Turkish bathing

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Oludeniz

Ten months ago, we left the Mediterranean coast after several dives from the cliffs of the Marseille coves . At the Turkish coast, we found again its beauty and its warmth. It is behind the pine trees, on a sound infiltrating between the rocks, that we found a water with an emerald colour eroding the surrounding mineral environment.

It was the end of the day. Escaping from the the main beaches of this city, we went towards the end of the bay. We parked the side-cars at the end of a deserted road leading to touristic hotels. We walked the rest of the way, trough pine trees and rocks to reach the water at the opposite of the peninsula.

From the rocks, we dived for the fist time with swimming googles.What a pleasure to discover again the treasure of the submarine life! On the rocks, the anemones were dancing. Surrounding us, the fishes were continuing swimming without noticing us. Like kids, we tried to follow them but we were not able to touch them, in spite of trying many different techniques.

The time for drying  under the last sun rays, we shared a picnic sat on the cliff with the foot over the water, gazing at the horizon.

Akyaka

A few days later, it was nearby the Akyaka city that we enjoyed again the Mediterranean Sea. We crossed this seaside city and used a little road towards the Kiran village. We enjoyed the beautiful colour of the sea, loop after loop. Attracted by the turquoise colour, we finally turned on the right to take a little path to reach the seaside. Between the pine trees, there were travellers who set up their camp. We met an old globe trotter from Turkey. He was 56 years old, travelled during 25 years and visited 119 countries. He explained to us that he was now living in his van  full of treasures. He takes each day as it comes. We talked about our trips together, with Elena, a young Spanish lady and her boyfriend, Nicaraguayen. Both were travelling with their old Volkswagen van from 4 years ago. 

I took the opportunity for running on the panoramic road before to dive in the water. Alerted by friends-travellers, we were cautious at each step in the water. Indeed, there were many sea urchins. We enjoyed our new swimming googles to watch the life under the water. Many nice fishes were playing between the sea urchins. The sun rays highlighted the beauty of this natural artwork. 

The temperature being good, we enjoyed for a while this beautiful spot. Sometimes breaststroking, crawling or floating on the back, just to enjoy this instant. 

The dusk arrived and we needed to head North. We continued our trip along the coast to enjoy swimming up to the Greek border. 

Turkish night spot

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Alçitepe

Our crossing of Turkey from East to West was done in 15 days. We pitched up the tent 12 times during this trip. From mountains and volcanos, to the Mediterranean coast, there were as many landscapes as sceneries for our night garden. But the wild camping spot that we will remember for long was the one spent on the Gallipoli peninsula.

To go there, we crossed the Strait of the Dardanelles, we left the fishing port of Kilitbahir and headed to the South of the peninsula. We went alongside the coast on a winding road. On the left hand-side, the small fishing boats were going between the big container ships on the channel.

Arrived in the little village of Alçitepe, we did a break to do some food shopping and to fill up our water tanks for the wild camping. After crossing the village under the surprised eyes of the inhabitants, we took a little path going down to the beach, during 5 kilometres.

At 4pm, we were parked on the top of an old bunker overlooking the beach. But at this spot, no shadow to shelter from the sunshine. The only solution was to hold a tarp between both sidecars to shelter while enjoying the beautiful view. We enjoyed the end of the afternoon with swimming and writing in our diary (including all the details for our blog articles). After chilling and making some repairs like glueing our hiking shoes tired of all the kilometres done, it was time for the beer of the end of the day. At this moment, we met Izmet and his friend. In a (almost) perfect Turkish, we understood they come down to the beach every evening with their old tractor they have renovated. One was driving, while the second one was sat down on a big armchair in the trailer.

I was hopping a last dive in the water, with the sunset. But finally, the sun was hiding quicker than I thought, behind a cloud above the Imbros Turkish island. The water was transparent during the afternoon, allowing us to see 10 metres around. But the purple and dark sky didn’t allow us to see further our fingers at this moment of the day. This situation was increasing the oppressive atmosphere of the depths.

The following day, we woke up at 5am. Divers with flippers and harpoons were already further down, on a little beach, ready for fishing. At dawn, we observed them while having our breakfast before to go back on the road towards North and the Greek border.

