Turkey - Part 2
Next day it is goodbye to Patrick and Belinda and we head to Ankara as we know that we have to be there by Thursday as the Embassy is shut on Friday and we don't fancy spending three days in the capital. This was our biggest days ride by far. We leave at 10.00am and reach Ankara at 8.30pm with only fuel stops and a quick lunchstop. The last 40 kms before the freeway from Polati to Ankara is roadworks, a loosely gravelled surface in the dark. Finally make it to Ankara.
To quote the Lonely Planet, if you have your own vehicle, "do yourself a favour and use public transport instead. Driving is chaotic and signs woefully insufficient". We couldn't agree more, with no map, and a big diversion on the way in we end up pretty lost and pull over asking a young guy "Closest Hotel". He tries to explain in Turkish then goes and gets his boss from the Restaurant who speaks English. In the end they decide that the young guy should drive his bosses car (a BMW) and show us the way. Which he does, it takes a good 10 minutes to get there, we are so grateful but he won't accept anything and drives off. After he leaves, Skill goes in to negotiate. Special price 120............. US dollars. I don't think so, they direct us to another hotel a block away, this time I go in, 140 Euro and no negotiation, I ask them for another hotel, they direct us to one up the road. Finally success. We are pretty tierd so order room service have a shower and die.
Next day we leave early and it is off to do battle with the Iranian embassy, we catch a taxi in (the taxi driver gets lost, but does stop the meter) and make our way through the 3 doors to the counter. This time a scarf is expected.
Because our visa applications were done in Istanbul we have to refill them out in duplicate and attach photos again. Of course we don't have photos with us so down to the photo shop. He takes our photos then has difficulty printing them as the printer is broken. "I call a friend". Friend comes and finally after an hour, photos. Bolt back to Embassy. Wait for an hour. And then yahoo, we have our visa, by this time it is 12.30pm.
Back to the hotel, onto the bike and back into the Ankara traffic. Amazingly the hotel is on the road that we need out of town, (I could kiss those young men who got us onto the right road) and it is a straight run out to Kirikkale and then Goreme. Near Kirsehir we run into a huge thunder storm, we decide we do not want to get wet again and the lightning is all around us. (Yes Again) We pull into a service station that we realise is not open but we can shelter under the roof. A young man comes out and tells us to come inside which we gratefully do. After two Turkish teas more people arrive and the "big man" invites us into his office, they try to ply us with food, raki, tea, apple tea, and we manage to have a conversation through a little Turkish a little English and lots of charades.
After an hour the storm has abated and we bid our new found friends goodbye. The Turks are the most hospitable people.
Onward to Goreme, on arrival we pull up outside an internet café where Skill checks emails to see if we can track down an Aussie friend visiting Goreme. No luck but we get a card for a pension with parking for the bike so we give that a go. What a find? We were so lucky to end up at the Star Cave Pension.
The Pension is relatively new and beautifully appointed. And Ahmet and Ramazan are the most friendly hospitable hosts. Check out our cave room...
On our first day there we head up over the hill and into Love Valley and marvel at the beautiful fairy chimneys
then it is off to Goreme Open air Museum. This is a World Heritage Site, rock cut Byzantine churches and chapels. The Karinlik Kilise is the most famous of the churches for good reason. Look at the amazingly well preserved frescos dating from the 1st Century AD.
Our second day in Goreme is spent being lazy wandering the cobblestone streets and watching the daily lives of the people. Goreme although a heavily touristed area still clings to its traditional way of life with veiled women in their baggy trousers and the men drinking tea in the tea houses (after 6.30 pm as it is Ramazan) It is a truly amazing place.
The following day with the help of Ramazan our host we manage to find a box and post home all our camping gear, and other bits and pieces. Nearly 12 kg worth. The poor old bike is going to be so happy without this weight.
There is a huge mix of nationalities staying at the Pension, the obligatory Aussies and New Zealanders. We also have John and Cassabadra from the US and Nadya and her band of Russian friends. Nadya is amazing, she has discovered mountaineering and came to Turkey to climb Mt Ararat. Out of twelve people only she and the two guides made it to the summit.
