Sunday 29 August 2010

Day 34 - Turkey

One of the many banana plantations along the way

Day 34 – Saturday 14th August 2010 - Turkey
With time ticking down quickly on our Iranian Visa, the 17th August is the latest date we can enter Iran.  If we don’t make it in time then I’m not sure how we will enter Oz, the only other possible route is via Georgia, Russia, China, etc and we don’t have Visas for these countries.
So we pressed on and drove through the mountains and along coast all day, swapping driving every couple of hours.

 God it was sooo hot, Rich's glasses steamed everytime he left the car

At 6pm we found a Cafe, its Ramazan (Ramadan) here at the moment and locals do not eat or drink until 8pm.  The owner of the Cafe could not speak a word of English, and our Turkish was still a little poor, but he made us feel so welcome and made us sit down at one of the tables.
Ordering food was very difficult and in the end the Cafe owner decided to disappear for a while and then started to bring out food.  Zowi & I were not sure what we would be getting and started to imagine the worst, but we were wrong.  We were treated to a delicious meal consisting of 2 Pide’s which is similar Pizza; one was a plain Cheese Pide, and the second was a spicy meat one, with a lovely fresh salad to accompany this.
Towards the end of the meal the Owner joined us at our table.  Despite the language barriers we were able to communicate to him our journey so far and he told us that he lived in the area all of his life, and had owned the Cafe for many years. 
Although we needed to reach the Cappadocia (or the Cappuccino’s as Zowi says) which was still 5 hours away, the Cafe Owner was making us feel too comfortable.  An offer to spend the night in his home was asked several times, and if time had allowed, it would have been a delightful experience.  Nearly 3 hours later, 2 further cups of Chai, and having made a new friend, we continued on, buzzing from meeting such a wonderful person.

                             NEVER GETTING ABOVE 30KM AN HOUR
                                                      GRAVEL, GRAVEL and MORE GRAVEL
The road to the Cappadocia was truly awful.  In parts, there was no road, it would literally disappear, or turn into a gravel road, sandy road, winding road, everything but a road!  

At 2am we arrived at the Cappadocia exhausted after 15 hours of driving on really bad roads.  We found a campsite with an open gate, quietly drove in, and settled in for a 3am sleep.

Day 33 - Turkey

Day 33 – Friday 13th August 2010 - Turkey
South Coast of Turkey

Time to pack up and hit the road again. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in Dalyan we both can happily recommend Hotel Mico as a very pleasant place to stay.

Our next destination was Blue Lagoon at Oludeniz, unfortunately payment was required to see the Natures Blue Lagoon and for parking nearby. Settling for a nice view of the beach and a tasty kebab we continued east.                                    

The coastline of southern Turkey is very beautiful as you will hopefully be able to see from the photos and Mother Nature blessed us with a glorious sunset.

Such an amazing sight to see after a very long days driving

Dinner was called “Gozleme” and eaten at a roadside hut. Gozleme is a savoury Turkish hand-rolled pancake which was filled with potato, cheese, minced meat and cooked over a hot griddle or stone, and washed down with a cup of Chai (black tea). I quite liked the Gozleme, though found it to be very dry. Zowi didn’t rate it as highly and passed some onto my plate.

Gozleme being freshly prepared

It was about 10pm when Zowi spotted a sign that always makes us happy “Camping”. The camping ground was behind a Petrol Station and we were the only guests at this old campsite apart from many broken marble statues. Very bizarre, and it reminded me of a Dr Who episode with the Weeping Angel Statues. It took a few minutes before I was brave enough to blink!

Day 31 & Day 32 - Turkey

Day 31 & 32 - Wednesday 11th to Thursday 12th August 2010 - Turkey
The Big Blog! – so much time is spent on choosing photos, resizing photos, typing the blog, editing the blog, moving the photos around the blog, etc – I hope someone is reading it to make it all worthwhile!
Swimming in the pool has also featured strongly between blogging, but its mainly catching up with blogging that has consumed the last 2 days.

Swimming Pool at Hotel Mico
Why have 1 Umbrella when you can have 3?

We have a hungry fridge! - The 2nd car battery has run out of puff due to the high 35C heat which appears daily, without fail. The fridge consumes nearly 4amps an hour when running at full speed, in other words...
12 hours of Sun (and 12 hours of hot nights) x 4 amps / hour x no car charging = Warm Fridge. 
Hindsight has told me that a Solar Panel would have helped to keep the leisure battery fed in this heat.  Hindsight, such a knowledgeable fellow isn’t he?
In case you are all thinking we are rapidly becoming hotel junkies, there is always a very good reason.  This last couple of days have included so much pool time due to Rich having some troubles with his back. Not a totally new issue but one that raised its head for the last three days. So a bit of down time was in order for it to recuperate. Although not fully recovered we must move on tomorrow as we are fast approaching the deadline for entry to Iran with our visas.

