Subject: Van to Goreme - Turkey
 
We arrived safely at Goreme, Capadocia, in the centre of Turkey. Goreme is famous for the 'Fairy Chimneys', and the 3rd and 4th century churches and cities that was carved out of the mountain, similar to Petra. After we rested for 3 days at Van, we drove north past Mt Ararat, west to the Black Sea and south to Goreme. We plan to spend 2 days here, and visit the carved cities and churches. We've travelled 4400km since we left Dubai.
 
Ons eerste indrukke van Turkye was nie so heeltemal positief soos Iran nie. Die grens prosedures was so bietjie vertraag, en niemand kan 'n woord engels praat of verstaan nie. Eers moes ek 'n visa kry. Dit was duidelik dat die beampte by die grenspos nog nooit 'n Suid Afrikaanse paspoort gesien het nie, en hy moes eers 'n hele paar oproepe maak en op die stelsel seker maak dat ek wel kwalifiseer vir 'n "visa on arival". Einde laaste, en $15 armer, is ek ingechap' (Charmaine ook). Toe is dit die GS, "Waar is die versekering meneer?" vra hulle met handgebare, want niemand praat mos 'n woord engels nie. "Ek het nie versekering nie my tjom" se ek hom. Gelukkig was daar 'n versekerings maatskapei se verteenwoordiger, en hy help my toe om dit te kry vir 'n verdere $10 (3 maande). Dit was gedoen deur middel van 'n tolk op sy selfoon, blykbaar sy neef of iets uit Ankara. Toe skryf hulle die bike se inligting in my paspoort om seker te maak ek neem hom uit die land, en maak die hek oop dat ons maar die land mag binne ry (sien foto). Die area was duidelik groener, maar die paaie nie so lekker soos hulle buurland s'n nie, sommer baie slaggate soos ons in Afrika teegekom het. Veral die dorpies was redelik vrot, maar die pragtige groen berge was 'n baie welkome gesig. Na ons deur so 6 of 7 weermag pad blokades was, kom ons op 'n truck-stop fulstasie af, waar ons sommer in die motel inboek. Dit is heelwat duurder as wat ons gewoond was om in Iran te betaal, $30 vir 'n kamer met koue water! Maar ons is moeg en soek 'n bietjie rus. Die volgende oggend slaap ons laat en kom eers by 12:00 se kant aan die gang. By die vulstasie se pomp, trek ek die bike nader om vol te maak. Die petrol mannetjie gesels verskriklik baie en aanhoudend en maak my kop mal, en natuurlik nie 'n woord engels nie. Soos ek hom verstaan vra hy watter soort petrol soek ek, Iran s'n of Turkye s'n. Ek verduidelik hom toe dat ek nie om gee nie, en ek begin gooi sommer van die pomp waarby ek staan. Ek let toe op dat die petrol geweldig duur is, TL3.50 ($3) per lieter! Met die wegtrekslag vrek die bike, ek met eens wonder ek watse sleg petrol verkoop hulle hier. Dit behoort nie 'n probleem te wees nie, aangesien ons destyds in Mosambiek 40km met Parafien gery het. Na die 5de of 6de probeerslag wil Ta nog nie weer vat nie.  Toe sal ons agterkom ek het die bike vol diesel gemaak! Wel, so nou kan ek bevestig dat 'n GS nie met Diesel sal werk nie. Die vulstasie het egter nie petrol nie, alhoewel sy naam reedelik groot heet: "Petrol station".

