14. Apr, 2016

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WEDNESDAY 29-4-15

We had a lovely peaceful night's sleep having spent the night in a TruckStop with very few trucks. It was such a nice change from all the noise of our site in Istanbul. Having showered and eaten breakfast I dumped our grey water before hitting the road again.

We enjoyed the views as we made our way north up the peninsula then heading for the Greek border. Just before we got there we filled our diesel tank since we had no idea how much fuel costs in Greece. We had done the same thing before entering Turkey because we had read somewhere that Turkey had the second highest fuel costs in the world, beaten only by some Scandinavian country or other, but fortunately if The Chef has got the exchange rate correct it's not really any more expensive.

There have been two factors that have prompted us to make this journey now. Firstly the very favourable exchange rate, and secondly the drop in fuel prices. Since getting this side of the channel we've been paying the equivalent of just under one pound a litre.

At the Turkish-Greek border it was chaos, I've no idea how many checkpoints we went through in total, talk about jobs for the boys. At the second checkpoint on the Turkish side I was queued up behind a car at a booth when, as it drove off three truckers who had parked up elsewhere jumped in front of me and stood at the booth. I swung the vehicle over more to the left as I moved forward giving them only about eighteen inches of space to stand in and clipped them all with my wing mirror. I got dirty looks from all, including the official in the booth who, when he checked us after the truckers, snatched the passports from my hand. It didn't bother me in the least, it didn't alter the fact that I don't like queue jumpers.

I left Turkey with some fond memories. I speak as I find and I found them to be both friendly and polite, they may be poor in some ways, but seem to have self respect. I've not seen one tattoo or female 'builders cleavage' sticking out of the top of a size 20 pair of jogging bottoms since we've been here. It's making me quite homesick.

When I get back home I'm going to patent my design for a Chav's pushchair. It's going to have just one handle, like a garden spade so that it can be pushed along with one hand allowing the pusher to talk mundane nonsense on a mobile phone with the other. The deluxe version will have an iPhone holder and solar charger in the centre just below the 'D' handle, to the left will be a cup holder able to hold one large latte from 'Starbucks' and on the right side a holder for 20 ciggies complete with ashtray. I really think I'm on to something.

The Turks are good folk then, but I don't want to see them in the EU, nothing personal it's just that if they join, then Europe's eastern border will be in the Middle East, butting on to Syria and Iran, and we know which EU member nation loves poking its nose in to the Middle East. Many more defence cuts and we'll have to arm the British Legion and Salvation Army to defend our homeland.

Having finally got through all the various checkpoints I pulled over to sort out the navigation. Not surprisingly I found that our Turkish Satnav did exactly that - Turkey. Never mind that's what you get when you only pay the equivalent of £45 for one. Back out to the hidden safe and out with the Garmin and its out-of-date mapping, so much so that it spent much of today wondering why we were driving through fields.

Whilst on the A2/E90 we diverted briefly in to the Lidl supermarket in Komotini (GPS: N41.110335 E25.412076). This was only the third supermarket we had been to since leaving Calais. Heaven knows if Turkey even have them as we never saw one the whole time we were there. At Komotini I stayed outside with the vehicle whilst The Chef popped in to top up with fresh provisions. Whilst sat there I kid you not, I watch a 'senior citizen' walk along the front of the Lidl store then stand up against the wall under the Lidl sign and have a pee. I couldn't believe it. I concluded that old people, just like animals, mark out their territory by cocking their leg, even if their territory happens to be a nursing home or supermarket.

After that incident I popped outside with the camera as the sky had clouded up and there were the odd forks of lightening. I was hoping to get a photograph of it. I had the camera ready with the motorhome in the foreground and the store behind ready to press the shutter. After a while I realised that some things in life are just a complete waste of precious time, and that was one of them, pressed the shutter anyway and climbed back in.

Lunch was spent in a small parking area with a toilet block. This gave me the opportunity to empty our toilet cassette. Popping in with it I noticed the cubicles were furnished with the famous Shanks white porcelain 'squatter'. My word, they must have been selling them to the Third World for years. I believe Shanks started off making porcelain gents urinals, and their logo was 'You Know Where You Stand With a Shanks'.

Today was quite a long day with plenty of driving. During this journey I have come to respect long distant lorry drivers, though having seen their toilet antics at TruckStops' I wouldn't shake hands with one.

This evening we are parked up in a large HGV parking area (GPS: N40.703191 E23.356899) off the A2/E90 about ten miles east of Thessaloniki. Currently we have it all to ourselves and I feel we are rather exposed to risk as this rest area cannot be seen at all from the road; it is hidden by a cut-through for the motorway. I think I shall pop to the rear of the vehicle and bring in a little protection for the night. Special treat this evening - fresh strawberries and Greek yoghurt washed down with liquid grapes as I like to make sure I get at least one of my 5-A-Day.