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Published: September 3rd 2007
Seeing trucks on the Turkish border who had been waiting to cross over the border for upwards of a week made us feel only slightly better about waiting 6 hours ourselves, but eventually we were in Turkey! Turkey, the 20th country on our world trip! We were really looking forward to Turkey and not disappointed! Almost instantly the landscapes changed from barren deserts to pine tree covered mountains we imagine the like of Canada (stay tuned and we'll let you know in November if that's right!) ;-)
It took us until 10pm that night to reach our campsite in Cappadochia after the hold up at the border, but the drive was amazing with spectacular scenery. On reaching our camp, exhausted as we were, we just had to crack open our duty free before crashing for the night. We all slept in a big "cave" which was pretty cool! Kristi's sleep talking went down a treat with the others ;-)
The next day was an awesome day in Cappadochia. First up we went to Imagination Valley where you get all those bizarre and very well photographed rock formations (magic chimneys) where we, of course, took more photos. After this we
went to the Open Air Museum and saw all the caves in the cliffs that were lived in for centuries and went through a few of their tunnels. After a traditional lunch and un-traditional icecream (I think they were Magnums ;-) ) we went to a pottery place to drink yummy apple tea, see traditional pottery methods and Kristi got picked on to make a bowl (well, that's what it was supposed to be...) After that we went to the Underground City which was pretty damn amazing! The underground city is almost beyond belief, even when you're standing right down there in the rooms and tunnels. Chambers and passages are all around you. These cave cities once held thousands of inhabitants fleeing invading armies. Until the armies decamped, the land's inhabitants lived hidden beneath the surface. The city is, amazingly, fully equipped with stables, wells, air inlets, chimneys for smoke from the cookfires, wine presses and storage pits, salt-grinding tables, and even huge churches. They are over a thousand years old and still look pristine. They are sooooooooo huge and more underground cities are apparently being found fairly often. It's all very surreal! We bought some yummy apple tea at
the markets near the underground city, as we could feel an addiction coming on, and headed back to camp. We chilled for the rest of the day and then headed out to a Turkish Night with traditional dancers and meal. It was really quite tacky, so we just ended up drinking a lot of the all-included alcohol on the table (they just dumped bottles of spirits and mixers right smack bang on our tables - very handy).
We left Cappadochia the next day, for a loooong, most of the day, drive to Olympos where we stayed at a pretty cool place right down in a valley in the midst of huge mountains. Quite a surreal location and the place we stayed were all log cabins ("treehouses") which were pretty cool (and new as there had been a big fire 6 months ago and everything has had to be rebuilt). We had a fantastic dinner (yum yum) and witnessed the presence of kiwis visiting in the past. Every treehouse has it's own individual name, painted on by a guest at the time of it's finishing. There was a nice "Jandal Whare" and also a "Bro Town" in the midst.
We had a nice late sleep in at Olympos the next day then only a 4hour-ish drive through to Kas, stopping enroute for Gozleme (Turkish pancakes). It was a wicked drive around the beautiful coastline. Our camp was right on the Med and so we quickly decided that there was still no point to tents, we'd sleep on the beach chairs the nights we were there. We went into town in the afternoon, it was a pretty quaint town, lots of restaurants and cafes, a cool waterfront/marina area, and had dinner at the Marina. That night we slept on the beach chairs by the water which was very cool. The next day we went down to the Marina and hired a private Guilet for the day. This was one of the BEST days! The boat was awesome, really clean and polished and the two crew were fabulous. We spent the whole day sailing the Med, swimming off the boat in turqoise water, fishing, eating great fresh lunch including the fish we'd JUST caught!, sunbathing and then visiting a quaint fishing village and the Sunken City which is quite an eerie experience. It was an awesome, awesome day and definitely a
highlight of our trip.
It was sad to leave Kas, but we stopped for a swim in a waterfall on our way to Selcuk, where we stayed at Atilla's Getaway, a really cool, laid back place with nice pool, bar and, yes, a pool table! Martin was stoked and, I'm pretty sure, wanted to stay there forever more. It was a great place to hang out and there was a "Killer Pool" tournament that night, which Rhys won for us. The next day we had an early-ish start for a tour of Ephesus which was pretty humourous because we had a guide that reminded us of Yoda from Star Wars, he'd walk along talking away, head bowed as we tried to keep up, then he told us that a very faded sign was the sign of Lesbians having been there (a shock to Pennie who has studied Ancient History at Uni and said it was nothing of the sort, she was laughing so hard!) After Ephesus we went into the town of Selcuk which was quite cute, had some lunch, shopped for dinner then hurried back to the Getaway so we could laze about for the rest of the
day. Pretty cruisy afternoon, lots of swimming, pool and volleyball and then a great dinner of cheese, olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh turkish bread, etc - all yum, yum, yum! ;-)
The next day was another long travel day. We stopped off at Troy on the way to Gallipoli, it was pretty cool but unfortunately we were getting pretty "ruined" out by now and we were in quite a rush so had hardly any time there. The reconstruction of the big horse is quite amusing. We got to Gallipoli in the late afternoon, it was a very interesting trip around the different points and to the different memorial sites, a bit emotionally draining. Standing there at the memorials was a unique experience and made the realities of war hit home particularly hard. We saw the trenches where at times the two sides were literally a few metres away from each other! The land there is still littered with bones, our guide pointed out several small pieces of bone as we walked the road, just in the dirt to the side. He says when it rains, there are literally bones to be found everywhere. A pretty horrific yet historically interesting site.
That night we stayed at a camp right near Gallipoli, but since it was our last night in Turkey we decided we just still couldn't put up a tent so laid out our mats and sleeping bags under the stars once again. It was a really clear night.
The next day we visited the turtles that live in a stream near the camp and then embarked for our trip through to Istanbul. Martin soon established there was quite a bit of alcohol onboard the truck and none of us wanted to be dragging that around, so astonishing amounts were quickly consumed in the afternoon before we got to Istanbul. As a result, it was a pretty funny drive! ;-) We didn't know a lot about Istanbul and had only booked one night there but as soon as we arrived we wished we were staying longer. We stayed right in the heart of the old quarter in a fantastic location at The Romance Hotel. The ambience of the city is really cool, and there is a lot to see. We went for a group dinner before we all split up to go our separate ways and on the way walked
past the Blue Mosque and the twin Obelisks. We just really liked the atmosphere and plan to go back one day.
After a great breakfast at the hotel the next day it was time to go to the airport and travel over to Greece for a relazing 2 week holiday there - we couldn't wait!
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