Road trip Turkey to Germany

We left Viaport Marina near Istanbul having paid a deposit for an annual contract, and started the long trip back to the Netherlands in our campervan.

The long trip back to the Netherlands
We asked for water and this delightful young man happily obliged although at first he misunderstood and ran inside and brought out a bottle of the clear stuff!

After our night on the side of the road in a lonely and rather desolate location, we headed for the Turkish border with Bulgaria.

The Turkish border with Bulgaria

When we arrived there we suddenly realised we hadn’t suspended our Turkish phone accounts so we decided to turn round and visit a phone shop in the nearby city of Edirne.

We discovered (with the help of a lovely Turkish lady who had lived in London for a long time) that the SIM cards would still work for three months without us having to top them up, making our turnaround totally unnecessary! We were very pleased that we had retraced our steps however, because Edirne turned out to be delightful.

Saw these ancient structures in Edirne – maybe water storage cisterns?

Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes and minarets. The Selimiye Mosque is particularly stunning and one of the most important monuments in the city. Built in 1575 it was designed by Turkey’s greatest master architect, Mimar Sinan.

Edirne is famed for its many mosques, domes and minarets.

Wandering along the pedestrian-only streets was very enjoyable – there was a bustling atmosphere, with numerous baklava shop windows to peer into and great sights to discover such as the gorgeous doors of the sixteenth century Rüstempaşa caravanserai (roadside inn).

Wandering along the pedestrian-only streets was very enjoyable
The baklava shop window displays
were amazing
We couldn’t resist!
One of the gorgeous doors of the sixteenth century Rüstempaşa caravanserai
Another of the beautiful doors to the caravanserai
Yep, this was definitely the Rüstempaşa caravanserai
The caravanserai from the car park

Stopping off for a tasty savoury pastry with Turkish çay at a tiny cafe, we watched the world go by until we realised time was ticking by and we should get back to our road trip.

Watching the world go by while we ate a savoury pastry accompanied by çay

We set off for the border again after enjoying our last experience of Turkish culture for a while.

A typical Turkish roadside scene

There were no problems at the border going into Bulgaria – we didn’t even have to show a Covid vaccination certificate! However we did have to drive through a special disinfection station which sprayed our van from every possible angle!

Good morning Bulgaria
Being sprayed to help stop the spread of Covid
On the road again

Towards late afternoon we caught sight of some snow on the side of the road but apart from that the weather was pleasant.

Snow on the side of the road

We stayed that evening in the same tiny little van park in Sofia that we’d stopped at on the way to Turkey.

Back in the tiny campervan site

The owner was on holiday in Austria but he was able to see us on his smart phone and unlock the gates for us remotely.

The wonders of modern technology opened this gate for us!

There was quite a lot of ice on the ground in the van park but nothing compared to the deep snow and compacted ice we had encountered last time.

Around 10am we left the van park and by 11.45 we were already approaching the Serbian border. Before we arrived we had to drive over the most appalling piece of “highway” that we’ve ever come across.

The appalling highway

It was unsealed, muddy, narrow and had diversions over huge potholes. It seemed that there had been no progress with the roadworks since we had encountered them a few months earlier.

Didn’t seem to be any progress since we last drove on this “highway”

Fortunately we weren’t held up too much and were soon across the border and in Serbia where the roads were in a lot better condition.

Welcome to Serbia!

Just as the sun was setting we arrived at the beautiful Lake Palić where we had spent the night on the way to Turkey, a few months previously.

A lovely camping spot at Lake Palić

We were able to go for a wonderful long walk around the peaceful lake while the setting sun produced a stunning light show on the glassy surface.

Such a beautiful sunset over the lake
The setting sun produced a stunning light show

The following morning we arrived at the Austrian border after just over an hour’s drive.

Jonathan heading off to buy a “vignette” to allow us to drive on toll roads in Austria
Another day, another country

We were planning to visit Vienna but Austria was still in the midst of lockdowns and travel restrictions so we decided against it. Instead we kept driving and found a good spot to stay the night a little further upstream of Vienna on the shores of the glorious Danube River.

A pretty scene in Austria

The river was lovely but it was biting cold so our evening walk was a short one!

The River Danube
Looking down from the flood protection dyke by the River Danube

Driving for long distances day after day could become boring but we keep ourselves entertained by listening to podcasts, recorded books and by noticing the quirky and /or interesting architecture, historical buildings and other landmarks that pop up along the way.

Driving back to the highway

In Austria we were intrigued to see the thought put into decorating the roundabouts (traffic circles).Within 15 minutes we saw one with a jet plane rising over it, one with some massive anchors on display, another with a mini arboretum in the centre and yet another with (strangely) a mini silo advertising a sugar museum.

We were intrigued to see the thought put into decorating the Austrian roundabouts
Giant anchors on this roundabout
A mini arboretum on this one!
A strange thing to put on a roundabout!

The last country we drove through before arriving in the Netherlands was Germany. We spent the night at a delightful campsite near Würzburg in the Bavaria region.

We arrive in Germany

We were able to camp right on the banks of the wide River Main and watch the massive barges carrying massive loads, ply their way along this important corridor.

We spent the night on the banks of
the River Main

Apart from having difficulty with getting water (the pipes were frozen) we had a good night and woke up the next day excited at the prospect of arriving at of destination of the Netherlands the following day.

Apart from a frozen hose pipe we had
a great night
The Netherlands at last

Published by

Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s