Turkey

Our route – Turkey

Hello Everyone,

There is a map of our route we took in Turkey posted above

We really enjoyed Turkey and we would like to write in some points our general thoughts about this country, people, culture and etc…

  • We were expecting lots of touts, but in general people are amazing, very friendly and hospitable.
  • Roads are actually good, however sometime we needed to drive long distances on still really sticky and hot tar/bitumen roads (on which you were feeling like you were driving on chewing gum!) – not good for tyres at all.
  • Drivers in general are good
  • Fuel is extremely  expensive
  • Even though in Turkey 99% people profess Islam – we observed a lot of influences from Western culture. For example:DRESS CODE- Both genders are supposed to wear Hijab as the requirement for modesty and being evaluated for intelligence and skills instead of looks and sexuality. However, nowadays lots of Turkish people don’t wear Hijab very often, their cloths are more in Western style, but they cover themselves in a proper way and they still look modest.
  • Unfortunately, the further from the tourist sites, the more rubbish is in on the streets, cities or at the coast.
  • Really good food – well, no wonder as Turkey is the place where Kebab was born:) plus there are amazing ice-creams.
Advertisements
Categories: Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hello Turkey

We entered Turkey at Ipsala border gate (west of Keşan, east of Alexandroupolis) from Greece. It was a little bit longer border than Europeans ones as we needed to get visas and International Insurance Card (Green Card) for Rusty

COST ON THE BORDER:

Turkish visas for Polish Citizens – 15 Euro/person

International Insurance Card (Green Card) – 35 Euro/1 month

Before we even got to the officials we had “ups” moment going through first gate. The person who was operating a barrier let us in, but suddenly in front of us big spikes jumped out from little road. We stopped and caused a huge car queue behind us. People started yelling something and hand showing us kind of “move yourself” as there was no space to bypass our Rusty…Nobody told us that when you were approaching those spikes they were going down…We didn’t know that, but somehow one guy encouraged us to drive through – so we had to trust him and we did it with almost closed eyes and with feeling of hearing big bang!!!….but in some mysterious magical way spikes disappeared as we drove on to them and we didn’t damage any tyres!!!! YEY!!

ISTANBUL or CANAKKALE? Decisions, Decisions….

There are two options of crossing boundary between Europe and Asia in Turkey. First one is through The Bosporus Strait with an opportunity of visiting Istanbul, and second one through The Dardanelles Strait with a chance of sightseeing fantastic historic sites, including the ruins of Troy, Ephesus and Pergamum. We had chosen ancient history trail, through Aegean Coast and Canakkale.

We took Eceabat–Çanakkale ferry line and paid 2 Turkish Lira for passenger and 20 Turkish Lira for car (Around 10-12 USD for everything)

USEFULL INFO about DIESEL

Price of diesel is shocking and the most expensive in the World and equals around 2.20 USD/liter. Unfortunately, being smart and filling additional few fuel containers in previous countries is not recommended as if they notice at the border that you have more diesel than one container you will be asked for pouring your fuel out…

Categories: Antakia, Turkey | Leave a comment

Truva

Truva (Troy) is well- known for being the setting of the Troian War described in the Greek Epic Cycle and especially in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. It was a factual and legendary city, located in northwest Anatolia in what is now Turkey. Today is an archeological site and also famous tourist attraction.
To us, it was nice to see that place, however the site didn’t impressed us that much as we expected.

In Truva we spent a night on the camping site:

Troia Pension & Camping & Helen & Paris Cafe Book Store

Uran SAVAS- Professional Tourist Guide

e-mail: uransavas17@hotmail.com

http://www.troiapension.com/

(A really nice owner, great site, good WI-FI, clean bathrooms – definitely recommended)

Uran gave us a really good price for the camping site and also spent with us the whole evening offering us delicious red wine and Raki – Turkish national vodka.

Categories: Truva, Turkey | 1 Comment

Bergama

A long time ago, actually from 3rd century BC to 1st century AD Bergama or if you prefer Perganum was one of the richest and powerful small kingdoms of the Mediterranean See. Today, it is an extensive and well presented site of ruins situated on hill on the outskirts of the city. We had an amazing opportunity to visit this site at sunset, when there were no tourists around and for FREE.  Well, we sneaked through a hole in the fence used by shepherds letting their goats graze….( Yup..It looks that goats and shepherds don’t have to pay for tickets). We also met there two very nice, Turkish guys – Abdul and his brother, who we joined for a “private” exploration of this site:D

Categories: Bergama | Leave a comment

Selcuk and Ephesus (Efes)

It looks that, after Bergama and Perganum, we still weren’t fed up with ancient history and architecture and we drove towards Ephesus. We stopped in Selcuk, not only because Roman ruins of Ephesus are on its doorstep, but also because of the Temple of Artemis, which used be one of the 7th Wonders of the Antic World –  that Temple was much bigger than the Parthenon at Athens, however nowadays only a little bit more than one pillar remains. In Selcuk, we also visited the Isabey Mosque, which is one of the oldest and most impressive works of architectural art and Museum of Ephesus where  works of art found in the excavations in Ephesus are displayed.

