March 31, 2006 GMT

We entered turkey on 22 march hav1ng driven past the 50 lorries wa1ting to cross the border. We had to buy vusas for 20 euro and insurance for 17 euro because despite what the RAC and insurance compan1es say - you still need the Green card.
The crossing took 2 hours and the Customs were more 1nterested in the bike ane where we were going than looking for controband.

Rural Turkey was like stepping back in time. Chickens- sheppards w1th their sheep or goats ( and if cold wearing a goat skin cape )- dogs barking at and sometimes chasing the bike. This is all just by the side of the road. Donkey or pony and cart. Flat marshy land. Dead stra1ght roads and 5 cars was a traff1c jam. 20 degrees.

The hotel in Ecreabat was a gem w1th laundry facilities- book swap and a bar with a balcony that overlooked The dardenalles where we saw the Dolph1ns jumping later in the day.

Had a day off to v1ew the Gall1poli sites . Anzac beach 1s desolate and a place for quiet reflection despite the hoards of coaches coming in.

Took the feerry to Cannacale on the 24th. to go to Banderma. The whole idea was to leave the bike in Banderma and go to istanbul as foot passengers. This d1d not happen as despite all the research ther is one ferry on a saturday and 2 on a Sunday. Crossing time is 2 hours each wat- so that d1d not leave much t1me and not worth it. So we binned that idea.

When we left for the ferry ther was no indication of what was to come. The wind got up and was gusting at 50 knots. it got so bad at one stage that i thought Colin would turn round - but we ploughed SLOWLY on and got to Banderma. We were so relieved to be secure_ warm and safe 1n the hotel that we failed to see the mosque 50 yards away and for the next 2 days enjoyed the early call to prayer at 4 am.

Somewhere along the line here i lost the 1nterconnect1ng lead for the intercom. it had never come apart in the 2 years that we have had the system and now when we need it the most .......

We had a d1scussion and Colin decided that we would try to find the parts to make it up here. The follow1ng morning we traipsed from shop to shopa and eventually found a guy who had the correct connections and w1re. He put 2 core w1re doubled. Sat and made 1t wh1st we waiwed and drank complentary tea. All for the cost of 4 .67. We are now talking afin and the lead 1s black taped on and i am on pain of s1vorce to lose it again !

So on to Man1sa ( izmir) where we threw the boat out and stayed 1n a 4 star hotel for the n1ght. Normally the cost 1s 30 per n1ght 1ncluding breakgast- but th1s was double that.

Then to Pammekale where The Travertine pools are. We avo1ded the 3 k walk and i was taken on what i was assured wasa short cut and we cl1mbed up the Roman wall. The sav1ng grace 1s the the calc1um format1on is totally non sl1ppery. Had a very expensive swim in the Roman spa but it was worth every penny. Warm and buoyant looking up to thr clear blue sky and palm trees.

Eg1d1r on the 28 march to stay on an island surrounded by snow capped mountains . A really good place to relax in 20 degrees.

29 march and we on route to cappodocia and the total eclipse of the sun happened. We knew that 1t was to happen on wednesday but had no idea of the time. 1.55 1t gradually got darker. Colin pulled over- iy got dark_ cold- the street l1ghts came on- b1rds stopped singing and them totally dark for one and half was magic. People have been plann1ng to be hear for a year to see this and we just happened to be in the right place at the r1ght t1me.

30 march and we are now in Cappodocia w1th the starling formations of tuffa wh1ch is a volcanic rock. We are staying in a cave hotel and have visited the under ground city of 7 levels. The interior is like a rabbit warren and goes underground to 50 metrs. Glad i did it - but never again !

Turkey has been full of suprises- you never know what is round the next corner could be valleys lush w1th fertile fields tended by 2people. Or mountains w1th Alp1ne scenery.

Petrol is same as UK. Draught beer is 82 p. Kebaba are delicious - warm macaroons and Turk1sh Delight to die for !

Note to other travellers- do a Commando training course before you embark on a trip like this - we have been mountain goats_ troglodites and long distance walkers ! more to come .....

Posted by Dee Masters at March 31, 2006 10:46 AM GMT

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