The Pension also play host to a revolving door of Koreans and Japenese.
I suppose I should also mention our favourite resident at the Pension, a wonderful dog called Boncuk. Boncuk is our constant companion, each day she comes into the village with us for lunch. I also smuggle her into our room where she keeps me company while I recover from my cold. She really is the dearest little thing.
Next day we decide that we will go for a ride and check out the sights, including the Underground City of Derinkuyu,
the monasteries at Selime and finally we follow the original silk road from Aksaray to Nevsehir via the ancient Agzikarahan Caravanserai.
That night we sample one of Ramazan's Amazing pottery kebabs.
Over the next four days Skill tries to get tyres ordered for the bike. We were thinking of having them shipped from Ankara to Van but we hear on the grapevine there is a bit of PKK unrest around Van so decide against that. And then I end up getting sick with a bad cold and cough so we decide to stay put and Ramazan helps Skill organise the tyres to be sent to the pension at Goreme.
He also goes out on the bike with Skill to track down a shop in Nevsehir that will be able to fit the tyres when they arrive. The two of them cause quite a scene in Nevsehir, bikes this big are not that common in this part of Turkey,
Because we decide to stay for the extra time and have not booked the Pension is full. The family refuse to let us stay anywhere else and we end up at the family home for a night with Ramazan, his wife Tubga and their new baby. Then next day they bring us back to the Pension as there is a room available again. We also get the wonderful news that our good friends Mick and Treena have had their long awaited and precious baby. It is at times like this you wish you could duck home for a quick hello and join in the celebrations.
We end up staying in Goreme for eleven days. Each day is wonderful, walking the valleys, chatting to the local shop owners who now recognise us and shake hands with us and invite us in for tea. We also take a ride to Rose Valley where SKill takes a liking to brightly coloured hats (I didn't think this affliction overtook you until you reached Nepal). Life is pretty idyllic except that I don't seem to be able to shake my cold.
Finally the tyres arrive and Skill and Ramazan set off into Nevsehir, returning successfully with new tyres for the bike. The next day is Saturday so we decide to set off, but get an email from Marcus who is broken down in Iran, his BMW gear box is dead. We decide to spend another day to see if there is anything we can do for him via email while we are still reasonably close to Ankara. In the end there is really nothing we can do and Marcus seems to have things under control so we leave for Nemrut Dargi on Sunday.
We have a long days ride through amazing scenery, mountain roads, long flat plains, dusty mud built towns. It is pretty obvious we are not on the tourist route. Everywhere we see women on donkeys collecting wood. Old tractors and trailers mounded high with turnips. Villagers picking and packing potatoes. It is like a time warp. The main obstacles on the roads is not so much the traffic but the goats and sheep being herded by young children.
We arrive at the small village of Karadut at about 7.00 pm and find a hotel which is pretty ordinary but OK. We are the only people staying there and the restaurant is not open so we must go to the house for dinner which we do. The food is amazing and we eat dinner sitting on the floor. Although the people are friendly enough it is pretty obvious we are an imposition, next morning we go to the house for breakfast, and Skill tells them we will just take the room rate. This makes the man of the house do his "you ungrateful tourist" act, but too bad.
We have a wonderful days riding firstly up the steep rough road to Mt Nemrut. For those of you who don't know, this summit was created by a megalomaniac King called who built two ledges into the mountains and erected huge statues of himself and the Gods and then had his underlings build an artificial peak of crushed rock 50 metres high. The sheer scale of it is breathtaking even more so when you realise it was built in about 50 BC. It remained hidden from the world until 1881 when a German engineer happened upon it.
We spent two hours on the peak wandering alone through the ruins. One of those "I am so lucky to be seeing this" moments.
From the summit we take the short cut road down some pretty amazing hair pin bends and very rough roads past remote stone and mud villages to the ruins of Arsameia founded in about 80BC. These ruins have a column/statue of Apollo the sun god and a relief of Mithridates shaking hands with the god Heracles. Close by is a cave temple with the steps till in tact.
After a drink and chat with a lovely local man we move on to the village of Eski Khata with its Castle ruins and and beautiful Seljuk Bridge.
