Westfalia Digital Nomads Driving Istanbul
Travel blog

Welcome to Turkey: No Parking Allowed

By on October 13, 2012

Turkish BorderIt’s been a hectic few days, so I’ll try to be as succinct as I can.

We arrived* officially in Turkey after 5 checkpoints, an attempt at a vehicle X-ray and 16,000 stamps.

You think I exaggerate? Alright, maybe a little. But not by much. After the last border check, we saw our first Turkish mosque. Welcome to Turkey.

Istanbul Traffic

The drive across the country was smooth cruising.

After dealing with Czech, Romanian and Bulgarian roads it was soothing.

Unfortunately, not much of much to see unless you really enjoy flat landscapes or are a bush fanatic. We did manage a few pics, but not many.

It wasn’t until the outskirts of Istanbul itself that things got a little stressful. There are lines in the road here, but I’m sure they’re for decorative use only. Lanes? What lanes?

Traffic Lanes in IstanbulOur little mini-van was creeping through rush hour* traffic, up against veteran Turkish cab and bus drivers. No lane, no problem- just make one. Police? Use the right shoulder, and it becomes the fast lane.

The Turkish have their own unique driving style, for sure. It’s insane.

The motorcyclists and pedestrians are just as bad, if not worse- and there we were, fighting for our little bit of pavement in the big Turkish city.

It took an hour or longer to reach the center, then another hour for finding the hostel we had a contact to. We found it, all was well. Next on our list: find a parking space. Simple.

Istanbul Bus at NightNot in this town/city/mecca, it isn’t. You have to pay for parking in 90% of the city and it isn’t cheap.

We hadn’t arrived here with much (planning on working/earning here) as it was, but parking overnight- for one night- was beyond our budget.

So we drove. And drove. Let me correct myself. Poor Armando drove. And drove.

Sign for No Car Honking

Then there were the horns. Screaching, honking, chirping in some cases. But constant. Armando joined in within a very short time, the frustration was so great.

Nothing else to do really, if you can’t beat them- join in the chaos.

San Francisco’s sister city has got to be Istanbul, only worse. One-lane windy 90 degree angles with no one paying much attention to whether it’s a one-way street or not.

Lots of heinous corners, where you could have barely fit a pinky between Mork and the wall/parked car/taxi.

Stressful doesn’t even touch on the topic. Happily, we found a place at the seaside.

It was 6:30 p.m. entering Turkey, it was 12:30 a.m. by the time we parked. Oofdah.




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