Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Misery loves company

Everything seemed perfect. Karossi was back on the road and Europe was getting closer with every hour of the drive. Unfortunately, our joy didn't last long. We haven't even made it till Van, our first goal right after the Turkish border, when Karossi started making some really scary noises and began to loose oil faster than we could refill it. We were stuck again. This time on a quiet and deserted fuel station, in the middle of the mountains, where the temperature were somewhere below freezing. Help was on the way though! Gerrit, who seemed to be getting experienced in saving our lives, was only one day behind us. The situation was not hopeless yet.

Fortunately we were in a Muslim country, where people are famous not only for their hospitality, but also creativity. Before we noticed someone organized tea and warm food and heating was turned on in a nearby praying room. Such rooms can be often seen along the highway, those are usually small spaces with a carpet on the floor and few praying utensils lying around. But for one night, right after the evening prayer it became a bedroom for two. Sleeping there was a bit weird to be honest, but since the only alternative was a unheated, nearly frozen car, we decided to go for it. But how do you behave while sleeping in a praying room? Should you put your head direction Mecca? Or the feet maybe? Should you keep your headscarf on? I still haven't found the answers to all this questions, but we slept well anyway. And the next day we took our beloved towing rope out once again and hang it at the back of Gerrit's car, ready to be dragged for a countless number of kilometers, trying to stay warm in the unheated car, that was for some reason still letting the freezing winter air in. We have gathered some significant experience in those matters, but somehow it still wasn't my favorite way of traveling.

We were all completely run down when we reached Van, so we stayed in the first hotel we managed to find. Tomorrow the whole car fixing procedure would start again. We had no idea where to begin with and we soon found out that communicating in English would not get us far. We definitely needed help. A short internet research led us to a site, which changed our Turkisch adventure for good. When we were posting our question on we were not having any high hopes. We described our problem shortly before going to bed, hoping that maybe someone would give us an address or a telephone number we could try for a start. We couldn't believe our eyes when we checked the page the next morning. There was a whole list of new posts and T3 fans from all over Turkey were getting involved to help us solve our problems. Altug, one of the fan club members from Istanbul called us early in the morning and the plan was made. After breakfast we would meet with Enver, a member form Van, who would take us to his mechanic to see what went wrong. And so we did.

I have to make a short pause here, as there is one small, but very important detail, that is certainly worth some attention. The breakfast. In Van breakfast is not just a meal. It's a piece of art! For around 4 Euro per person your table turns into all you can eat and drink buffet, filled with fried eggs, olives, different kinds of cheese and meat, amazing honey dishes and vegetables of all sorts. No matter how hard the day ahead may seem, after such a delicious start all problems look only half as hard and scary.

Unfortunately, our problems were still pretty serious. The mechanic heard the noises only for a few seconds before he knew, what was wrong. We would have to take the engine out and exchange quite a few parts. However, it made no sense to do it in Van, as we would have a lot of trouble finding all the parts and tools we needed. Going to Ankara was the only reasonable solution. Enver started working on this task immediately. We needed to transport Karossi through half of Turkey, the land with highest fuel prices in the world, without ruining our budget. We decided to check it with ADAC, our insurer, to see if we can count on them for any support. Unfortunately, they normally do not cover anything more than 150km and we needed around 1000 km more. Anyway, they told us they need an opinion from the official VW garage to provide us with any help in the first place. We considered it a waste of time, but decided to do it anyway, since the garage was not far and we didn't know what kind of help may still be necessary.

Once again a few seconds were enough to clear the situation and the previous diagnosis was confirmed. We needed parts and a T3 specialist, and Ankara was the place to go. Though they had a very professional garage in Van, with some really good mechanics, they were specializing in the newest models and had too little experience with old cars like ours to risk doing the job. But they wanted to help us anyway. Few phone calls were made, information were exchanged, meanwhile Enver joined us again to help clarify the matters in Turkish language and before we noticed we were presented with a solution, better than anything we could have expected. In a few days a truck filled with new cars would come to Van. The cars would stay there, but the truck, nearly empty, would be driving back to the capital, ready to transport Karossi all the way for a standard flat rate of around 120 Euro. Knowing the fuel prices in Turkey (reaching sometimes above 2 Euro pro liter) we knew we could hardly leave the town for this amount of money, so we accepted it without thinking twice. Moreover, when the garage called our insurance company to clarify the matters ADAC agreed to cover all the costs. We had a plan again.

Only one question remained. What would we do in a meantime. The VW garage told us we only need to leave them the key and the copy of the car documents and they would take care of everything else. We knew we would most certainly get stuck in Ankara for a couple of days anyway, so we didn't want to waste any additional time. We still wanted to see the country and have some fun before we would get stuck in one place again. The decision was made quickly. We packed our stuff in no time and threw it into Gerrit's car. For the coming week we would travel together in his Toyota. It would allow us to do some serious sightseeing and help him reduce the exorbitant fuel prices. We took off immediately. 


  1. I am so happy the misery ended and you met great people on your way and got safely home for Christmas. But most of all that you are staying strong together. Being all the time with each other is not easy:) Hats off for you! and now back on the road! I mean I assume Karossi retired for now and will be doing part time trips in the future only:)
    The photos are so beautiful!
    I will be following updates impatiently. Have a great great time!

  2. We certainly have enough plans for Karossi, so no worries. It's crazy, but somehow the more you travel the more you still want to see. And what's worse, you want to come back to the places you already know too... I am only not sure how we will find time (and money)for all this.