Then a ride back to Narince via the Roman Bridge and another huge Burial mound like the one atop Nemrut Dargi.
In the village of Narince we cause a sensation by stopping to buy fruit, veges and pasta for tea. At one point I could not get to the top box for the villages surrounding the bike.
The following day we know have a long days ride to Tatvan. (After asking many locals they assure us that the road to Van is fine, just not after dark, due to the PKK unrest) So up and gone by 8.00 am. We also know that we have to catch a ferry across the dammed Euphrates River (part of the HUGE Gap dam project) but cannot find any info about it. Hmm best laid plans, we arrive at the dam at 8.40, the ferry has just left and we now have to wait till 10.30 am so we wait and wait and wait. Skill passes the time observing the varied and abundant fish life swarming around the vehicle loading structure in the lake's very clear water. I think he was wishing for a fishing line....
Eventually we load with all the trucks and dolmuses and make the 20 minute crossing.
Ok on our way, we ride through flat inhospitable looking country that only goats seem to like to Siverek, once again dodging, carts, sheep flocks and tractors. Then onto Diyarbakir and other wild looking towns.
The Turkish landscape looks so dry and arid but there is an abundance of water, every river has flowing water in it. The soil is obviously fertile as there is small cropping everywhere. Apparently Turkey is one of a few countries that is self sufficient in agriculture. Between Diyarbakir and Silvan there are huge expanses of harvested wheat crops and we must do batlle with 100s of wheat trucks carting the grain and stubble. This one is not as overrloaded as most.
We eventually start to climb up and over the mountain passes with countless trucks. At first it is very disconcerting, all along the hills are military lookouts with soldiers with machine guns at the ready. At one point on the pass we come to a stop behind about 100 trucks because of road works. Eventually we start to move, it is sheer chaos with trucks overtaking and outmaneuvering each other. We cannot see a thing because of the dust and to make matters worse we realise that there are also trucks coming towards us as well.
Apparently it is all in Allah's hands. We on the other hand although having great respect for Allah feel that we can contribute to our well being and self preservation by defensive driving, a view obviously not shared by most other drivers here.
They really are crazy. Things that would have completely freaked me out at the beginning of the journey now don't even rate a second glance, cars overtaking on the wrong side, cars overtaking within 2 inches of the panniers and my leg and then cutting us off are common place. The only thing that we find difficult to handle is two trucks or buses coming towards you on a blind corner and there is nowhere to go.
Anyway we survive and make it to Tatvan in one piece, check out our hotel options in this ordinary city. The people on the street are helpful and direct us to a few hotels. We opt for a cheapie and get what we paid for. When we check in the guy is very friendly and says "Welcome to Kurdjastan"???? The room however is a pretty grotty, smoky room which is on the main road and so very noisy. Not only that, when we open the window the room fills up with smoke from the restaurant chimney across the street.
Skill sleeps like a rock (as usual), I am awake for most of the night, we leave Tatvan early next morning after a less than palatable breakfast of stale flat bread, smelly butter, olives and cucumber. The tea was OK.
We travel along the Northern side of Lake Van through glorious scenery. Lake Van is a huge inland sea, some 3750 sq km. The Lake was formed when Mt Nemrut Volcano blocked the overflow. The Lake has an extremely high alkalinity level.
We also ride past the snow capped mountains of Nemrut and Suphan before taking the road to Dogubayazit.
This is amazing countryside, there is a huge frozen lava flow from Mt Temdurek Volcano which we stop to take a photo of just before a military checkpoint, not a good idea but had no idea what was around the next corner.
There is also a huge military presence in this area, on top of the mountains about every 1km there is a military lookout. We finally get our first glimpse of Mt Ararat shrouded in cloud. Just beautiful. And then into the dusty town of Dogubayazit.
After locating an OK hotel I am exhausted so have lunch in our room and just go to bed. Skill spends the afternoon exploring this dusty town.
It must have been one of those days, I discover that my watch has fallen off during the days ride, I break a tooth eating lunch (so much for my $3000 dental bill before I left OZ) and then a while later Skill says "You are not going to believe it my watch has stopped working". And the final straw comes when the menu button on the phone dies. Lucky the Pide we have for tea is bloody good.
