January 17, 2007 GMT
Turkey, 20 Jan 2007

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Finally we are in Turkey and it feels like we are some distance from home. Having only intended to spend a week or so in Greece we ended up being there for five.

As the blog is already somewhat behind it seems fine to hold on a lengthy 'What we did in Greece' and come out with the highlights and observations...
The memorable bits:
- Great free camping opportunities at beaches and by churches
- Having the place nearly to ourselves with no other tourists around
- Home made products on sale in Crete. Coming from the UK, a nation that has willingly submitted to the most blanding of EU regulations and glossed over the good bits, it's really great to get a different side of Europe. One where they sell home made wine and spirits in supermarkets in unlabelled second hand mineral water bottles. And of course cheap booze is good however it is packaged!
- They sell fish that looks just like kippers but is a joke played on British folk partial to a kipper for breakfast. It looks like a kipper, it smells like one but cook it up and you get a nasty surprise tucking in and finding that it is part-smoked, semi-raw and in need of gutting. These fish have no logical use apart from as a practical joke.
- Great roads and amazing scenery. And some really fine dirt roads for motorcycling along too
- The 'Grand Masters Palace' in Rhodes old town. Built by Crusaders and restored by Mussolini in the 30s. It must have been grand enough before restoration but Il Duce decided a monumental fascist gothic style was more in order. To celebrate the new Italian empire just about every mosaic in Kos was pulled up and put into place in the Palace (except for the smutty ones as Satyrs and rapes appear to have been a popular subject for flooring and household ornaments in ancient Rome).

Observations and sweeping generalisations
- Booze is very popular in Greece
- So is fly-tipping
- Smoking is a national past time
- Oranges are ready to pick by mid-December. Obvious enough but I had never clicked before just why they are traditional at Christmas
- Must go back some time in the future for a holiday

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Adventure motorcycling at it's peak. Faliraki

So, since the last blog a satisfying three weeks were spent in Crete before taking the boat to Rhodes. Christmas saw us cooking up a decent venison based Christmas dinner substitute in Hania (Crete) and New Year partying with a mix of Serbs and Brits from Rethymno Youth Hostel (Crete). Whereas Crete had a good bit of life Rhodes did seem to have closed down a good bit for winter. The old town is stunning - Europe's biggest medieval walled city and amazingly intact but it was a strange place with everything closed. We still didn't know if we could get a boat to Turkey from Rhodes until we arrived and as luck would have it there is a small ferry leaves twice a week.

Strangely enough in the short hop from Rhodes to Marmaris the temperature seemed to have picked up a couple of degrees and better still our budget could stretch further. No more camping stove cooked meals everynight for us, instead we are now on a 3 meal a day kebab-fest.

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On the road between Fethiye and Kas

We've been ambling along the Mediterranean coast from Marmaris onwards. Having had our original plan of heading through Iran scuppered by their reluctance to issue us with visas we're trying for a new route through Syria instead. Our new route should take us through Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Sudan instead of Iran, UAE, Oman and Yemen. The cold weather and distance has meant that we've relaxed in the luxury of bus travel and have left the bike in Antalya for a holiday within a holiday as we've had to come up to Istanbul to pursue visas.

Anyone who's interested and hasn't yet seen them our photos can be found here: http://members.fotki.com/enfieldtravels/about/

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Posted by Richard Miller at January 17, 2007 10:52 AM GMT
 


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