On the Turkish roads

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At the border post between Georgia and Turkey, the process made us to break the Russian Gang. No other choice than separating us from Maika and Christoph. Both sidecars started a ride, on their own without their UAZ friend from the last 1000 kilometres, on the D100 – the dual carriageway going towards North. On this main road, many trucks and shipping vans were accompanying us. On 500kms, we rode on a 5-km wide concrete road. The urban life took the power over nature. Between the buildings, there were many minarets and sometimes bridges spanning small streams going to the Black Sea. On the right hand side, the Black Sea, on the left hand side, the green hills with the first peaks of the Pontic mountains. 

In the countryside, we crossed hills and wide fields The scenery was beautiful and surrounded by cereal fields. It was the harvest season. At dawn, the farmers were starting to work.

The farms were unequally equipped. We saw old tractors while, just a few kilometres further, there were high-tech tractors from Europe.

At some point, after the exact same scenery since hundreds of kilometres, the cliffs of Capadoccia appeared with their ochre and cream colours.

The road was winding between the huge rocks, the valley, and was going up to the summit of the Uçhisar city to offer a beautiful viewpoint over the region.

It was pretty hot that day. At sunset time, we continued the road between the volcanos and the bundles of straw to reach the lake of Narligöl. To reach this lake located in the heart of a crater, we took a paved road. Used to see this kind of road surface in historic town-centres,  we were surprised to see it on a small road in the middle of the Turkish countryside. 

Again the golden colours of the end of this day were warm and bringing even more magic to this place. 

The next step was the Egirdir lake. After a night by its edge, we rode alongside it with the mountains in the background lighted by the warm sunrise. The road continued between the mountains up to the first hill with a steep slope. We reached the archeological site of Sagalassos. At the bottom of it, in Aglasun city, we saw an epic manoeuvre from a nanny. Riding a tractor, she went fast down the hill going to the city. She braked a bit late and almost hit a car, trying to park next to us. But, luckily, no damage! 

Once arrived by the Mediterranean coast, it was vert hot. So we changed our daily routine. The new planning was an early riding session, a bathing break during the hottest hours of the day, the last kilometres at the end of the afternoon before to find a wild camping spot.

So when we went discovering, the Valley of Butterflies, we started to ride at 6am with only a chocolate biscuit for breakfast. To reach the village over the valley, we left the main road to use the path going along the coast. An irregular asphalt road going up the mountain. With the numerous bends, the rider and the co-pilot were enjoying by turns the beautiful show offered by the Mediterranean Sea at the sunrise. 

The visit of the seaside city of Oludeniz was also the moment we crossed the step of the 30,000 kilometers of the trip. It was also the step for a mechanical service. We purchased the engine oil at the Shell petrol station at the entrance of the city. The show of the torque wrench and spanners started a 7am in a small shaded street nearby the hotel. The day finished by the traditional valves clearance control and lubrication of the shafts before riding them to the Gemiler beach.

For joining the Ephese archeological site, we took for the first time in in Turkey, a motorway with tolls. But once we arrived at the gate, nothing restrained us to go through without paying. When we arrived at the city of Selcuk, we tried to get more details about that. We learned we had to buy a wireless card for paying tolls and we can buy them at the national post office.  So we went to the closest to solve this issue and to avoid paying any penalties.

Our trip in Turkey ended by crossing the Gallipoli peninsula. After one last night on its beach, we left at dawn. Facing the sun, the shadow of Marie and Julien’s sidecar traced a path between the sunflower fields. Then, the flowers were replaced by olive trees once we arrived at the Strait of Dardanelles, crossed the previous day with a ferry. It was the beginning of the weekend and many sailors were enjoying the wind pushing towards the Mediterranean Sea, while we were going at the opposite direction, towards the Greek border.

Hisarönu & the Turkish Mediterranean coast – 7 days – 306 metres above sea level

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We left the mountains and its freshness for the Mediterranean coast and its heat. 

We left the Mediterranean Sea 10 months ago to ship the sidecars from France to Colombia. 

Carribean Sea, the South of the Pacific Ocean, the South of the Atlantic Ocean, the China Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea… all along our trip, we have improvised depending on the difficulties of each of these coasts. After going towards West, in Russia, the Mediteranean Sea reminded us the approch of the arrival flag. 

We began by discovering the Turkish coast and more specifically Patara. This city was one of the most important of Lycia (-300 BC) and a major port of the Roman Empire. At this archeological site, we discovered the beautiful remains of the Arc de Triomphe, the amphitheater and the assembly. The cream-colour marble of these remains contrasted with the blue sky and the green of the olive trees. The main avenue was surrounded by antic pillars. 