The next day we take a ride out to the magnificant ruins of Ishak Pasa Palace. We pass the military compound, I am gobsmacked some 200 tanks and other military hardware at the ready.
Ishak Pasa Palace is amazing I think the photos tell the story.
The Palace was begun in 1685 and completed in 1784 so a relatively new building by Turkish standards.
When we get back to town it is off to the Bazaar to look for new watches, after much haggling and decision making we have 2 watches for 30 YTL. How long they will last is a matter of some debate!!!!!
Skill also goes out for a Turkish haircut, they do a sensational job for the princely sum of 5 YTL.
As we have been riding along there have been so many things I would love to have taken photos of but have refrained because of military concerns, or not wishing to offend people or simply because we are lost in the moment (or simply lost) and are taking that mental photograph.
Our favourite moment was seeing a tiny 3 or 4 year old boy looking after a herd of goats near the Palace, with Mt Ararat in the background. He ran all the way to the road and waved furiously to us.
Tomorrow we cross the border into Iran so more adventures to come I would say.
Cheers and Beers (well actually there will be no beers for a while, so I will say Cheers and Chai)
Quote for the Week: " For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." - Robert Louis Stevenson
PS. Turkey is suffering from lack of tourists at the moment for varying reasons. But this amazing and beautiful country is one, that if given the opportunity one should see.
The scenery, the beaches, the ruins are all part of its charm, but Turkey's biggest asset is it's people. They would have to be the most generous, warmhearted, gentle people we have met so far. Although not wishing to offend, Turkey is still my favourite country.
For other Overland Motorcycle Travellers
Accommodation that we have stayed in that we can recommend and have reasonably secure parking for the bike are:
Athena Pension - Bergama (fantastic breakfasts, Aydin's omelets are the best)
Tango Pension - Koycegiz
ANZ Pension - Selcuk
Akay Pension - Patara (fantastic home cooked Turkish Dinners)
Tango Pension - Koycegiz
Star Cave Pension - Goreme (Ramazzan makes the best pottery kebabs in town)
Isfahan Hotel (bit dodgy but OK, hot water only after 7.00pm) -Dogubayazit
Out two favourites were Athena and Star Cave Pensions
Posted by John Skillington at 06:22 PM
Turkey - part 1
At the border it is quite hilarious, we pass through Greek immigration who want to know where our Greece stamp is, we don't have one we arrived at 4.30 in the morning and couldn't find anyone to stamp our passports. "OK" and stamp stamp stamp, off we go, past the Greek and Turkish guards dressed in traditional dress.
Arrive at the Turkish border, stop, check passport, "You must go and get visa over there" Ok so off I go, Skill stays with the bike while I chat to the visa guys. Success back to border control, stamp, stamp, stamp.
OK next we need to change money which I do at the bank, and chat to a lovely young man who helps me out and wants to know all about the bike.
Next it was onto another border control, who needed to view our passports, the carnet, license, registration and something else, I can't remember. Being able to produce these documents pleased them no end, but of course we need to purchase green card insurance so off Skill goes, I wait with the bike, and wait and wait. When he returns he informs me he has been drinking tea and chatting.
Ok stamp,stamp, stamp, and off we go, freedom we think, but no there is one more border control. We wait for ten minutes for him to get off the phone, then "Papers". I climb off again and show him the papers that his mate 10 metres away has just stamped. All is cool and he says "Welcome to Turkey" Yay we are free.
In fairness it did only take an hour so that was good going.
The ride to Istanbul is horrendous, not because of the traffic or because of signage or anything like that, it really is blowing a gale, the wind is just buffeting us from all directions, Skill really struggles to keep it all together.
We stop for fuel and lunch, local cuisine, somehow I end up with fantastic food,(kofte) and Skill scores liver, which he nearly gags on. I share mine and we are on our way again. The wind does not give up and on the entrance to the freeway grassfires are out of control, this is not a good combination but we do survive. Our plan for getting into Istanbul, well we don't have one. I vaguely suggest that if we head to the airport I might recognise the roads from when I visited 4 years ago.
