Arrival or 3000 km through Europe with an old VW bus.
After about one and a half week driving through eastern/southern Europe we finally arrived healthy and fine in Istanbul Friday 5 p.m. local time. There are tons of things that I could write about and I probably will. Right now we are in an Internet Café of Michaels girlfriend on the Seaside of the Bosperus. We donīt have Internet at our house yet as we will be moving to a shiny new flat tomorrow. The old house is a "little" too rough for our taste. I mean its kinda nice and all but lacks everything including warm water and it has lots of fleas.
Anyway a short driving history for those who are interested.
Wednsday two weeks ago we started from Kleinmachnow (south Berlin) Germany around 5 p.m. after a much too long pack up going direction Wien (Vienna) via Prag (Prague). All went totally smooth almost no check on the chech boarder until about half an hour before Prag the oil lamp went on in the car. Made me very very nervous. After rechecking the oil level and filling it up with another 2 liter oil the car stopped on the autobahn after going off the next exit it bahaved ok and we decided that it was because there was too much oil in it now that need to be burned. Around 12 p.m. 1 a.m. we arrived in Prag and trolled around in the city for an hour and continued our ride. I decided that it would be nice to reach Austria the same night and sleep somewhere behind the chech/austrian boarder. After about on hour on the autobahn the oil lamp came back on and I got even more nervous. The car sounded fine responded fine and nothing seemed wrong. So we started ignoring it. At around 3-4 a.m. we reached the Austrian boarder (after some big detour inside the chech country side because of road constructions) and found a grape hill field to park in away from the street and had our first night in the wild. Next morning we got woken up by the sound of a chainsaw or something similar. We figured we should make some tea and get moving. On the way we called Michaels ex wife Claudia to ask her for a night over inside Wien.
Arriving sometimes around noon in Wien we had a rough map in one of our European maps but couldnīt figure out were the heck we came into the town so after driving around for about an hour we finally found the area that we needed and found Claudias appartment. All fine we moved in for the night got a shower and hooked up with Eva from 4youreyes who happened to live just around the corner to get my instructions for the "big open air" festival at the "Wiesen". She gave us all the infos we needed to get going and roamed Wien for the rest of the day. When we came back we got shouted at from neighbors - aparently the alarm system of the car was going on every 3 minutes. Great so that was of no use to us for the rest of the trip.
Had a nice sleep in Claudias apartment until another chainsaw woke us up - the cut down the only tree at the back of the house at 6 a.m. - great. So we tried to get us awake and after chatting with Claudia for a while went on our way to the Wiesen.
On the way to Wiesen the Oil lamp came back on with that nice warning sound. Great feeling I can tell you having 2000 km ahead of you and the oil lamp keeps signaling you something is terribly wrong with your car. I figured out when I drive for a certain time faster then 90 km/h and then go down in speed below 70 km/h the oillamp blinkenlights happened. So we kept ignoring it. Arriving at the Wiesen around 3ish p.m. we sat up our car at the VIP parking place much too close to the main stage (very loud) and got our tickets and stuff (always with G5 with all my data on it left in the car). Roaming around the festival area we found it much much smaller then anticipated - they must have made the photos I got in before with a very very wide angle lens. The video setup on both floors was quite nice. The mainstage where I was supposed to play had twelve 10.000 lumen beamers - which brightened up the room extremely. Strolling around the festival for the rest of the night until about 11 p.m. when it was my turn to rig up. I was playing from a back corner and apparently there where not enough people to fill the 6000 ppl holding tent. So I was standing in this tower all on my own with no crowd interaction - very great... At point midnight Miss Kittin came on stage and she must have had a terrible experience or something because I have rarely heard such a shitty DJ set from a supposedly high class DJ. It could have been the shitty sound system that didnīt transport enough music back to my tower anyways I had not the greatest night on earth and just right after my gig we listened and watched a little of Hell and 4youreyes until we got so bored so we decided to go to bed (after looking into the drum and base floor and desidedly thought it was ok but nothing special)...
Next day we just decided to hit the road and not stay for another night. So we went through Austria and just before the Hungarian boarder found a nice little field on top of a hill overlooking a village. Only about two hours after our arrivial the first person drove up to us to tell us that its not allowed to stay there. We convinced him that we just stay a night and he agreed. Next morning around 8 a.m. a family was pulling up and the older guy in the car told us that its his field (a field with only dirt on it) and that we shouldnīt stay there at all and that after church we should be gone. So we slowly got going made some tea and then a very old man turned up. He was very friendly after some apparent hostility and showed us his "secret" garden. We already found that garden the evening before and "stole" some carrots and some plums but he was very generous and gave us tons of fruits tomatoes plums peppers etc etc. So fully stacked on healthy stuff we continued our journey and crossed the boarder to Hungary. At the south/western tip of the Balaton lake we had a short break and eat some Palatschinken on to continue to the serbian boarder - which was further then thought. Oh and yes the Oil lamp still reminded us from time to time that something must be terrible wrong with the car.
So just before a very small checkpoint on the Hungarian - Serbian we pulled into a corn field and had a good night sleep with heavy rain above only to be awoken by a traktor passing us at around 8 a.m. or so...