Toe kos dit my die hele 30 lieter tenk uitap. Die petrol mannetjie gaan koop toe vir my "Benzine" (dis wat hulle petrol hier noem) by die volgende stasie, en na so uur en 'n half se openhoud, start die GS weer. Toe ry ons maar net tot by die dorp Van, en kry 'n bekostigbare hotel om te oornag, maar teen $30 is dit amper nie bekostigbaar nie, maar vir kamp was ons nie lus nie, aangesien Charmaine so bietjie siek was, en eerder 'n warm bed nodig gehad het om te hertel en gesond te raak. 2 Dae later ry ons weer verder noord, in die rigting van berg Ararat. Berg Ararat lyk soortgelyk aan Kilimanjaro, ook omtrent dieselfde hoogte, oor die 5000 meter hoog. (sien foto).Turkey Van Ararat af het ons links gedraai in die rigting van die Swart See. 5km voor Bayburt, was dit al laaten ons ry toe teen so steilerige paadjie teen die berg uit en slaan ons tent daar op vir die nag. Die volgende oggend toe ons opstaan, was dit 6 grade C, lekker koud. Om te dink, net meer as 'n week gelede toe tjop ons af van die hitte, en nou kry ons koud. Die paaie en dorpe het bietjie beter begin raak, en mense ook vriendeliker, alhoewel niemand lelik of onbeskof was met ons nie, hulle is net lastig met die klomp vrae in 'n taal wat ek nie van uitmaak nie, en hulle kan ook nie iets se in engels nie, so ons glimlag maar net vir mekaar en gaan weer aan. Hoe nader ons aan die swart see kom, hoe bergagtiger en mooier raak die omgewing. Die een draai op die ander, soortgelyk aan die Bloukranspas daar duskant Tsitsikama, maar net 10 keer langer, en dit hou nie op nie. Die pad gaan ook deur baie tonnels, ek het by 10 opgehou tel. Toe ons eindelik by die Swart See kom, toe draai ons links en ry in die rigting van Unye, waar ons die aand gekamp het. Daardie deel van die swart see het my baie laat herinner aan Wildernis area, met 'n dubbel baan snelweg omtrent al die pad. Die kampterein was nou nie iets om oor huis toe te skryf nie, maar ons kon darem ons klere en die bike gewas kry.

Vanoggend, vanaf Unye, het ek seker die meeste draaie aaneen gery wat ek nog ooit gery het. Dis amper of ek die Longtom pas 20 keer oor en oor gedoen het, vir 150km was ek net 2 keer in 6de rat, die res van die tyd was dit tussen 3de, 4de en 5de, met skerp draaie en digte bosse al die pad. Eintlik baie pragtig, maar my gedagtes was op die 500km wat ek moet afle vir die dag, en het nie juis rondgekyk nie, net gekonsentreer en eintlik gewens dat die draaie nou moet end kry. Gelukkig het dit later meer gelyk geord en ons kos weer teen 110km/h aangaan. Die dorpe raak al hoe beter en mooier soos ons nader aan die Midelandse see kom, die petrol is nog steeds so duur. Daar is darem so hier en daar mense wat begin engels praat. En nou is ons hier, in Goreme, die plek waar duisende Christene wegekruip het in die jare van vervolging (4de Eeu), en stede onder die berg uitgegrawe het.Ons sal die plek gaan verken en vir julle vertel. Die kampterein waar ons kamp is uit die boekke, met wireless, ek kan amper in my tent sit en 'surf' op die net. Die ballie van die kampplek is so gaaf, hy het selfs vir ons 'n regte matras gegee om op te slaap, dis nou wat ek noem klientediens!
 

Epos gestuur: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 6:52 PM
Subject: Veilig by die Med
 
Ons is veilig in Silifke, so 100km suid-wes van Tarsus op die kus. 400km gery vandag, meeste in die reen.
Ons hat vanoggend een van die ondergrondse stede besoek, amazing gewees. Dis tonnels soos 'n doolhof, waar die Christene wegekruip het in die vervolgings jare (300). Ons het deur Tarsus ook gery, waar Paulus gebore was.
Nou kamp ons langs die see, te lekker.
 