Friday 20 August 2010

Day 30 – Turkey

Day 30 – Tuesday 10th August 2010 – Turkey

An early breakfast of Melon, cold meats, boiled egg, tomatoes and bread was eaten before walking to our boat near Dalyan’s Town Centre for a 9am launch.

Dalyan achieved international fame in 1986 when developers wanted to build a luxury hotel on the nearby Iztuzu Beach, a breeding ground for the endangered loggerhead sea turtle species. The incident created a major international storm when David Bellamy championed the cause of the conservationists. The development project was stopped, and the beach is now a protected area. Iztuzu was voted the best beach in the world in 1995.

 Life in Dalyan revolves around the Dalyan Çayı River which flows past the town. The boats that ply up and down the river, navigating the maze of reeds, are the preferred means of transport to all the local sites.

Above the river's sheer cliffs are the weathered façades of Lycian tombs cut from rock, circa 400 BC.

The 3 hour trip was very pleasant, the boat wasn’t full, enabling its passengers to manoeuvre around the vessel to try and capture that perfect photo. Travelling down River through the Reeds, past the Lycian tombs, the Captain steered the boat towards a well known Turtle hangout. Blue Crabs were thrown into the air to entice the Turtles to visit, with great success!

The boat continued on through the Reeds to Iztuzu beach were we had a brief stop before returning to the boat, and back to Daylan.

Loggerhead Turtles, a great morning feeding them off Daylan

What a great way to spend the morning!

Hand washing our clothes desperately needed doing in the afternoon. Washing clothes is a little harder on the road that it is at home. Dry bags are filled with dirty clothes and water, with a small amount of detergent added. The Dry bags are then emptied after a few hours have past, and the clothes are rinsed. Time to fit in a swim and some sunbathing was still found between all the washing, I still say that we could have found room in the back of Barnaby for a small Washing Machine!

Day 29 - Turkey

Day 29 – Monday 9th August 2010 – Turkey

It didn’t take long for all the Dolmus’s buzzing around our tent to get us up and going early. Three mountain goats were enjoying breakfast near the rubbish bins which reminded us that we too would need some grub.

A £2 full English breakfast also provided toilets facilities which the Dolmus Terminus stop didn’t. Fed, nourished and emptied, we moved onto the nearby town of Dalyan – home of the nesting Caretta Turtles (Loggerhead Turtles). 

2 nights of poor sleep and no shower or toilets facilities left us determined that we would find somewhere to stay much earlier in the day. Driving into Dalyan was the right choice. After visiting the River front we decided upon a boat trip the following day. There was a good selection of “Aparts” and small hotels, but again, no campsites.

Hotel Mico on the main road offered good value for money, and was only 10 minutes walk from the town centre. Air Con, showers, a toilet, and even a swimming pool!

A restful afternoon was enjoyed next to the pool before going into town for some nourishment and to book a 3 hour Turtle Boat trip for the following morning.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Day 28 – Turkey

Day 28 – Sunday 8th August 2010 – Turkey

A super long driving day (over 15 hours) passing through Ankara, Turkey’s capital city, all the way down to the South Coast and the resort of Marmaris.

A Suzuki Jeep had crashed and rolled just off the main highway as we whizzed by. A quick glance and it looked like there was still a person inside the vehicle. A hasty U-turn and we found the driver sat alone in driver’s seat. “Are you OK?” we asked very concerned. The driver popped out and explained in quite good English that the crash had occurred over an hour ago and he was now awaiting the arrival of the Tow Truck.

After ensuring that he was fine, and had plenty of supplies, we headed on our way. This was actually the second crash that we had seen this day, Turkish drivers are generally very “confident”. Considering the state of his car, and the large skid marks on the road, he was one very lucky guy.

Barnaby also had a quite a few overheating issues today. The days are so hot, and Mountains are so high that it causes the Gearbox Oil to overheat. This results in losing Overdrive, roughly the equivalent of 4th & 5th gears, and nice red lights let you know this.
Houston we have a problem

FAIL - blowing the engine cool

Unfortunately with only 3rd gear available, the engine revs much higher at speed, giving little chance for the engine and gearbox to cool down.

FAILED Chief Mechanic - Richie B
FAIL - spraying water

Frequent stopping along the way is the favoured option to help alleviate the problem, when this is not possible; slowing down to keep the revs under 2000rpm is the only other viable alternative.


I’ve posted the issue online at the Troopers owners club, it looks like it may be a temperature sensor issue, but it could just need an additional external oil cooler. It’s much harder to fix these issues when your friendly mechanic is so far away.

In the late hours we arrived in Marmaris which is a very touristy town, particularly at this time of year, and so it wasnt long before we headed to the smaller town of Icmeler in search of a campsite. Unable to find a suitable site after circling Icmeler for 3 hours, we finally settled on camping at the Terminus stop for the local Dolmus buses, the best option available on our budget as the 2 hotels we enquired out were out of our budget.