Welcome to Tom and Olly's summer adventure! You've probably already heard how wonderful this trip will be, now you can see for yourself!

This epic journey is part inspired by the Mongol Rally, a group of intrepids who 'race' to Mongolia in very small cars for the thrill of the challenge and to raise money for charity.

We are making our journey unique by not joining the rally and using a bigger car. We thought it would be good to support a Mongolian charity so half the money we raise will go to Mercy Corps Mongolia, which is one of the rally charities.

We are also raising money for a different charity, the Masiphumelele Youth Project in Cape Town. This charity was set up by Shake Seigel and his brother so has a personal tie to our medical school. (For anyone who doesn't know Shake he is a legendary member of the GEM staff!)

Please have a look and give what you can:

Our Justgiving page
More project info at: Masiphumelele Youth Project

We will try and use this blog thing to keep you posted on how we get on. But who knows how we'll get on updating it where we're going...

We have currently raised £350 for the Ubuntu Foundation, and by donating the car expect to raise a few thousand pounds for the Kindergarten for cerebral palsy children in Ulaanbaatar. see goodbye susie for more. (6/9/07)

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Turkish Delight

Turkish baths are not for the faint hearted. After a meal of lamb shish kebabs Tom and I went to a 400 year old Turkish bath in Istanbul's old town and were promptly beaten senseless by large mustachioed men in the name of personal hygeine. Remarkably, we left feeling refreshed and a damn sight cleaner than when we entered, not surprising considering our previous three days.

After our last post in Budapest we broke for the Romanian border, but darkness beat us to it, meaning that we left Rob in a petrol station a short distance from Hungarian terratorial limits. The latest news is that he kept 24 hours ahead of us and made it to Istanbul in time for his flight home. Well done that man.

Meanwhile, Tom and I stayed in a "thermal baths" campsite near the Hungary/Romania border and then the next day bumbled through Transylvania, involving a stop at Dracula's home town. We spent the night in a campsite outside the city of Brasov and then the next day went to a conveniently discovered Subaru dealer to have the incessant squeaking from the front tires investigated. Typically, when we took the car to the dealer we could no longer get the damn thing to squeak - just like going to the doctors. With a typical shrug of the shoulders, the boss there reassured us that everything was OK, but checked the brake pads anyway and threw a free soda into the bargain - nice guys the Romanians. About five miles later, the squeaking returned. We have decided we will have to live with this for the next 6000 miles.

Yesterday we drove through Bulgaria and their baffling cyrillic road signs. We visited a student town (V. Tarvano?) that is up and coming with British property speculators and then drove through the Shipka pass (a "towering pass", as described by the Lonely Planet) by accident at 11pm, complete with half of Eastern Europe's trucking contingent. The constant hairpin bends and kamikaze overtaking were not good for the nerves, but we eventually made it through and found a tree next to the road to camp down for the night.

Which brings us to today. Uneventful drives to the Turkey border and then to Istanbul, punctuated by a tedious, boiling hot four hours of mayhem at the border, where half the Turkish European diaspora decamped. Coming back to vote in tomorrows all important elections, or simply bringing back goodies for relatives in the motherland? In any case, it made for a deeply unpleasant, sweaty midday, and a new appreciation of the Turkish love of car horns.

Tomorrow - mosques and bazaars, and then on to Cappadocia....

1 comment:

Costich said...

Hope you don't get too tyred of that squeaking.....