Categories: Efez | Leave a comment

Ephesus – the archeological site

Even if you are not interested in ancient culture, the beauty of the ruins of Efes will impress you. This site is really well-preserved and you can get vision and feeling how life looked here in Roman times. Especially taking into consideration information that first brothel (Public House) was built exactly in Ephesus :D. Unfortunately, the beauty of this site can be overshadowed by flooding masses of tourists.

Map of the site

Map of the site

Categories: Efez | 1 Comment

Pamukkale and Hierapolis

Pamukkale is one the famous attractions in Turkey, but the town itself is not really big. We arrived there quite late, and even parking somewhere on the street for the night seemed to be difficult. We found the only one campsite there, but we couldn’t negotiate a good price with the owner. We needed to look around for different place. Firstly, we didn’t see any logical place to stay; only some people were touting us to theirs restaurants. Tired, we were responding that we were looking for a place to stay, not food. Some nice guys took a pity on us and said that they could help. And they indeed helped. They disappeared somewhere for a while  and when they were back, they said that we could park in front of the Artemis Yoruk Hotel and use their facilities such as: bathroom, Turkish bath and swimming pool. All of those luxuries only for 3 beers, they asked for organizing that “accommodation” for us.

Pammukale itself is a form of the gleaming white ledges with pools that flow down over the plateau edge. Unfortunately, taking a bath there is rather impossible as over many years water supply has dried. This attraction is open 24hours, however the best time to go in our opinion is sunrise, when you cannot wait till the Sun reach all of these pools and there is no tourists around.

Behind this fragile natural wonder lie the magnificent ruins of another Roman City called Hierapolis and ancient spa resort.

pamukkale-map-hierapolis

Categories: Pamukkale | 2 Comments

Three Lakes

After Pamukkale we were driving towards Cappadocia, however we needed to do some stops as the distance was around 660 kilometers. It was 3 days of driving around this part of Turkey, which is not really touristy. We passed like 20 signs saying “Ada” and we were wondering what my name could mean in Turkish. Our first camp was at the Egirdir Lake, where I finally discovered that “Ada” means island.  We were very lucky as we had this lovely place for ourselves, for free and no one bothered us there. At this lake we also had sort of little car crash – if I can name it that way. While we were sitting inside Rusty and eating breakfast two guys on a motorbike bumped into our van (Probably one guy was teaching the other how to drive). They both fell down, but fortunately, they were fine and Rusty… not even a scratch…:)

Next day, after many hours of driving we stopped for a lunch at the second lake – Beysehir Lake. That place was very nicely designed for having a picnic – plenty of wooden tables and benches under the wooden roofs. We chose one nice spot and we started cooking. While we were preparing our food, a Turkish lady came to us with a tray full of some green food we have never seen before. (Firstly, we didn’t know what was going on, I thought that the lady wanted to sell some food, but after a while we realized that Turkish Lady just wanted to share her meal with us – maybe she noticed that we were eating only pasta with some canned tomatoes: D, which was not really extraordinary dish). The green food was called Dolma (rice with some veggies and spices wrapped into grape leaves – traditional in Balkans and Middle East countries). When we came back to the lady to say thank you she invited us for a cup of tea with her family. We spent a lovely time there trying to speak in English, Turkish and sign language.

Our last stop before Cappadocia was at the Lake Tuz, which is the second largest lake in Turkey and one of the largest hyper-saline lake in the world. Firstly we drove through some weird path covered by salt and grass (off the road) and then we abandoned Rusty (only temporarily of course…) and continued on foot around 2 kilometers in order to find some water in the lake, but we didn’t succeed. All we found was cracked soil…spreading for severalkilometers….no water only mirage…(We still believe that there is water..Like in the middle of the lake.. Or when it’s raining)

Categories: Cappadocia | Leave a comment

Cappadocia – The lunar land!

