Crossing into Turkey at last. We have heard so much about the splendours of this country. We take the freeway to Instanbul to catch up with Steves brother John and his wife Jude who are backbacking around the world. We do the tourist things like the Blue Mosque and the Palace and play games with all the carpet salesman. How do they all make a living? Seems like a little of the 'oversupply' to me.
Enroute we made e-mail contact with the One More Mile Motorcycle Club (OMM). A great bunch of guys ready to help us travelling types with information and hospitality. Many thanks for your help Murad, Selim and Paolo. Havn't used the tyre yet but its close. A pleasant surprise was an Email from Noah and Trevor, two Sth Africans travelling the world on KTM's. We met them last in Khartoum, Sudan and as luck would have it they saw us ride into town. Keep the black side (rubber) down and no more prangs and enjoy Russia. We may see you again one day.
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Ken Duval at Dogubayazit, Turkey
Galipolli was all we expected and more. Spent a day just riding all the roads and visiting all the monuments. We could not believe how small Anzac Cove was. On the road again we head to the famous city of Troy. A rebuilt wooden horse greets you and as you wander through the layers of rubble. I wonder how anyone makes sense of it all. Apparently Troy was rebuilt nine times, layer upon layer. They are still digging and trying to put it all back together. Good luck. Onto Bergama where the manager of the Athena Hostel offered us a price we could not refuse. Saw some more ruins including the Red Basilica mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Selcuk campground was all but empty as we erected our tent amongst the autumn leaves. Plenty to see in this city and the walk through the ruins of Ephesus was impressive. We also visited the Virgin Marys' last abode and the tombs of the 7 sleepers. (The story was more interesting than the site as it was poorly maintained)
Heading down the coast we meet some aggressive drivers. Some overtaking so close we could see the blood vessels in their passengers eyes. Three abreast down a double lined mountain curve is not fun when I am the one who has to go bush. We make it to Gocek in one piece, wiser for our ordeal, and meet the head of the OMM Motorcycle Club. Paolo organized our route to Iran taking in as many sights as we could manage in our race to the border. Our visas allowed us to enter Iran on 27/9/00. This was our last day of entry.
The sprint begins with our first stop being the tree houses at Olympos. We meet a couple of bikers on a R6 Yamaha and share a beer before heading into the mountains to find those famed burning rocks. The trek up the mountain had us puffing, panting and sweating. Should have brought some spuds to roast. Just like a gas stove but its all on the ground. Checking the Email before we leave Carol meets an Iranian girl who is a wealth of information on our next country. We are late leaving but Leila also gave us info on an English couple taking the same route who are now in Cappadocia. Maybe we can catch them.
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We travel some fast miles over the next couple of days taking in the sights at Side, Anamur and Alahan Monestary. So many ruins. Whew!!! We make it to a small campsite at Goreme late in the afternoon and pitch our tent. With only one other tent in the park we wondered does anyone camp in Turkey. The weather is absolutely perfect for camping. Our neighbours however turn out to be Aussies who inform us that the English Bikers are in town.
Touristy stuff again and we tour through an underground city at Kaymakli. Amazing (excuse the pun) but what a labyrinth. Next we visit a pottery shop at Avanos. The work was great but the hair museum was wild. A cave like room had locks of hair (only ladies) attached to a card with the owners name and address. These were pinned everywhere around the walls and roof. Carol has bit there now also. The owner has a lottery twice a year for a two week holiday in Cappadocia. Apparently they are in the Guiness Book of Records.
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Ken at Goreme, Turkey
Heading back to the open air museum we finally meet the English couple (XT600). They are camped at another campground just outside town. We meet up later along with another seven or eight motorcyclists heading in the same direction. A late night and we are heading off the next day.
At Adiyaman we lash out and stay at a Hotel. It was a long day in the saddle and Carols' smooth talking saw the price reduced from 20 million a double to
5 million a double. Things are quiet this time of year and there are plenty of pensions offering good deals. The next day saw us climbing into the mountains looking for the famed heads of Nemrut Dagi.
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Nemrut Dagi, Turkey
We ended up on the old road (Could not find signs for the new road, Paolo) and what a ride that was. Excellent.... The last 5 miles (8kms) was steep and rough. An adventure with a fully loaded bike to say the least. At the top we walked to the view the heads. Fantastic but I thought they would be bigger. A bit like the Sphinx.
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Ken and Carol at Nemrut Dagi, Turkey
We lost a little time this morning. On exiting the Milli Park a new road not on our map took us towards Diyarbakir. Taking this route would mean we would miss Sanli Urfa the birth place of Abraham but there will be another day. We make good time and reach Bitlis just on dark. The road works towards the end of the day covered us in white dust. Havn't been this dirty for a while. Another cheap hotel with the bike parked in the foyer saw us prepare for the last charge to the border post of Dogubayazit. We found the campground up near the Ishak Pasa (Palace). There was no one there and the wind was blowing plenty of dust around. Not pleasant so we opted for another cheap hotel. For those who are following, we are paying 6 million a double at the Hotel Ishhakpasa.
Our time in Turkey is all but over. We will attend to a little mail tomorrow, do a little sight seeing, someone has to buy some 'proper' clothes, might even clean the bike.
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