Monday, 28 May 2012

We love Turkey!

We arrived in Istanbul, through the manic traffic, to a very warm welcome from Adil and Mehmet of Istanbul Bike Club. We were able to leave our bikes in their clubhouse and rent an apartment up above.  The following day, Mehmet gave us a guided tour of Istanbul, taking in, amongst other things, The Blue Mosque, The Grand Bazaar and The Spice Bazaar, all in glorious sunshine. Now, we’re not lovers of cities but we really enjoyed Istanbul, for as big as it is, it never really felt too crowded.  Belle and Nadine arrived that night too – it was great to see them again after the Scoots trip. The next day was Adil’s birthday but he gave his day up to take us places – nothing is too much trouble for these guys. At night there was a birthday party and we met lots of the club members. When it comes to bikes, language (or the lack of it) is not a problem.  There were other things we wanted to see in Turkey so we left the bike club the following day, taking the ferry out of Istanbul (easier and much prettier than riding the motorways) and arrived in Asia!
We headed down to Goreme, which is the next town to Cappadocia. On the way down, we came across this amazing site.
The area of Cappadocia is famous for the caves in the rocks. They are amazing. 

 From there we headed down to Sanliurfa where we’d meet Enkar and Hussan. We were given their details by Mehmet in Istanbul and Enkar came and met us and took us to Hassan’s house where he kindly let us stay. On the ride down we came across an accident where a lorry had gone off the road (carrying a combine harvester - bet you're all singing The Wurzels now!). Now, the crane was trying to lift the wreckage and folk are just wandering around, under the arm, stopping on the other side of the road and coming over for a look and no one cared. We didn’t want to sit too long so Darren asked the kind policeman if we could just ride round the lorry in the drainage ditch and as he drew on his cigarette, he just nodded and waved us on.  Such a relaxed outlook. We also keep getting free tea and coffee at garages we stop at, whether we are buying anything or have just stopped for a rest.
We visited Gobleki Tepe which archaeologists are working on. It dates back to 10000 BC – 12000 years old! We then head for Mount Nemrut which is renowned for the figures just below the summit. We arrived in the car park just as sun was setting and there was no way we’d be up and down before dark so we stayed up there. 4am next morning, we were up and climbing the final ascent to the summit to watch the sunrise, which was absolutely breathtaking (as was the climb!). It was well worth the effort. Once the sun was up, we were able to have a good look round at the figures. It must be amazing for archaeologists to make these finds.

We are well on the way north now and we hope to be in Georgia in 2/3 days time.
Turkey has been a constant surprise for us both. The country is stunning but also the warmth of the Turkish folk is never ending. Thank you to you all for making our Turkish journey so wonderful.

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