodle soup on the dockside and did some minor maintenance on the bike. Still got a problem with an intermittent electrical fault on the ignition. I think this is just a dodgy connection or earth and tried playing around with the cable running to the ignition key. This seemed to improve it but it’s still not right. The ferry to Kos was the Blue Star 2 and is possibly the biggest ferry I have been on in Greece.
I was slightly concerned to see that the garage crew weren't intending to tie the bikes down but I guess this meant we were in for a smooth crossing. The crossing to Kos is approximately 8.5 hours so I found a good spec and settled down for a long night.
Thursday 17 May, Day 14 – Kos – Bodrum – Turkey
Arrived Kos about 7.30 am and met an English guy called Paul Moody, and his stepson Connor, in the queue to get off the ferry. Paul had been a pro footballer back home and knew a couple of faces I knew. They had driven down from the south coast of England and were heading for Paul’s place at Altinkum.
I got lost in the hold of the ship looking for the bike and started to panic a bit as these ferries are very quick turnaround and I had visions of being on my way back to Syros without getting off. This was a seriously big boat, and I was relieved when I found the bike and she was still upright and safe and sound.
I rolled off and made my way to the harbour front. I thought it was best to get booked on the boat to Bodrum asap as I wasn’t sure how big it would be. I was pleased to find I could by a ticket in the first office I walked in and paid 55 Euros for a passenger with moto. Nikos on Paros had got the price spot on. The boat didn’t leave until 16.30 so I had a good few hours to waste. I spent some time wandering around the ancient ruins of Kos Town and went for some lunch.
I had another go at getting my indicators working and had the bike stripped down on the harbour front working on it. This got a bit of attention and I handed out a few of my cards. I made my way back to ferry terminal early and it was just as well because the agent I had bought my ticket from had not let the operator know I was coming. Luckily there was space on the boat. I met up with Paul and Connor again on the jetty and they were booked on the same boat. Paul was panicking a bit about the height of his camper van as the ferry had a sign saying maximum height 2.05m but there was plenty of room.
He went and got a tape from the office and we reckoned the van was about 2.01m. It wa going to be close. Went through passport control and customs with no problems but I knew the interesting bit was going to be on the Turkish side. We loaded the vehicles on board and I was a bit concerned to see there were no ropes for tying the bike down. I spent quite a bit of time standing next to the bike when the waves got a bit choppy, just in case.
Got talking to Paul and found out their route was across France and Italy and then 24 hour ferry from Ancona to Patras. Paul reckoned their mileage getting this far was only about 1000. Arrived Turkey and went to passport control but was told I needed a visa. I could buy one there and then for either £10, 15 Euro, or $20. I had converted all my pounds so had to go for the Euro option.
Anyway, I got through passport control and went to see customs about temporary import of a vehicle. This was the part I was dreading, I had heard stories about bikes being stripped on the quayside. It turned out to be a formality and once they had seen my green card insurance I was waved through without an inspection. Result!
Customs had asked where I was staying and I just said ‘on a campsite in Bodrum’. I took a look around Bodrum and decided to get out of dodge. I joined the main road north and found a great site at Guvercinlik, right on the sea. The owner was so friendly, and we managed to communicate conversed using the little German that we both knew. I set up camp and went shopping in the local mini mart. I was made up to see that prices here were considerably cheaper than Greece. I bought some essentials and went back to camp to munch and turn in.