We decided to get through Serbia and maybe even Bulgaria in one go if its possible because both countries seemed to be the most dangerous in our mind. So pulling into this tiny checkpoint to Serbia we meet very friendly Hungarian boarder patrol that didnīt really know what to do with our passports and after about 20 minutes hassling they went up to that Serbian guard that looked very mean and had a full combat camouflage suite on. They came back only to tell us that the Serbs donīt want us to go through the small checkpoint and that we should go to Tompa - the largest checkpoint to Serbia - a 100km detour in total. So after not too much hassle we were in Serbia and the whole country seemed hostile to us somehow. The Autobahn was very good but extremly boring. Only flat land and fields all the way from the boarder to Belgrad (Belograd). Before arriving in Belgrad we had to go through two Autobahn paycheckpoints. Both took about 18 Euros for using their streets from us. Great... Then driving through Belgrad I had generated some anger and anxiety and was just praying that the car wouldnīt break down here. The city looked sooooo ugly that we didnīt even bother to stop. (there is some video footage I hope to put out soon). Continuing toward the Bulgarian boarder we passed another "please pay something for our streets" checkpoints where the Autobahn ended - we had to pay 43 Euros there. I was a little hysterical and the guy was just pointing toward the police car so we paid... very bad... The rest of the way was probably Montenegro as the landscape changed from flats to hills the road were very bad and people looked much friendlier. The road was a two way road winding through the mountains - the oil lamp kept going on but eventually we made it to the bulgarian boarder at sunset. At this point we decided to go all the way through bulgaria and instead of going directly to Istanbul taking a detour to Greece and have some nice beach holiday for two days to chill out before going to the big city.
Crossing the Serbian - Bulgarian boarder was very straight forward and we reached the outskirts of Sofia when it was getting dark. The landscape and the people we saw looked much more friendly then in Serbia and I think Sofia is a city I want to go to without a G5 and 3 powerbooks in my car at some point. After Sofia we went straight south to Greece on firstly a very very bad road at night (I always thought that the springs of the car would break every bump) and then the road turned into a freshly made one through the mountains. It felt like a computer game. Almost no other cars a freshly made very very windy road. If you ever want to test drive a car this is one of the road to go on to. We reached the boarder at around 2-4 a.m. had a fast check at the control and found a nice little mountain city with a back road leading into the mountains were we decided to stay for the night - uninterupted sleep felt good also we were really close to our destination and the car just continued to run just fine outside of the oil lamp problem...
Next morning in Greece we decided to go to an half island called Kassandra and drive only on white and yellow roads through the mountains. We arrived there (after long windy dirt and gravel roads) in the afternoon. Found a nice lonely beach and got some very expensive but very very tasty fresh fish in a nearby fishertown. Had a beautiful view over the ocean at night next day we continued our little side track journey around this Island (after some swimming in chrystal clear water) down to the most south point of the Island that you can reach with car. Gravel roads galore we must have lost the last bit of our exhaust system on the car somehwere there - not a big problem the car is just a "little" louder now. Finding a completely empty beach had roasted corn on our own little fire beautiful sun and moon set.
Next day after some swimming and morning tea we set out going direction Istanbul again. We figured that we need one other stop somewhere behind Alexandroupi. We though we found a nice place on the map but arriving there it turned out not to be overly nice. Cutting through the country side on a freshly made road that was not on the map and no other car we pulled through some small mountain range and finally found a little village on the sea. Our first approach to the beach got us stuck and we had to dig out the car after that much too long travel didnīt really helped our spirit that day. After a while longer searching we found a place with at least a nice view to see the moon setting. Next day after some nice breakfast we went along and after about two hours we arrived at the Turkish boarder. What followed can be called insane boarder crossing. Greek side was ok and normal (passport check) then a bridge that we had to wait for soldiers marching over for about 30 minutes (between both boarder in the sun no shadow...) then we arrived at the Turkish side. We passed like 8 passport checks in total I got through very easely with my german Passport. The english one was more complex. Willow needed to get a visa so we parked the car right inside the boarder checking (very insanely parked cars everywhere) after paying ten euros and getting her visa we needed to through the customs. I had to get to one customs officer to get one kind of paper then to the next to get that signed and this guy actually wanted to look into the car (which no other customs on all boarder wanted to (except for the serbians that had a very very very brief look in the back of the car where the engine sits). He saw the big brown box and wanted me to open it. I showed him the G5 he apparently never saw such a computer but I convinced him that it was a computer and for personal use so he finally let us pass without any trouble. Then another passport check (yes each time the scanned the passport someone before could have missed something).
Then we were in Turkey. Landscape changed people looked different and road was worse but still ok. Driving for about 3 hours the traffic got thicker and thicker and thicker and thicker and thicker until a three lane road was used as a five lane road and everyone was going everywhere just not straight all this at around 90 km/h.... We decided to go to the Istanbul airport as this would be a place that was easy to find had english speaking people and maybe a phone charger because both of our phones were dead for days without any hope charging them inside the van. We arrived at five a clock at Istanbul airport. Michael came by very fast only like 30 minutes later and around 7ish we got into our little very very old half rotten house where we stayed since then. Have been tourists yesterday but it is really to hot to see anything and I will have another relaxed entry about Istanbul once we moved into the new shiny apartment and have internet.
Thanks for all the support of my family, annett and friends I will get in touch with everyone once I get a little more settled here and know what is going on. Things look good so far with a residency in a club for us three and some more vj related work and maybe even our own night (music and visuals)...
If you are in the dire need of some photos from Istanbul - Todd Thille who arrived the same night as us and who will work in the little Istanbul VJ collective has put up some photos from yesterdays tourist trip through Istanbul. Check out his blog entry: Todds Blog Entry:Fleas and Tourists