Happy Birthday Sam! We gave him a solid sleep-in… it seemed generous! Steve finally had a win with the DVLA in the UK and scored a faxed copy of a temporary registration certificate. Technically still not enough to continue, but every bit helps! After a late lunch we drove towards Ankara, eventually pulling over near Bolu, and drove into the hills until we found a perfect roadside campsite. With nobody around and a view of the town, we set up a campfire on the side of the hill while burning dead things and depleting our rum and whiskey stocks (which we have to finish before Iran anyway)!
Sunday 27 July
Our first day with the full team, and our first day without driving. We caught the ferry out to one of the Princes Islands off Istanbul, hired push bikes, rode to a beach (probably needed the exercise), went swimming, watched the sun set over the island, before making our way back to head out to celebrate Sam's birthday the following day. Also tried the local liqueur, a rather potent aniseed drink called raki. Can't say any of us were particularly impressed!
Saturday 26 July
After the elation of getting through the Turkish border without our car registration last night, back to reality when Sam told us it still hadn't arrived, which was the final nail in the coffin for keeping to our original plan! We woke up and had our first traditional meal of the trip - Turkish kebabs at a restaurant near our hotel, then we trekked to Istanbul, while battling our mighty micra overheating - Brooke poured 2.5L of beer over the radiator, then modified the windscreen sprays to spray the radiator while driving - it seemed to work! We were all impressed with the first glimpses of Istanbul, and while Craig recovered from man-flu, Brooke, Steve, and eventually Sam (after arriving at 2am from London) further investigated until the small hours with the Istanbul pub crawl!