We spent an hour on site before to reach the long and nice beach of the same name. Along sand dunes, the beach was 6-kilometre long. Next to the parking, there was a straw hut offering snacks and transats for tourists in this ideal surrounding. But a few metres further, the nature regained its territory with a wild beach. To find a quiet space, there was a last obstacle: going through the burning sand between our toes in spite of our flip flops. Then, it was time to enjoy our first bath in the warm and clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. 

I was not able to resist to have a look behind the cliff at the tip of the sandy beach. I climbed this rock to watch the sea at the opposite side of the cliff. The coast was similar to the ones of the South of France. A deep blue-colour sea was clapping on the cliff. The water was making cavities on the limestone rock. The water had a turquoise-colour due to its contact with the limestone. 

At the beginning of the evening, we started to look for a wild camping spot next to Kinik city. We finally picked a shady area at the extremity of a field. At dusk, after dining, we pitched up the tents. But we noticed spiky plants on the soil which could pierce the fabric. We looked for a new spot but there was nothing better nearby. We opted for a little clearing between the pine trees, but on a slope. 

Finally, we spent the worst evening of our trip. The dogs of the city were barking during all the night and the slope made our mats very slippery. Waking up at 5am was pretty hard. 

After a couple of biscuits, we headed to the valley of butterflies. We followed the seaside route along the coast between the pine trees. The view at this early time of the day was breathtaking with a beautiful turquoise-colour Mediterranean Sea. 

The valley of butterflies is a vertiginous canyon with a 500-metre depth with a small beach at its tip. Essentially reachable with a taxi-boat from the touristic city of Oludeniz. There was a second strategy, unknown if you do not have the vertigo and have good hiking shoes. We followed a little path to reach the crique of the Faralya village located on the heights of the canyon. Loving challenges, we opted for this option. We parked the sidecars at the extremity of the village. Maps.me indicated a 1-kilometre path from the car park to the beach at the bottom. It was the slowest kilometre we did during the whole trip. It was more a climbing activity than a hiking activity. Indeed, at some point we needed to climb down a rock with a rope. Once arrived, it was peaceful on the beach. A small community of hippy owned a camping with a canteen. It was 9:30 am, a few tourists were having their breakfast while we were alone on the beach. 

After a first bath in the clear waters of the crique, we enjoyed our breakfast at the bar. It was a buffet with boiled eggs, olives, toasts and honey. At 11am, it was time for the second bath of the day with a few dives from the rocks before hordes of tourists arrived a few minutes later from boats with a loud music. The peaceful beach was crowded. We left as soon as possible and went back to the village. Luckily, the cliff to climb was shady. 

Back on the road, we rode along the coast. We reached the seaside city of Oludeniz, a very touristic city. We found a hotel with a good standard in Hisaronü, a touristic city chosen by British people on the heights behind Olideniz. After a mechanics day, we left for Akyaka the following day before to reach Hacilar where we camped next to the Cine (China in English) river. 

We woke up at 5am to go back on the road before the heat. We headed to the archeological site of Ephesus. Upon our entry in the city of Selçuk, we ordered a pastry, cookies and muffins for our breakfast before to arrive at Ephesus. 

The archeological site is very famous. Tourists arrive by full bus from Istanbul. In spite of the crowd, the site was beautiful and well maintained. Among the impressive buildings, we appreciated the impressive amphitheater considered as one of the biggest from the ancient history, the library of Celsus (well appreciated for selfies for Instagram), the Parliamentary Assembly, many temples and fountains. 

After two good hours of walking in the ruins, we went back to Selfuk for a snack on a terrace before to visit the Museum dedicated to the ruins of the Ephesus site. There was a very interesting reconstitution of the city with a 3D video for a better understanding of the life at this period. We saw the several statues of the Greek Gods including an impressive statue of Artemis and the frieze of some temples. 

While waiting fresher temperatures at the end of the afternoon to go back on the roads towards North, we walked in the city and reached the castle and enjoyed an ice cream.

At about 6pm, we went back on the road heading Izmir where we noticed an iOverlander spot, just a few kilometres before the village of Kaynaklar. To go there, we crossed the village and took a path going towards the mountain. We didn’t find the exact spot but we stopped on a flat and shady area to pitch up a camp. 

We woke up at the beginning of the day as the forecasts announced this day as the hottest of the week.

We used the ring road without a problem to avoid Izmir. Nothing interesting on the dual carriageway but at least it was fast. It was very hot so we decided to do a break during the last 100 kilometres due to a col. 