Cappadocia – the land of lunar landscapes and surreal scenery full of ancient churches and cave dwellings, which is situated deep in the heart of Turkey. Cappadocia consists of soft volcanic tuff that has been sculpted over million years into incredible shapes by water and erosion. The result of this amazing geological process is fascinating: huge stone mushrooms called “chimney mushrooms” by local people, soft ridges and deep valleys, acute edges and mild undulations.  Early Christians carved chambers and labyrinths into those chimneys and use them as homes, stables and chimneys .During our “lunar” trip, we had an opportunity to explore Cappadocia upside down by visiting one of those underground cities called Kirkgoz. It was a nice a cool experience – and “cool” here has two meanings as firstly, being underground when above is over 30 degrees of Celcius was such a relief and secondly those underground  labyrinths and chambers gave us a feeling of being in the Flintstone World. (Unfortunately, our photos are very blurred, so we have unloaded only one from that site).

In Cappadocia, in overall we spent 3 days – driving around different towns and admiring various shapes of rocky sculptures.  This land is very diverse as every few kilometers landscapes were changing. It looked more like a trip from the Moon to the Mars as rocks were getting more pink and red)

On the last day whilst we were walking through one of those lunar valleys– we met very nice Turkish people, who were working in the field. As they had a break, they invited us for a cup of tea. Again – in order to communicate we needed to use English, some French and Turkish, but the best way to keep conversation was as always sign language. We were contributing in preparing tea and also one of our new friends showed us how to help tomatoes grow properly. At the end, we were invited for a nice Turkish coffee and some apricots (plenty of apricots trees – sort of wild-growing in that ares– good timing for us). The coffee and fruits were served inside the shelter, which was excavated in the rock by Mother Nature, of course and improved by our Turkish friends as they installed door and glassy windows…Nice and cool place for lunch time, heh:)

In general, it seems that Cappadocia is properly used by Turkish people living in this region. For instance, in main towns such as Goreme or Urgup rocky labyrinths and chambers are used as hotels or restaurants.

A little bit “balloon” map of Cappadocia

kappamap1

l

Categories: Cappadocia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Antakya – undiscovered Turkey

Actually,  after  Cappadocia tour,  our major plan was to focus on : how , where and if we were able to cross Turkish-Syrian border, especially as approximately at the same time Turkish Military Jet was shot down  by Syrian Air Defences. We got scared that we would not beallowed to enter Syria as situation there had strengthened. We spent more or less a week driving around Turkish and Syrian Border doing research and thinking about our options.

We have never mentioned about this yet, but during our stay in Turkey most of the time we were doing urban camping and in our way it means – sleeping in Rusty on petrol stations!!! Yes I know it sounds crazy, but in Turkey, it worked perfectly – it was for free, safe as there was always someone to serve customers and watch what’s going around and we did have access to the bathroom, which were most of the time very clean. Turkish people, as we managed to already find out, are very nice and hospitable. And here in Antakya (called Hatay as well) while we were camping on one M-OIL petrol station we met Yusuf, his co-workers and his amazing family. Yusuf not only didn’t mind that we stayed for the night at “his” petrol station but also he invited us for a lovely Turkish Coffee and fed us with very juicy watermelon. Instead of going to sleep we had a proper petrol station party. Next morning, the first thing we heard was knocking to our Van. That was Yusuf with fresh & strong coffees for a proper wake-up.  It was special to us. He also taught us a new word in Turkish  – arkadaş (arkadash) – which means “a friend”. It was even more special to us.

After saying good bye to lovely people on M-Oil fuel station we went towards Syrian border, but we sort of got lost in Antakya. Surpassingly we met Yusuf again, who invited us home. We got introduced to the whole of his family and even neighbors and also we got invited for a lovely breakfast. Our communication was very creative – of course– sign language rocked, but apart from this, our conversation was based on looking for words in a Turkish-English dictionary – which turned out very handy and smart!

We spent an amazing day with Yusuf’s family. In the afternoon we were taken to Harbiye. You haven’t heard about this place? Neither did us, till that day as that place is not occupied by foreign tourists, which makes it unique and sort of local. Harbiye is located in the suburbs of Antakia and it is perched on a steep forested hillside looking towards the Mediterranean Sea. In Roman times it was called Daphne (laurel)…With reference to mythology that it was the place where a horny Zeus, pursuing the nymph Daphne, caught her and tuned into a laurel tree.  To the Romans, Daphne was a place of resort for the rich and powerful of Antioch-ad-Orontes (Today Antakya).

Harbiye is a modern cityscape, but your real reason for visiting is a steep forested valley with deep shadows, numerous waterfalls, water courses and plenty of restaurants, where tables and chairs are set by the water, or even right in the water. During the blazing heat this place would be your seventh heaven. Definitely recommended!!!

We are very grateful to the Yusuf and his family for hospitality, showing us amazing place and the whole experience. Thank you!

Categories: Antakia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.