We get to the airport roundabout and I am not sure, talk to the guy in the car next to us, Sultanahmet I ask, he points to the exit and then as we get onto the roundabout he motions that we should follow him. Next roundabout same deal I ask a taxi driver "Sultanahmet" same response follow me. And then unbelievably I do recognise where we are and in we go. As we are riding along people are yelling out "Aussie", high fiving us and beeping their horns. At first we wonder what the hell is going on but then figure out it is a "Welcome to Istanbul".
We can't take the left hand turn we want so over the Bosphorus to Beygolu, a big blockie and back into the Sultanahmet. I make Skill park the bike while I look for the hotel, which I find less then 100m away but we cannot get to it because of all the one way streets. OK back over the Bosphorus big blockie, and into the Sultanahmet. Finally success we get to the hotel nearly an hour after I first find it.
Unpack, of course the Turkish are so friendly, they help us unpack the bike, find a park and take all the gear up to our room, a little different to the Thessoloniki Hotel, where I was ignored. I must say we are pretty happy to be in Turkey and Skill can not believe how friendly the people are.
The first night I have a great time giving Skill a quick tour of the sights and we head down to the back packer quarter where we have dinner. Istanbul is the most magical city and we spend till late wandering the streets.
Next morning off to breakfast where I befriend "Sergai" the hotel alley cat. The waiter tells us "His name is Sergai, he very lazy cat, every morning at window till 10.00 o'clock (which incidentally is the finish of breakfast) then he sleep all day"
We spend the first day trying to organise our Iranian Visa. Off to the Iranian Consulate, talk to the armed guard in front of the big black door who talks to the man behind the big black door and we are let in. I ask if I should wear a scarf, "No, no problem" is the response. Because the embassy closes at 11.00 am they give us the forms and instructions and tell us to come back tomorrow.
Ok now it is off to retrieve our mail that my sister has sent Poste Restante. The Post Office is two blocks away and all is going well until they tell us that the bigger parcel is out at Taksim and we must go there to collect it. When we ask them how to get there they shake their heads, pour over our Istanbul map and say we must go to Topkapi tram stop. Alrighty onto the tram and out to Topkapi (we are now in the boon docks), after asking countless people we arrive at the Post Office an hour later but they are shut for lunch, OK off to a risky looking café, have lunch and back to the Post Office. Are redirected to four different counters, sign four different pieces of paper in triplicate and finally we have our parcel, Yay. It was worth it, I now have vegemite again. (Thanks Schell)
The afternoon we spend wandering the streets before heading up to the Orient Hostel Bar for a beer or two. I think this is the best view in town.
Next day it off to the Iranian Embassy again where we put in our applications and pay our 100 Euro. Patience is definitely a virtue in these circumstances. The final straw comes when we hand over all our documents in a zip lock bag and he informs us "you need two plastic". I am gobsmacked, he just made that up, no one else including the other Westerners in the place have presented their documents in a plastic bag. Skill informs him "one plastic". AHHHHHHHHH
Skill goes off to the Aya Sofya while I do the washing
and in the afternoon we head to the Cistern for a look.
And then it is off to the Orient for a few more beers. Chatting away to the bar guy when 4 young Aussie backpackers walk in. We have a bit of a giggle as they try to order Rump Steak. I turn around and laughingly say "It's not going to happen guys."
The young girl responds by saying "What's your name"
Me "Alanna Skillington".
Young Girl "Oh my God, your'e Mrs Skilly. You taught Shaun and I in Preschool 19 years ago, I'm Telan Wade"
Me "#%$^ you make me feel old"
Anyway needless to say we had a late night and many beers enjoying their company. Unbelievable. What are the chances of meeting young kids you taught two decades ago (in a little town with a population of less than 20 000) in a bar in Istanbul.
Our next two days are spent visiting the Spice Bazaar,
On our last evening we brave the Grand Bazaar, before heading off to the Blue Mosque light show.
Next day we leave Istanbul very easily following the coast road for the ride to Ecebat. A nice days ride although it is still windy. We arrive in Ecebat and find TJs new hostel at the Hotel Ecebat. He has parking for us not in the foyer but beside the foyer in a lockable area. Clean room which is good, reasonably priced. Book our Gallipoli tour and up to the bar for a beer. Meet two kiwis so we spend the night talking to them, BBQ tea and bed. The view from our window...