Email Sent: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 6:09 PM
Subject: Camping on the Med beach - Turkey
 
 We are  sitting here in the Akcakil camp site which is right on the beach of the Mediterranean.  It's a real homely camp site with chickens and ducks running around and four bunny rabbits!  Oh and the dog, quite a big fella who takes himself off for a swim in the sea when he gets too hot.  Thank you Jesus for such a wonderful place. The beach area has sun lounges with umbrellas and the ground is covered with white pebbles which is a bit harsh on the feet.  It is not the lovely soft white sand that we are used to at Blouberg!  Not too far into the water and my feet found the sandy bottom.  The water is so clear that i could watch the little fishes coming to feed where i kicked up the sand.  We spent the day relaxing, chatting on skype to both sets of folks, i did the clothe washing - this is when i really miss my washing machine i had in Dubai - and Johan washed the bike.  The bike was a good shade of black, as yesterday the journey started in freezing  rain and it only got slightly warmer when we got to the sea.  It rained most of the day on and off. We discovered that our Dubai biking rain pants are only meant for Dubai rain and not the serious type of rain that falls here in Turkey or what we will be getting in Europe...  as they say in Dubai... what to do!  As Johan says... shopping... we will have to get some good rain proof gear in the UK or the States, as well as new boots as they are also giving up the ghost.  Poor Johan's feet were soaked through, i'm a little more protected sitting behind him, so my feet stayed relatively dry, but we both got that chilly feeling at the crotch, tee hee hee! 
 
I must say it is nice not having to worry about work stuff, i just cant believe that i allow myself to get so sucked up into the work problems that will still be there even though i am not there.  Oh well, hopefully i will not be in a work environment for a while.....
 
Email Sent: Friday, June 13, 2008 6:39 PM
 
Subject: Goreme to Pamukkale - Turkey
 
We're in Pamukkale, western Turkey. From Goreme we traveled direct south to Tarsus, the town where Paul was born. Not much to see there, so we moved further west along the Medeteranian coast and stayed at a town called Silifke. From Silifke we traveled another 600 plus kilometers along the coast, past Antalya, to the picturistic town of Kas. We left Kas this morning and traveled to where we are now, 250km direct north. Pamukkale is known for it's white travertines, a kind of rock which is formed as calsium bi-carbonate precipitates out of hot spring water. The Romans also built a city here some 300BC, called Hierapolis.Philip (one of Jesus' apostles) was martyred here in Hierapolis in 80AD. Yes, the history in Turkey is amazing and dates back right to the beginning of civilatation as we know it.
The attached photos is from Goreme, where we visited the rock hewen churches and underground cities where the early christians hid in the time of persecursion. The second lot is from the road next to the Med.
 
By Goreme het ons lekker gebly by 'n kampterein met fantastiese fasiliteite en besonders skoon badkamer geriewe. Die ballie van die kampterein het ons selfs ge'spoil' met 'n regte matras vir ons tent, nie die opblaas model nie. Ons het te lekker geslaap. Die volgende dag het ons die 1km afgestap na die opelug museum. Die museum bestaan uit 'n hele klomp kerke wat uit die rots gekap is. Van buite af lyk dit soos 'n deel van 'n berg met 'n gat in.TurkeyAs jy deur die gat stap, maak dit oop in 'n klein kerk geboutjie met skilderye teen die mure en dak. Daar was ook wooneenhede uit die rots gekap, seker maar waar die priesters en kerk ouens gebly het, noem dit dan maar die konsestorie. Dit was besonders om te sien, en ek kon duidelik die ooreenkoms van die kerkies sien met die kerk geboue in Duitsland. Hulle het ook koepels en skilderye. Ek ken nie te veel van daardie geskiedenis om julle meer te vertel nie. Van die museum af het ons 'n verdere 1.5km afgestap dorp toe. Die dorpie is baie toegerus vir toerisme en die area het my so laat herinner aan die Golden Gate, ek weet nie hoekom nie. Die atmosfeer daar was so lekker rustig. Na ons rondgestap het in die dorp moes ons die 2.5km opdraend terug stap kamp toe, goeie oefening.
 