We used a little road to reach the coast passing by Koruktasi. The beach was nearby this village where locals love spending the afternoon. We found a shady spot where to stop. A father was giving driving lessons to his teen daughters. After many tests, they started to understand how to do with the clutch, but a flat tyre stopped them. A disappointment making the girls laughing a lot. We dedicated our afternoon to swim in the fresh and transparent water. In the evening, locals went back to their home, leaving an empty beach for us with a beautiful sunset. 

After this evening on the beach, we woke up later than these past days: 7am for a good sleep. We started by 43 kms to reach the ruins of the city of Trojan where there was not much left. The reconstitution of the horse was disappointing. Then, we arrived at Canakkale to take a ferry to cross the strait of Dardanelles and to reach the peninsula of Gallipoli. 

We reached the Trace region, leaving the Anatolia region behind us, nearby the channel crossing the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea. The ferry arrived at Kilitbahir, a small fishing port next to the castle. Surprised, we visited this castle built in 1571 and very well maintained. 

We stopped by a restaurant next to the traditional boats to enjoy a fish sandwich, the local speciality. Sole, trout, sardine, each one picked his favourite fish. After crossing the peninsula with our sidecars, we pitched up the tents with a beautiful seaview, just a few kilometres from the little village of Alçitepe.

Early in the morning, we left with the first sun rays. We stopped by a service station after 100 kilometres to order coffees and toasts for a break. We spent our last Turkish coins there, the Greek border being only at 40 kilometres. 

Goreme – Capadocia – 8 days – 1 100 metres above the sea level

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We began our Turkish adventure by going alongside the Black Sea on the Route 10, a wide dual carriageway along the coast.

Around Ardesen city, we rode alongside the Firtina river. 10 kilometres further, we crossed a bridge spanning a stream. On the other side of the river, we arrived at the nautical centre “Derebeyi Rafting.” We pitched up the tents on the playground of Microbe, a cute goat with long black and white hairs.

At the sunrise, we woke up with the first call of the day for praying.  We got prepared quickly for this long day. The breakfast was prepared by our host, the owner of the place and member of the national rafting team. Served on the terrace above the river, we enjoyed a Kuymak, a cheese fondue prepared with corn flour and served with bread.

It was 10am when we started a long riding day. 500kms along the Black Sea. We crossed the city of Rize, where the soccer team was in Premier League, Trabzon and Samsun. We rode along the coast on a 5-metre wide road. On the left hand side, we were able to see the Black Sea between the buildings. At the right hand side, the green hills of the mountains of the Pontique.

We did a lunch break on one of the beaches with pebbles, along the dual carriageway. On the menu, a big bread and cheese. We crossed Samsun, continued our road and left the coast for going between the hills. On the top of one them, a huge Turkish flag. It was hard to give an exact size but it was probably 10-metre wide. Its red colour was very different to the green nuances from the hills. We left the main road to find a nice wild camping place, behind the small city of Kavak.

Again, we woke up early to explore Capadocia and ride the 400kms of the day to reach Göreme at the end of the afternoon. We pitched up the tent in a campsite in the suburbs of the city. The historic centre of Göreme has the specificity of little streets and troglodytes houses. For sunset, we climbed up to the hill above the city. The light was getting smoother revealing the beauty of the local architecture.

At 4:30 am, we woke up with the noise of the balloons getting inflated. We went out of our sleeping bags quickly and took our backpacks to see these beautiful balloons, a true local attraction.

Around 5am, the show was at its peak. In the sky, about a hundred of ballons were around us. With the first rays of the sunrise, we had our breakfast nearby their point of departure. In the background, the noise of gas inflating the balloons.

Their show above this unusual scenery last almost two hours. The sun was going up in the sky. It was time for leaving the balloons behind us to start hiking in the red and pink valleys of the national park. The landscape was beautiful, with no one  at this early time of the day. In the middle of this scenery looking like whipped cream with pastel colours, the vegetation was pretty rare. In the little gorges shaped by the rocks, any piece of land was cultivated.. At a crossroad, a small door sculpted in the cliff intrigued us. Outside, nothing fancy, but inside there was a nice chapel. In the middle, there were impressive columns revealed by the morning light of the sun. A few hundred metres further, a second chapel was surprising by the quality of the frescos on the walls, painted on the rock.

At different crossroads of these two valleys, there were coffee places to satisfy the thirsty hikers.

We preferred to continue, a bit scared for not having enough courage to get out from the comfy seats. We went up and down the hill before to cross tunnels and streams. We went up again to reach a vineyard. Arriving in the Göreme village by zigzagging between the orchards.