Next morning Skill checks his emails. We discover that a HU overlander called Marcus is in town bunking down at the Boomerang Bar. Skill responds and we head off on our tour.
There are so many thing one could say about Gallipoli but it is difficult to find the right words to describe the way you feel when you are there. I guess that is why so many Aussies, Kiwis and Turks make the pilgrimage.
Anzac Beach and Sphinx
The Turkish Memorial
When we get back to Ecebat we head to the incredibly dodgy Boomerang Bar, but Marcus is not there so we have a few beers and meet Marsut the owner. I cannot believe it but the boomerang we gave to him four years ago is still behind the bar.
Eventually Marcus turns up, what a great guy, travelling the same route as us on his BMW R100 GS he bought in Germany.
Well you can guess what happened, late night, lots of beers and no food, although Skill and I managed a plate of casserole at 11.30.
Next day we are off to Bergama and Marcus decides he will tag along, which is great,
we ride a pretty ordinary highway before taking some scenic back roads. Just before Bergama we are pulled over by the Jandarma who think we are German, "No we are Aussies", they check our papers and bid us a very friendly goodbye. We arrive in Bergama where I find the Athena Pension and our good mate Aydin who does remember me. (Kath one of my travelling companions of four years ago had been back the previous year to visit him)
Aydin lets us park the bikes in his newly acquired house and garden. Locked up tight.
We have a lazy afternoon with Marcus drinking beer at a local café before heading back to Aydin's kitchen where Marcus cooks for us all. (Including Aydin)
Next day Skill and I head up to the ruins of Pergamum through the hole in the fence following the blue dots.
A very hot day but stunning all the same. We spend the day wandering around the ruins, eat our picnic lunch under a fig tree, and have figs for dessert. When travelling like we are sometimes you have to pinch yourself and say "Oh my God look at where we are, sitting in a ruin that is more than 2000 years old eating fresh figs. It doesn't get a whole lot better than this."
The ruins of Pergamum are in my opinion wonderful as you can wander at your leisure all over them with no guides, touts or other tourists to hassle you. There are even archeological digs in progress but with no one around.
The Temple of Trajan
10000 seat Theatre
We spend the afternoon back at the Pension with Marcus and Aydin, leftovers for dinner, beer and bed.
Next day we say goodbye to Marcus as he has word that his Iranian visa is approved and he needs to pick it up in Ankara.
It is market day in Bergama so Skill and I are off to the markets, what a visual feast. We buy our fresh fruit and veges, and chicken for tea.
When we get back to the Pension Aydin takes us for a ride (him on his scooter, us on the bike) out to Allianoi the ancient Roman Spa Town complete with hot spa baths.
Sadly all this is going to be flooded by the Yortanli Dam which is nearing completion. We feel very sad for Aydin as he feels so passionately attached to this amazing historic site. To us it is almost unbelievable that you could flood and ancient working ruin like this.
From here we are off to a local fish farm tucked away in the mountains, fed by a mountain stream. Fresh trout and salad for lunch. Absolutely sensational.
On the way back to Bergama, Aydin's scooter dies so we have to toe him through Turkish traffic to the Honda shop. Skill says to me "I can't believe I'm doing this, do you know how dangerous this is", as the trucks and dolmuses blast past us.
We arrive at the Honda shop in one piece, they fix Aydin's drive belt and we head back to the Pension where Skill and I cook a chicken casserole for dinner. Aydin's mum joins us and she adds the fresh corn she has cooked to the feast. Aydin shares a bottle of white wine and all is good in the world. The four of us share a great meal.
We are hesitant to leave Bergama but make the short ride to ANZ Pension at Selcuk. A wonderful spot with lovely people running it. A Turkish family who lived in Australia for 12 years own it. Once again they offer us parking in the central reception area but we feel the bike is safe parked on the quiet street and we can see it from our room.
