We had always intended to explore northern Turkey, the Black Sea area but the exceptionally warm weather in the south made us reluctant to go north. We were only allowed a maximum of 90 days in Turkey and eventually it was time to leave and head north towards the Bulgarian border. On our way we passed close to Istanbul and took the opportunity of driving an extra hour to Sile (sounds like Shilly and has a cedilla under the S) on the Black Sea coast. We went to visit Gokhan, a fellow overland truck enthusiast who ran a business in Sile. He was an on-line acquaintance and had recently purchased an old army truck which he planned to convert and so he was interested in our project.
Gokhan proved to be an excellent host and after a pizza lunch in his office he took us to the local fishing port. After a word with a fisherman friend of his we were allowed to park up against the sea wall. Gokhan also spoke with the local police, telling them we were friends from the UK and to make sure we were looked after. Once our truck was parked Gokhan gave us a tour of the town and, as we were running short of wine, took us to the local supermarket to stock up. He manfully staggered out of the shop clutching a shopping bag containing six bottles of rosé. He also arranged for us to call in at a MAN dealer in Istanbul on our way through to investigate a suspected exhaust gasket leak. Life was so much easier when you knew someone who lived locally.