Turkey part 2
Updated: Dec 19, 2019
The border crossing from the Georgian side went very smooth and the border was very quiet. We got our passports stamped at the Turkish side but then someone decided seeing that they aren't very busy let get the camper x-rayed. We were sent from one place to the other, had to offload our bags, then load them again and eventually we we sent to the huge state of the art x-ray machine and we were told to stand and watch from a distance. The machine started scanning but halfway through the scan it stalled. The operator jumped out and started pulling wires and checking all the connections. After about 15 minutes of running in and out of the machine he called us and told us to go to an old garage with a pit where someone inspected the car from underneath with a torch, so much for technology. It took another 20 minutes of waiting before we were cleared and were allowed to leave. We were told that we had 2 bottles of wine more than was allowed but they won't take it away or give us a fine.
We drove to Kars were we had booked a nice hotel for the next couple of days in order to celebrate the twins and moms birthday. I went out the evening before the birthday and bought cake and balloons to surprise them all the next morning. We woke early the next morning and had cake and opened presents. We had more cake for breakfast at the hotel restaurant sharing it with some children that were also there. The day was spent having a picknick in a park not far from our hotel and having dinner at a very posh restaurant. We left the comfort of our our 4 star hotel the next day and headed for west towards Erzincan, driving on some of the best roads of our entire trip. Over the last decade Turkey has spent millions on upgrading their roads and most of the main roads are double highways that are in very good condition. We arrived in Erzincan and found a nice apartment where we could cook some food and after our last month of eating Georgian and Turkish restaurant food it was good to have plain old pasta with a nice home made sauce.
Sivas was our next stop and the not finding any camp sites in or near Sivas we searched a couple of booking sites and found a self catering room in a thermal spa hotel for a bargain. We booked and were very excited to relax in a warm spa and just chill out. We went shopping to cook up a storm and were looking forward to another home made meal. When we arrived the hotel was massive, the reception could not speak a word of English and were a bit rude. After a while trying to find our reservation we were given the keys to the room when we entered we found no fridge, no stove, no utensils and nothing for self catering. I
went down to reception and showed them our booking and that it confirmed that it was self catering. The receptionist said it was a mistake on the website and he could not do anything about it. By this time i had pulled out my best Turkish but to no avail, he said he could do nothing about it. I told him i want to see his manager and was told that he will come to our room in 10 minutes. After half an hour i went down again and asked the telephone number of the manager. He then called him and after a couple of minutes on the phone i was told that we could have a free buffet dinner for the 4 of us. The next issue was the pool, it was separate pools for men and woman and if we wanted to usr the family pool you have to pay 20 Euro. I tried my best to stay calm and we were told that the twins could go with Isabeau to the ladies pool.
Dinner was great and we had we were spoilt for choice, Ella got into the desert and Ben could not believe you had cooldrink on tap as much as you like.
We left for Goreme and Cappadocia the next morning, the landscape around Cappadocia is really something out of this world and difficult to explain in words. We found a cave hotel in Urgup and while trying to navigate the camper along the narrow road towards our cave i managed to bump into a corner of a building and lost a light at the side of the camper. We visited the the underground city of Kaymakli which history dates back to Hittites and Phrygians Period in the 7th and 8th century B.C. Kaymakli Underground City has acted as a safe haven for those fleeing from religious persecution, and it was mainly used by Christians during the Byzantine era for protection from invading Arabs. They estimate that up to 3,500 people once lived here. The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. The city is 8 levels deep but only 4 are open to the public, with the fourth level being 20 meters below ground. The city is arranged around ventilation shafts which descend 80 meters down and provides oxygen to all the levels. You enter the city at the first level, which was used as a stable for animals. As you progress you see the living quarters of families, the further down you go, you find storage rooms, cellars, a church, common areas, and a large kitchen where they cooked food for the entire population. They could only cook once a month, and had to do it at night so that enemies wouldn’t see the smoke. We tried to book a hot air balloon ride for Isabeau but they were fully booked the days we were there and the going rate was between Euro 200 and Euro 500. After two days of exploring the fairy chimneys and pigeon valley we had to say goodbye to this amazing one of its kind place. Our next stop was Konya and we found there was a campsite that was owned by the city and best of all it was free, with nice parking for the camper and clean showers and toilets. When we arrived we found 5 other campers parked here and it was the first time in more than a month that we found other campers. We were greeted by Jerome and Leslie a French couple from Lille travelling with a Land Cruiser since March 2019 trough most of Eastern Europe and Persia and plan to head back in February 2020. Amandine and Julien where also from France and they were travelling by camper for the last year with their 2 children that were 2 and 4 and had some interesting stories as they went as far as India with their camper. David form Spain was travelling by pick up on his own and was very funny and a tonic to have around, he had also been on the road for the last 6 months travelling Eastern Europe and the middle east. While we were unpacking and getting sorted we decided to have a BBQ and got everyone together and we had a great evening drinking and eating.
The next morning i was awoken by the camp manager that was very upset about the empty bottles and were told that this was a no alcohol campsite, i apologized but i could see they were not happy. The rest of the camper all woke up with a bit of a hangover and after breakfast and laughing about the previous night we all greeted each other and were on our way.
We decided to push trough as far as possible to get to Cannakale. We found a filling station just outside Bursa and camped on the forecourt for the evening.