Next day it is off to Ephesus where we spend most of the day. Ancient Ephesus was a great trading city and centre for the cult of Cybele, an Anotolian fetlility goddess. Over time Cybele became Artemis and a huge temple was built in her honour (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world) When the Romans took over, Artemis became Diana and Ephesus became the Asian Roman Capital. The origins of Ephesus date from around 600 BC.
Loos with a view
In the afternoon we visit the remains of "The Temple of Artemis" not very much is left, only a few pillars. In this photo you can also see the Basilica of St John on the hill. (Beside the pillar) St John is believed to have come to Ephesus in his old age to write his gospel. He is meant to be buried in a tomb beneath the church.
We also visit the Museum which houses the most amazing artifacts.
From Ephesus we have a long days ride out to the ruins of Afrodisas.
Most of Afrodisias dates from the 1st Century AD. The name is derived from the Greek for the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite called Venus by the Romans.
The Tetrapylon (Monumental Gateway)
270m long stadium
The beautiful marble bouleuterion
And then it was down to Lake Koycegiz, we are weighing up our Pension options when Skill says, "Where did you stay last time?" To which I answer "I don't want to be boring, maybe we should go to Dalyan".
Skill says "I've had enough for the day lets just head to the Tango Pension". Alright, in we ride get off the bike and go inside to negotiate a room. When I come back out Skill is chatting to two other people. Unbelievably it is Belinda and Patrick Peck from Cairns. (Also HU members) Two Qld registered motorcycles at Lake Koycegiz???????? But wait it is stranger than that. On the previous night their friends who live one block away from them in Cairns also turned up at the Pension. They had no idea that they were coming to Turkey and certainly no idea they would be at the Pension. What are the chances of that happening?
So it is 7 loud and excited Aussies that drink cocktails "Sex on the Beach" and beer before heading out to dinner, what a great night and what lovely people.
Next day Grant, Susan and Liz are off on a sea kayaking trip while Patrick and Belinda are off to Fethiye. Skill and I go off on a boat trip on the Lake, to Dalyan and Turtle Beach. A lovely day but storms all around.
Next day we head off to Fethiye and arrive at the Pension where we think Belinda and Patrick are, get a text message from them, they are still in Dalyan so head back there and join them. Can't find the hotel in Dalyan so ask some construction workers who get on their scooter and show us the way.
We spend a lovely evening wandering around Dalyan, tea looking out over the Lake up to the Lycain Tombs. Hard to find a better location.
Next morning there are storms all around, decide to stay in bed. About 1.00pm after group discussion we make the break and ride to Fethiye, in hindsight not a good idea. About five kilometres outside the town it just buckets down, Belinda and Patrick are in front and pull into a servo to wait for us and have their first fall of the trip because the servo has so much diesel on the smooth concrete driveway. They are OK and the bike is fine. We make the rest of the ride into Fethiye through flooding rain.
After we try four different hotels we end up in an OK hotel with beautiful views of the harbour.
Dinner/Lunch then out for a walk around the town, Belinda wants a massage for her sore neck (from the fall) so we get two back/neck massages for 12 lira. We had to protect our honour as they also want to give us a boob massage as well. "No my husband, he will not like"
Then back to the hotel for a few room drinks. Got into trouble for being too noisy again.
Next day beautiful sunshine so after brekky we pack up
and head to Sakilkent Gorge where we walk up the gorge for a short way. Because of the flooding rains the water is quite dirty.
A lovely trout lunch before heading to Patara where we score an amazing Pension for 30 lira a night.
And probably one of the best dinners we have had in Turkey home cooked by the ladies of the house.
Next day is my birthday, Skill goes to phone the Iranian Embassy. D DAY for visas. Yee ha, they have approved out visa. To celebrate we walk to the beach and spend most of our day there before it is back to the Pension for lunch and then a wine and nibbly sunset before a sumptuous dinner.
A pretty idyllic birthday. And a big thanks to Patrick and Belinda who changed their plans and spent the day with us. It was great to have some Aussie company for my birthday, I really appreciated it.
Thanks to everyone who called and sent text messages. Even got a little bit homesick.
Tomorrow we have a long ride to Ankara so,
Cheers and Beers for now
Quote for the Week:
"Don't tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have travelled" Mohammed
Posted by John Skillington at 04:46 PM