The afternoon was quiet, between diving in the pool and editing videos. We enjoyed a nice diner in restaurant of the city with the local speciality, the “kebab pottery” served in a little clay ramekin, covered by some bread.

The following morning, after a few lengths in the pool and a quick mechanics session to check up the sidecars, we left to discover the Love Valley, 5 kilometres further. This valley has the specificity of penis-shape rocks due to the erosion!

Then, we went towards the little village of Uchisar. On the top, there was a massive rock with a surprising troglodyte fortress shaped inside, with many caves. In the little streets of this village, we enjoyed our first Tzatziki of the trip. This adresse, indeed touristic, had a breathtaking terrace overlooking the national park of Cappadocia.

The day ended by the visit of the historic underground city of Derinkuyu. With 8 floors, this city was able to shelter 20 000 people during conflicts. During our visit, we walked through the reachable caves (about 10% of the place) but it was difficult to imagine the buzzing life of these caves during the war period.

For the last time of the day, we went back on the road to reach the Narli Göllake, a few kilometres further to pitch up the tent. Arriving on the top of the volcano and going down to the crater was a perfect way to end this day.

After a chilly evening and a bath in the lake to wake up, we continued our trip towards Konya. We arrived at the end of the morning. After finding a hotel to stay in the town-centre, we looked for a place to lunch. In the pedestrian street, next to the hotel, the terrace of the Mithat Tirit Salonu was packed, in spite of the surrounding empty terraces. Intrigued, we opted for this restaurant and enjoyed the unique dish served there: the Tirit Kebab, a spit-roasted sheep and grilled in the oven with parsley, tomatoes, bread and cream.

The afternoon was dedicated to exploring the city by walking. We discovered the impressive mosque and visited the mausoleum of Mevlana, a famous mystic philosophe of the Turkish Islam at the origin of the Sufism philosophy. His encounter with a dervish (similar to a Turkish pilgrim) inspired him. At the death of this poor man, Mevlena created a dance in his honor. This is how the legend tells the birth of the brotherhood of the “whirling dervishes” and their famous dance, which became one of the main curiosities of the city. Sadly, we didn’t have the opportunity to see one of them, except in the souvenir shops.

We continued our visit and discovered the museum of the armies before to enjoy an ice cream in Aladdin’s park, and to chill in the park of the culture and  fountains. To conclude the visit, impossible to get a chill beer. We opted for a lemonade on the shady square of Aziziye and a kebab at the next corner.

For breakfast, a nice buffet with olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs with a slice of bread and honey. Nothing better to be full of energy before to be in the traffic jam with a blazing sun. We took the main road to Aksehir before to change our direction to go alongside the Egirdir lake wit the surrounding mountains in the background. We spent the end of the afternoon to watch the lake. No luck for bathing as the water was not deep enough. For wild camping, we used a little path on the opposite side of the road. The place offered a nice view over the lake and the surrounding mountains.

Breakfast, early in the morning, with chilly temperatures. The day picked by,, the camping stove for not working well to boil the water for a cup of tea.

We reached at the end of the morning, the archeological site of Sagalassos. The city is on the side of the Aldag mountain, between the Taurus mounts. During our visit, we enjoyed discovering this main place without tourists, beautifully conserved and refurbished. The paths between the ruins stayed very bucolic giving a great atmosphere to this historic place. In the middle, a forum with a beautiful fountain and water still going through. In the heights, the theater was still in good conditions. By seating in the terraces, it was easy to dream about an antic show with the mountains in the background.

For lunch, we got a “pide”, a Turkish pizza on the main square of Aglasun located in the bottom of the city. Back on the road, there were stormy clouds. We needed to stop at the red traffic light  of Bucak… and the storm and rain began! 10 kilometres further, the sunshine came back. We left the main road to reach a secondary road crossing the mountains. At the first summit, on a little path that we followed during 1 kilometre, we found a nice flat spot on a mountain. The perfect opportunity to pitch up the tent.

After the traditional breakfast that we enjoyed this time with a view over the mountains, we headed to the Mediterranean coast: a new step of our Turkish adventure.


OUR FAVOURITE PLACE
Where to eat?

Mithat Tirit Salonu Restaurant
Yusufaga Sk. 21/A Aziziye Mah, Konya 42030

A packed terrace which means there is something good there! There is no menu, only a unique dish, the “Tirit Kebab”. So delicious!