Die kampterein was vol Holanders en so paar Duitsers met hul goed toegeruste 'motorhomes'. Die volgende oggend teen 7AM was ons gepak, reg om te ry, toe dit begin hard reen het. Dit was ons eerste reen sedert Djibouti. So 40 km suid van Goreme was die ondergrondse stad wat ons besoek het. Dit was besonders om te beleef en sien. Dis soos molsgangetjies wat aangaan en aangaan, diep in die berg in. Mens kan sien die ouens wat daar gebly het was hoogs ingerig vir die ondergrondse lewe. Daar was selfs sulke groot ronde klippe wat hulle sekere tonnels mee kon toemak, in die tyd waneer die vyhand gekom het. Baie interesant om te beleef, en dit het my net so klein en nederig laat voel hoe maklik ons dit in vandag se lewe het, waar ons in redelike vryheid en vrede kan leef, ongeag van ons geloof of uitgangspunt. Daar was tye wat dinge anders was, en mense het in angs geleef, ter wille van hul geloof. Maar tog het dit nie hul toewyding aan God laat verslap nie. Laat mens dink. . . ..
 
Van daar af het ons verder in die reen suid gery tot by Tarsus. By Tarsus was daar nie te veel sien nie, en ons het maar voortgegaan na Silifke. Net na Tarsus het ons 100km deur 'n stad in 'n donderbui gery. Ons, en die bike was so vuil soos 3 varkies wat in die modder gerol het.Net anderkant (westekant) Silifke Turkeyhet ons op 'n pragtige kampplek afgekom, en sommer 2 aande gebly. Ons het die dag dinge maar net rustig gevat, geswem en so bietjie met ons ouers op Skype gepraat.
 
Donderdag oggend redelik vroeg is ons weer aan die gang gewees, en het die meeste draaie aaneen gery as wat ek ooit in my lewe gekry het. Die 620km tussen Silifke en Kas, het ons heel dag besig gehou. Die pad was 'n kombinasie van Bainskloof, Rooi els, ou Helshoogte tot goeie paaie soos Outeniqua ens. Dit was uit die boekke en die GS was in sy element, letterlik deur berge en dale. Langs die pad het ons ook heelwat ou Jawa's gesien. Nou vir die wat nie weet nie, 'n Jawa is 'n 350cc tweeslag motorfiets wat in die Czech republic gebou word. Van hulle lyk baie oud, so regte 1950's style. Die mense wat nie Jawa's ry nie, ry 'n scooter, daar is letterlik honderde scooters oorals in die dorpe. Die local resturante en tee-winkels se voorkant lyk soos 'n regte 'biker's hangout', maar die local mense ry nie motorfiets vir plesier soos ons by die huis nie, dis hulle aledaagse vervoer, oud en jonk is te sien op 2 wielle. Die dorpie Kas, is prentjiemooi, en ons het hom binnegery toe die son sak, tent opgeslaan by 'n kampterein langs die see, en vanoggend 10AM was ons weer op pad uit die dorp. Die pad wes van Kas af was van die lekkerste paaie langs die see wat ons teegekom het, Chapman's Peak se style, met die pragtige helder blou see aan die linkerkaqnt en die magtige kranse aan die regterkant, pragtig.................En nou is ons hier. . . . . . . .
 
Email Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 7:12 PM
 
Subject: Pamukkale to Ipsala - last of Turkey
 

We are in the town of Ipsala which is about 6km from the Greece border.  We have done 6500km since we have left Dubai and almost 30000km since we left Cape Town. In our last email, we had reached Pamukkale which has become famous for the white Travertine's and the ruined city of Hierapolis. We were looking for a camp site when this persistent guy on a scooter handed me a tiny brochure on the OZBAY Hotel.  Well what can I say, the words "free internet" made Johan's ears tune in and then when he told us that the room would be 25 TRL (the same as what we had being paying for camping) it was a no-brainer, we booked in!  A room with bathroom and a western (sit) toilet, soap,,towels and A/C... .. but let me tell you, that the people who do the renovations to these places need to actually try the facilities before they fix them to the walls.  Bruno and Pascal, you will know what I mean... the squat toilets - no problem, they just place them in the middle of the floor and your guests are "happy".... the western toilet is put into a corner of the little bathroom, with the toilet roll holder in a good position next to you but here is the problem.... you sit on the toilet with your left side flush against the wall and your left leg wedged under the toilet roll holder but you have to remove the toilet roll otherwise there is no way you can sit semi-straight on the loo (and i am small).  I decided that it was easier to use that particular toilet sitting sideways with my back against the wall and the back of the loo on my right hand side....  Yes this is one of the topics that begins to fascinate a person travelling the world by road....

