Published: October 4th 2011October 4th 2011
So where are we up to?
Pamukkale, Turkey, drinking a beer is the short answer (for me); for Tanja, she’s hanging out the washing… ah, I’ll make an Australian sheila of her yet! Hmmm… I’m going to be in a whole world of trouble when she sees this start to a blog entry. Anyway, you may, or may not, get to read this bit, depending on exactly how much trouble I get into
But how did we get here? Read on, for the fascinating tale that is the Tanja & Brian world tour (yes, yes, London to India is only half way around the Northern hemisphere, so in fact is only a ¼ of a world tour – but world tour sounds better, put it down to artistic licence).
Santorini to Paros & Antiparos (19/9/11 – 24/9/11)
So, after leaving Santorini we went to Paros; a sleepier and less spectacular Greek Island. Although, we preferred Paros (& Antiparos) to Santorini as they had a more natural holiday-ish feel. However, when it comes to exciting highlights there really isn’t a lot to tell: camping, swimming, snorkelling, eating yummy Greek food. ‘tis a tough life this ‘world touring’.
In fact, probably the most interesting thing that happened on Paros was seeing an Octopus (again).
However, this Octopus was a little different to the Santorini one. Apparently snorkelling Greek women see octopuses in a different way to us. Instead of ‘oooh-ing and ahhh-ing’ and taking photos as she swum along above it, she must have ‘necked’ the little fella. We then got to watch her beating the living daylights out of it for 15 minutes on a rock! I gather it makes them tender.
After a few days on Paros we took the short ferry to Antiparos, a very small and sleepy Island. Again, we did not much more than swimming, snorkelling and eating. The reason we were on Anitparos was largely due to a Dutch chappy who runs a website on the Greek Islands. In choosing where to visit we were somewhat influenced by his reviews. This Dutch chappy is also a bit of an aficionado of the nude swimming/sunbathing approach. So, on a windy day we found ourselves at an isolated cove on Antiparos, having put the off-road skills of the mighty DR-Z to good use (a good point). Should we, shouldn’t we?
(Work colleagues look away!... Hmmm... and Tanja's parents... any my nieces... and my mum... and sister... who does that leave?)
did! Indulge in a bit of nude snorkelling, that is. Unfortunately, the cove was quite shallow and rocky. The only thing less graceful than stumbling and slipping about on shallow stones, is doing so nude. Fortunately, there was no one around to witness the whole affair (or so we both hope!!). I decided the solution was to just get wet and swim, never mind the ‘limited clearance’ issue. It is not an encouraging thing for a man, when snorkelling nude, in waters with ‘limited clearance’, to come across an eel. Even less so, when the eel’s response to said encounter is to rear up and bare its teeth. After taking a quick photo, I beat a hasty retreat; not out of fear mind you, just so I could tell Tanja what I had seen. We then both set off together, albeit with a touch of nervousness on my part as we crossed the shallow stretch. Luckily, the eel had also beat a hasty retreat, as it was not seen again. Perhaps realising it had met its match.
(NOTE: for those I work with, please shield your eyes from accompanying photo… there is only so much you need to share
with work colleagues!)
Syros and Kos (25/9/11 – 29/9/11)
Not much to report from these two islands really. Weather on Syros stayed a bit cool and windy for swimming, so no more eel encounters. Although, we should say hello to Vas (if you’re reading?) a nice Swiss chap who was single handedly trying to cure the problem of the Greek off-season. Unusually, he had chosen to stay at an all but deserted campsite and take a diving course for all of Sept-November.
The bad news from Syros was a discovery that my bike had two tiny oil leaks, one from the engine (not much of a worry) but the other from my rear suspension. If not fixed, the rear suspension oil leak is liable to turn my bike into something resembling a bucking bull within a few thousand miles! Without oil, a rear shock becomes no more than a pogo stick. Not good, when the roads are liable to get considerably worse. The good news however, was the discovery that my shock chap was going to arrange a rebuilt shock to be sent to me somewhere in Turkey… more to report on this later.
we caught another overnight ferry to Kos, arriving at 6:30am. Only to discover that Kos is basically a package tour island. After a quick tour of Kos town, and a failed mission to find the probably closed campsite, we decided to head straight on to Turkey that afternoon. The biggest highlight of Kos was enjoying a delicious plate of Greek food while chatting with the bar/restaurant owner, who rode a BMW F650 Dakar. This was the other bike I had in mind for the trip. Gazing jealously at the wide, soft seat on the BMW had me doubting my choice of steed. Still, the DR-Z with fully laden probably still weighs less than the BMW with none.
Turkey… so far (29/9/11 to today)
The ferry to Turkey was not like the Greek ferries. It was small, and wasn’t really designed for vehicles. We parked on a metal deck at the back of the seating area, and were given plastic chairs to sit on next to the bikes. With nowhere to tie them up, we were going to be responsible for making sure they didn’t fall over! Fortunately they didn’t.
Unfortunately, what we didn’t have was Turkish insurance.
So, while the bikes had survived the short crossing intact, they were not leaving the port until the insurance was sorted. Remarkably, in a display of helpfulness that is apparently rather rare for customs agents and border staff, the Turkish officials made lots of phone calls, sent a young lad off with our passports and bike documents, then waited until he returned with Turkish insurance for us, keeping the customs office open for an extra hour or so to make sure we could leave with our bikes. All for only €15! We were so impressed we gave the young lad the rest of our small change, €4. We were less impressed when we later realised we’d misheard him, and it was supposed to be 15 Turkish Lira (about €4) for the insurance not 15 Euros. Disappointingly, he hadn’t said anything as we massively overpaid him. Still, it was pretty cheap and no doubt he needed the money more than us. Anyway, it was nice to have arrived in our first non-European country!
Running out of time, as have to get into Pamukkale town from our campsite 5km above; a lovely place which even has grass to pitch the tent
on. We need to find out the news on my replacement shock.
So, in a nutshell: couple of nights in a terrible Bodrum hotel, about what you’d expect for €16 a night. Then a 5 hour ride to Pamukkale. Seat comfort, has returned as an issue
Sadly though, it’s all bikes from here, no more ferries to dodge the riding from now on. As for Pamukkale, well it does what it says on the photographs… lots of photographs… from the hundreds of buses full of tourists that arrive non-stop all day. No, really, they do. We can see the bus car park from our campsite. Still, it is worth a visit.
There are more photos below