07 August 2018 17:42
Prima, dass die Zwei ihren Traum live leben dürfen/können und das auch noch mit einem High Quality Truck der Sternfamilie 👌
Weiterhin viel Freude und gutes Gelingen
It's 7:30 in the evening, we're sitting in our living area where the temperature is 30 degrees. There's not a cloud in the sky. There hasn't been any rain for days, and the humidity gauge points to "low" – a taster in advance of the drive through the desert. We are in Ankara, Turkey, and we've parked our Axor in front of a hotel. Out in the country we've generally found more pleasant places to stop than this one. But if you're in a city, it's certainly wise to pay more attention to safety. Also, we have a Wi-Fi connection here.
We've done 3,600 kilometres to get to here. From Switzerland, we drove through Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. That was followed by a short stretch through Bosnia, then Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Turkey. The Axor and all the technology in the living area are working as they should. All we had to do up to now was change one little headlamp bulb. But that was already ten years old. In Slovenia we refuelled and then we did not need fuel until we got to Turkey. The AdBlue tank is still half full too.
The daily distances vary between 100 and 500 kilometres. That partly depends on whether we can keep driving or if, for example, we have to wait at a border. Or if we need to find a cash dispenser or to fill up our water supply. And of course it depends what there is to see along the route.
One of the first highlights was Croatia: rugged coastline, green plains, wild mountains with lakes and historic towns – there was a bit of everything. Even a great encounter with some of the locals: we'd just found a nice place to camp next to a reservoir when two cars drove up with five people on-board. They asked if we minded them having a barbecue next to us. In the end there were a dozen cars, and there was a huge party with sausages, beer and karaoke – using our 230-volt power supply for the speakers. We communicated – as almost everywhere – mainly with gestures and sign language. Finally, they invited us to drop in on them on our return journey – for another party.
In Albania we got that real holiday feeling. We visited ruins, camped on windy beaches, and we found some remote hot springs. We particularly liked the hinterland: villages that hardly ever see a tourist, narrow roads, barren mountains above green hills, and some tasty lamb stew. All very unspoilt and traditional. We also had plenty of opportunity to take everything in: the roads became narrower and rougher, and even the main roads were gravel tracks, so our average speed in Albania was only 44 km/h.
In Greece the roads were easier to drive on again. We were particularly impressed by the monasteries of Metéora built on high sandstone outcrops. It was a spectacular place; we'd never seen anything like it before. We spent the night at a vantage point, so first thing the following morning we were able to visit one of the monasteries. The peace and quiet and the scents were quite unique.
One night on a beach in Greece, we watched a huge storm brewing up over the sea. We were woken by the lightning. It looked like light effects from a strobe lamp.
In Istanbul we found the perfect location: in a park by the sea, only ten minutes' walk from the Ayasofya. In places like that, we are normally a bit restricted because of our dog. We can't take Aimée into a mosque or to a museum, but we can't leave her alone too long either. But thanks to that location, we were able to do two or three hours of sightseeing so we could soon be back with Aimée; then after a short break we were able to go exploring again. Of course it was fantastic crossing the bridge over the Bosporus from Europe to Asia.
We camped in some picturesque bays by the Black Sea. We were never alone, especially at the weekends: the Turks love to camp on any free bit of sand, with chicken on the barbecue and lots of black tea. We are so glad that Turkey is on our return route too. The country has such a lot to offer, both in terms of culture and scenery.
By the way, many roads in Turkey are more modern and in better condition than in Switzerland. And virtually every Mercedes-Benz truck we meet is an Axor. That is hardly surprising, really, as for a long time the Axor was built here in the Turkish town of Aksaray.
In Croatia – where the roads are also excellent – we gave our truck a little facelift: we stuck a lot of the stickers with coloured hands that were stuck to our living area onto the radiator grille. Now our truck looks less like a military vehicle!
What are the hands about? Before we set off on the trip, we collected donations together with the Swiss Red Cross (SRK). They are used for projects to combat eye diseases in Africa and Asia. For every donation above 50 Swiss francs, the donor is allowed to stick a hand on our motor home.
A multi-coloured radiator grille, diesel in the tank and unbroken love of adventure – all in all we are perfectly equipped for the first of our four extreme locations: the Dasht-e Lut desert in Iran. The rough plan is to be there in the first week of August. And everything points to the fact that it could actually reach the 70 degrees Celsius ground temperature that we're prepared for.
Part 4 of the RoadStars series will be published on 27 August. Stay tuned!
4-Xtremes – the tour of superlatives.