We got up nice and early,,had breakfast and then drove up to the South gate which is above the Travertine's. (The pictures are mostly from Hirapolis and the hot water pools).Turkey We decided to first walk amongst the ruins of Hierapolis and headed for the amphitheatre.  It was only open from the back (top of the seating area); most of the stage area and the bottom section of the seating was closed off to the public.  The view from the top was truly amazing.  We walked further up the hill to the site where the church was built in honour of Philip who was martyred in the city in 80AD.  It is such a strange feeling to stand in a place where one of the Apostles had been when the town was still standing!  We strolled down to the Travertine's through many other bits and pieces of grand marble pillars, the main road and "filages"/ aqueducts all in ruins from the great earth quake that destroyed the city.  The filages looked like natural rock and they were everywhere through the city, what we worked out was that they were made with the soft white minerals (mud) from in the pools of the travertines, as it is soft in the pools and only goes hard when exposed to the air. The Travertine's really are a marvel of nature, which are still giving people great pleasure to splash around in the hot spring and pools just like the Romans did all those many years ago.

 Next we headed for Ephesus (Efes).  It was a nice short drive and once again we travelled through farm lands with rows and rows of fig trees, olive trees, peach and apricot trees, vineyards, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, chilli peppers, garlic, water melon, other melons, and many other food stuffs which I could not identify, the air has such a wonderful smell - mostly fig! At Ephesus we were advised by one of the curio shop attendants to catch a shuttle bus to the other gate otherwise we would have to walk all the way back, this was good advice - so we shuttled off to the other gate via a leather shop....  the leather shop has this system that the shuttle bus brings customers into the leather shop and then they run the customers to the entrance of Ephesus.  Very cleaver and it works.... Johan bought a beautiful leather belt, which he really needed as his jeans keep falling down!  Anyway it was not long and we were at the ancient town of Efes.  We hired the audio tour guide (a head phone set which you listen to the historical information at the various points throughout the site) this is a must for anyone who is not with a tour group.  We got to hear all about the various temples, the marble roads, fountains in honour of gods, the grand library and most importantly the amphitheatre where Paul delivered his speech on the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Romans.  Once again an unforgettable moment to read the passages in Acts 19 in the Bible and to be able to visualise the actual location. The city must have been extremely grand in its day as the ruins are really stunning. 

 We found a place to stay for the night and the next morning headed off toward the Turkey/Greece border but only got as far as Kucukkuyu, a little town along the coast of the Aegean Sea.  The camp site was very plain and simple but very clean, the maintenance was done by an elderly couple who live in a caravan.  They spoke broken German so we could understand each other a little.  That is another interesting factor that amazed us; English didn't help us much in Turkey, as almost no one speaks english.  They all seem to be able to speak German, and Dutch in some tourist areas. So our Afrikaans was more helpful than our English. We camped amongst the olive trees and late in the evening a tractor came into the camp site with his bug spraying machine running at full tilt.  He rode up and down and right next to us, we coughed and spluttered a bit but it was not too bad, at least we knew that no bugs would bother us the rest of the night,.... tee hee hee!! ...............Today was a refreshing ride with cool temperatures as we were mostly on the coast.  We caught a ferry across the Aegean Sea and headed for the little town just before the border - Ipsala. We plan to cross into Greece tomorrow, and do not plan to hang around much, as time is ticking on and we would like to be at Derby, UK on the 3rd of July.

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