The first thing we wanted to do after we got to Ankara was finding our car. We headed to the official Volkswagen center, but unfortunately, it wasn't there. It took some time and a few phone calls to find out, that the truck got stuck shortly before the city, because of some technical problems, but the car would be there tomorrow. And so it was. Unfortunately the truck came to late and was stopped from entering the city (they are not allowed to drive through during the day), so we had to make a round trip to collect the car and get it to the right place, using Gerrit's car and our towing experience again. And the place was right indeed. I do not believe we could have put Karossi in any better hands.
Shortly after arrival we have met Eren, another member of the VW club, who not only speaks perfect English, but also knows T3 Syncros by heart. He has repaired and rebuilt his own car so often, that I guess he could do it in sleep now. He took us to Mustafa, the best VW specialist in town. He is actually specializing in Beetles, but can repair Transporters just as well, which we were happy to witness. The garage was a simple place, no high tech toys or expensive gadget, but a few guys who liked old cars and had fun bringing them back to life. However, the diagnosis stayed the same, we had to open the engine and exchange quite a few parts. We were stuck in Ankara for at least a week.
I will not lie to you, we did not have the time of our lives in Ankara. All days were pretty much the same. We were going to the garage after breakfast and coming back in the evening to get some dinner. We had fun and enjoyed the time we spent with Mustafa and his friends, but we would rather have Karossi running again to get on the road and see the rest of the country. I felt especially useless, as there was not much I could actually do. Guys were running all over the place, helping with parts and tools, while I was spending long hours in Mustafa's room, writing our blog, organizing pictures and reading books.
Ankara is quite a nice place, but it doesn't really have that much to offer for tourists. It does have some nice restaurants and cinemas playing movies in original tone, but apart from that it is just another big city. But we had a friend who helped us communicate and organize everything, a specialist, who knew how to fix our car and all the spare parts we needed, so we had no reason to complain. And we even had some time for sightseeing, since the garage was closed on Sunday.
Monday was supposed to be the big day. The engine was nearly complete and all we had to do was to get it back in the car and pray it would work. It turned out to be quite a challenge, as the engine was not really willing to move anywhere, especially not back to where it belonged. But the guys didn't leave it much choice. I guess we all stopped breathing for a moment when Mustafa turned the keys to start the car. But Karossi responded instantly, sending huge clouds of black and white smoke and plenty of dust into the air. And he sounded good again. Everything seemed fine, apart from the fact, that the oil lamp was blinking like crazy. Something was still wrong, but since it was late, we decided to leave it till tomorrow.
We were not in the best moods when we came back next day. But when we arrived, we saw Karossi running again, no lamp blinking. Mustafa told us he had a sleepless night and stayed awake to analyze everything until he got to the conclusion, that everything had to be all right and the only explanation would be, that the oil sensor got broken on the way. It turned out he was right again. We did a test drive, then another one and when everything seemed OK, we left for Istanbul not to loose any additional day. You can imagine we were a bit oversensitive on the way, checking oil and water every hundred kilometers and listening carefully to every single noise our car made. But everything looked fine. We were loosing a bit oil, but not enough to start worrying seriously and Eren already organized a garage in Istanbul, which agreed to check everything again, just to make sure it's still fine. We were back on the road!
We have both been in Istanbul before and although we liked it a lot we were not planning to stay for too long this time. Especially that Christmas was getting closer and closer and we still had a long drive home. We just wanted to have a nice walk through the city, visit the places we liked best the last time and save the rest of time and money for the big bazaar. We had some second thoughts about it, but when we noticed, that the entrance fees for most sites are around 15 Euro we gave it up for good and decided, we would rather invest this money in a nice backgammon set, since Hafez has definitely managed to get us addicted to this game.
For the last night in Turkey we have chosen a small city called Edirne, which proved to be a perfect choice. Though it was just a short stop on our journey it allowed us to see the beauty of Islamic culture once again. Its magnificent mosques looked especially pretty during the night and the bustling bazaar was a perfect place for the last minute shopping. When all the last presents and souvenirs were bought, we were ready to go back home.
The border formalities went pretty quickly and before we noticed we were back in EU. I would love to tell you that European part of our journey was just as nice and adventurous as the rest of it and as interesting, as we originally planned it to be, but I'm afraid it would not be quite true. We tried to make the best of it, but our time was limited, it was raining all the time and we desperately wanted to get back home before Christmas. So we were basically driving from one capital to another, trying to do some sightseeing in the evening, before we would go to sleep to recover and be able to drive another long hours the next day. It was a pity, but we decided we will visit those countries again as soon as possible, as we are sure they have a lot to offer, especially in sprig or summer time.
But the most important thing is, that Karossi is running well again. He managed to get us home on time, without any troubles on the way, driving across half of Europe. And all that with his summer tires on...
It was not easy to leave him behind, but I'm sure he will enjoy his rest, parked in a nice garage until we come to collect him next spring to get him back home, to Karlsruhe. And for us the journey continues. After a short break spent with our families we are packing our bags again to get all the way down to South East Asia, for the next 10 fascinating weeks.