Güle Güle Türkiye, Hey Georgia

Batumi (Georgia), 04.05.2013

Lots of episodes today, we have a story for tree huggers, for puppy lovers, for adventure boys and cynics. Let’s go one by one. We woke up at 0700 with a spectacular view out of the tent on the lake we discovered the night before. To start the day properly, we went for a “swim” in the lake. If water wouldn’t freeze at minus degrees we’d say it felt like minus twenty. So it must have been right above zero, and therefore the swim lasted like 15 seconds. But once we got out it became quite hot right away. We also had our first outdoor shower with the “camping douche” we bought in Cannes. And we shared our morning coffee with the camping site owner of Iskele Cafe, a very friendly man we barely got to know since his English was basic and our Turkish non existent. Continue reading “Güle Güle Türkiye, Hey Georgia”

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Georgia Must Wait

Tortum Gölu (Turkey), 03.05.2013

It should have been the day to leave Turkey, but this country is too beautiful to let go. Like every day we wanted to wake up at 7, breakfast at 8, be on the road at 9. And obviously it’s not happening, we left Kars at 11:00. We drove through the city, saw the castle, acknowledged that it is indeed a beautiful Russian designed town with a lot of 19th century European houses. But we chose to dedicate our time to Ani, a ghost town right on the border with Armenia, 45km east of Kars. The half hour drive is scenical, and when we arrived at the village right before the ancient site, we could witness a wild horse domestication scene. Local men caught the the horses, put bridle on them and then tried to ride on them (video here). What a show, while we had our morning coffee from our mobile bar and restaurant. Continue reading “Georgia Must Wait”

From Lake Van to Mount Ararat

Kars (Turkey), 03.05.2013

Today was our last full day in Turkey, and what a beautiful countryside we found in this remote eastern part of the country. We left Bitlis at 10:30 and shortly after reached Lake Van. Deep blue to turquoise in color, huge in size, and with a spectacular snowcapped mountain range on the southern shore, we admired the lake for over an hour while we drove along the northern shore (video here and here). Stopping for a coffee break (the Nescafe in the hotel was not drinkable) a guy from a nearby building came to talk to us. We didn’t speak each other’s languages, but he seemed to invite us to eat with him. We had to decline three times, since many km waited for us. Too bad. Continue reading “From Lake Van to Mount Ararat”

Kurdistan (not in Irak, but the Kurdish Areas in Turkey)

Bitlis (Turkey), 01.05.2013

One day you’re lucky, some other day you’re less so. Tonight we dream about our camping site under the stars at the foot of Mount Nemrut. We arrived in Bitlis because we couldn’t find a place to camp in the mountains west of lake Van. There is construction everywhere, and military camps in every town and in between towns also sometimes. The atmosphere doesn’t feel like sleeping outdoors. So we opted for the only hotel in a shabby mountain town, with run down concrete buildings and only men on the streets and shops. No dinner tonight, we’re exhausted and a glass of white wine we brought all the way from Comporta (Portugal) will do for tonight. Continue reading “Kurdistan (not in Irak, but the Kurdish Areas in Turkey)”

Nemrut Dag

Arsameia (Turkey), 30.04.2013

Today our trip took started changing. There will be several days without too many pics, FB activity, definitely no videos. We’re starting to reach offline territory. But this is not just about the Internet and the link it creates to a virtual world of communication, about the need to stay in touch with our friends and family far away. Continue reading “Nemrut Dag”

All You Can Cappadocia

Malatya (Turkey), 29.04.2013

Two weeks into our journey, today we kick-started the day, waking up at 04:30 for our balloon flight over Cappadocia. This region is a truly fascinating piece of nature in the middle of Turkey. And Göreme, the village we arrived at yesterday night, is the gem of the region. The person that introduced balloon flights here should be given an award! We got picked up at the Roma Cave Suites at 05:00. We want to thank the Korean girl at the reception that organised the tour and chose Royal Balloons for us. Or balloon flew just 8 people, and our pilot Tugrul really made us enjoy the flight, the nature and the views. Continue reading “All You Can Cappadocia”

From Ankara to Cappadocia

Göreme (Turkey), 28.04.2013

Sitting on a terrace, waiting for our kebabs, drinking a Efes Pilsen, we’re thinking about how to start this post. There is so much to tell from this great day… Let’s go by chronological order. Continue reading “From Ankara to Cappadocia”

Anatolian Culture Clash

Ankara (Turkey), 27.04.2013

Today was a pretty mixed day: sea – mountains. Seaside town – rural desert – metropolis. Quite a culture clash. We woke up with the sun shining on the Black Sea port of Sinop, with a great view from the waterfront hotel room over the fishermen’s boats and the harbor. After breakfast we started the day’s trip to Ankara, through the Anatolian mountains. On mostly perfect roads, apart from a few pieces under construction, we drove quickly up to 1400m into the mountains. The scenery was spectacular, dry, dusty mountains, nobody around but the occasional cows or goats. Yesterday we drove on the roads of yesterday’s Turkey, today we saw tomorrow’s. Including the police cars on the side of the road trying to track cars speeding. Fortunately drivers on both sides of the road alert each other of the cops. Blue sky, up to 27 degrees and not a single cloud made this the perfect day on the road. Continue reading “Anatolian Culture Clash”

Black Sea

Sinop (Turkey), 26.04.2013

Today was our Black Sea day, and we did drive along the coast the entire day indeed. Before taking off, we did some exploring in Amasra, climbing up to the top of the town’s island to enjoy the view on the sea, then back through this beautiful little town that is undergoing some construction and road works right now and therefore is quite dusty. During our walk we discussed how this town would look like were it in Italy, Croatia or Greece, since the nature is similar to what we know form these spots in the Mediterranean. There would probably be a church on the highest point of the island – here the 2 mosques are on lower parts of the peninsula. The haven’s beach would be cleaner and used for tourism – here it looks quite abandoned and is littered with trash. There would be more tourism exploitation, hotels, restaurants with terraces, more inviting cafés (at least in Italy and Greece). Here it is still a bit run down, and we found a lot of concrete, similar to post-communist Yugoslavia, also used to fix the centuries-old ruins of the old town. This place is a jewel waiting to be properly restored and cleaned up. The nature is so beautiful, the old town too, and it is perfect for swimming, sailing, summers on the beach. Continue reading “Black Sea”

Bye Bye “Eur”, Hello “Asia”

Amasra (Turkey), 25.04.2013

With one day delay, today we finally left Istanbul. Loading the car in the narrow streets of Cihangir wasn’t easy, we’re so full we can’t see out of the rear window. Also finding the DHL office was quite a challenge, but we got our IDs back! Problem solved, back on the road. We crossed the Bosphorus bridge into the Asian part of Istanbul (video here) and have now left Europe for the next couple of months. Continue reading “Bye Bye “Eur”, Hello “Asia””