Balkan Flare – day 3

Today we woke up at 8.00 in the morning. Or I shall say we were woken up. First the hotel phone rang. I was still asleep as I picked it up and put it back again to notify the caller that I have no intention to take the call. A minute later someone knocked. Csabi opened the door only to see the boy from yesterday evening standing there. He immediately started talking in Anglo-Turkish and said something about the motorbike keys. It didn’t take a genius to figure out he wanted our keys. We explained that he’ll never get them but if he waits 5 minutes we’ll dress up and go with him to see what he wants. As it turned out the parking lot opens @ 8.00 and they needed the space for cars so we needed to move the bikes. As we sat on the bikes to follow the guy in charge the boy jumped on my pillion and asked for a ride. as he seemed excited I didn’t want to ruin his day but told him to watch his head as we descended to the basement. They showed us our new parking spots and we parked the bikes then headed back to the hotel for breakfast. As a matter of fact we would have gladly slept some more. 
After breakfast we headed to the city for a walk and to get a nice coffee at Starbucks. 
With our coffees in hand we went to the nearby park and sat on a bench to enjoy the nice weather. In about two minutes a guy showed up and offered his services to polish our shoes. I got out of the situation mainly thanks to the experience gathered in Africa and partly as I was wearing my Converse 🙂 But Csabi is far too nice to win the argument against these pushy merchants and he was persuaded he needed a shoe shine…for which he ended up paying around 15EUR. He learnt his lesson well as he quickly changed his style and was bothered less and less during the day.
We visited the Blue Mosque and sat in for a Turkish coffee before heading to Hagia Sofia. 

After that we walked around in the direction of our hotel looking for a place to get some food. Just on the corner we found our spot as we sat at the only table enjoying a good Köfte and chatting with the owner who spoke Hungarian. 

Once back at the hotel I updated the blog and we decided to head back to the city to enquire about the hop-on hop-off tours. As we found it a bit expensive and too long we returned to our room for our gear and picked our bikes. We wanted to ride to Asia on motorcycle so we hit the traffic which was a real joy. I just love the driving morale – or for that matter the lack of it – as you can use any path you choose just like in a driving game. At one point we even used the sidewalk to overtake a stranded bus. We crossed two bridges to arrive on another continent. Just as we saw the sign “Welcome to Asia” we had to stop at a toll booth. Luckily yesterday we bought a card from a dodgy guy at one of the  toll checks and we were sure we got ripped off. But as it turned out the card is valid. The official said we have to use it one after the other but we opted to go at the same time so when the gate opened up we sped through side by side accompanied by the gazes of the amazed traffic policemen on the side of the road. We found a spot where we sat for a while and took some pics. 
We then went back to the hotel and parked the bikes to their spot. On the way back we stopped at a Suzuki dealership to buy some chain lubricant for Csabi and tried to get a new windscreen but in vain. 
Around 6.00 pm we again hit the streets as I took my camera to make some photos. 
We had dinner in a local restaurant – strictly no tourists – and it was really great even though we could hardly communicate with the waiter. It was after 9.00 pm that we arrived back at the hotel and I spent the last hour updating the blog with today’s events. Tomorrow we’ll leave for Greece and hopefully some great weather and excellent food. 
Ride safe 🙂

Daily trip data:

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