April 03, 2006 GMT
Turkey 2

Cappodoc1a was a surreal place . The underground c1ty was l1ke Swiss cheese w1th a maize of tunnels interconnecting. Very claustrophobic- as it went down 40 metres. The columns of tuffa that have been formed from the lava rock are amazing with the biggest phallyx symbols in the world. In the early morning there must have been at least 10 hot air balloons over the area. Apparantly it is one of the best places to do this (expensive ).

Had several wonderful evenings in Turk1sh restaurants where you took your shoes off and sat on cushions on the floor. The meals are really good and cheap. Soup is a speciality and the kebabs are delicious. D1d see a Belly dance too !

They are a very soc1al people. The band will be playing and slowly the audience will join in. A great atmosphere. Very polite also. Wherever you go the door is held open for you and a cologne essence sprinkled on your hands as you are leaving. All very helpful. The men seem to congrgate 1n the cafes.

The road signs are in english which has been a bonus. Roads are tarmac but can degenerate very quickly to pot holes or broken up tarmac.

petrol is sl1ghtly dearer than UK. We have had several free g1fts from the garages- key fobs_ tissues and a peaked cap.

As we drive past the men will gawp at the bike- the children wave madly and the women totally ignore you.

Houses are 2 storey concrete pa1nted often 1n pink- blue or yellow ochre. Alot have solar panals. in towns the flats are usually 6 storeys h1gh.

As we have come further South the scenery has changed all the time. Spring is coming - the flowers are just starting to bloom. Swifts and storks are arriving. The almond- apple and apricot trees are 1n bloom. There are miles of vines and all types of agriculture- a very lush land. Huge bunches of mistletoe in the trees. They burn the stubble from the fields.

Loads of tourists around for the Ecl1pse .

Onto Malatya on 1 April. it was an eerie ride. M1les and miles of flat road unwinding ahead of you. This is a bustling city.

2 Apr1l we went on to Diyarbikir. This was the first day of rain that we have had. As we drove further South it became bleaker- austere and more and more barren. The rural areas are gradually looking poorer. Very mountainous area and at times you feel you are the only person in the world!

The Pass between Elazig and Diyarbikir was guarded and there are alot of militia 1n the c1ty due to the riots last week. We have just had our boots cleaned for 1. We decided to stay here today as well as it is pouring with rain.

We are now 1n Messopotania and crossed the Euphrates yesterday and tomorrow will cross the Tigris. i now feel more comfortable wearing a headscarf but am still in jeans. Will have to buy different clothes very soon.

Next on to Van wh1ch will be the last big place before entering iran. This will probably be on Thurday 6 April.

Turkey has been an amaz1ng country full of contradictions- wonderful scenery and helpful people. You never know what is around the next corner. Driving has been manic at times and then totally boring. you need your wits about you.

Total miles : 3959

Posted by Dee Masters at April 03, 2006 01:03 PM GMT

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