Posts for December, 2013


Lunch date (Kas, Turkey)

Journal entry for Sunday 1st Dec, 2013 (day 242, miles 17190)

We had planned to get on the road today but a last minute invitation to a Thanksgiving lunch from some fellow travelers put paid to that. We spent the morning preparing and packing and then took the yellow beast about a kilometer up the hill to our luncheon appointment. Our hosts were Brett and Sandy a Californian couple who have been traveling in Europe in their pickup and camper and have decided to stay a while in Kaş and have rented an apartment up on the hillside a little out of the main street. At lunch with us were Barbara and Peter the Swiss couple we met in Tajikistan and who are staying in the campground we just departed.

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Back into the mountains (Pamukkale, Turkey)

Journal entry for Monday 2nd Dec, 2013 (day 243, miles 17371)

So today we did get underway again. For a while the road followed the coast and we got some great views of the Mediterranean and the numerous tourists and other sea side residential developments. As you might be able to tell we are finding the Med coast very pleasant and still marvel at how blue and clean the water looks.

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Travertine marvel (Somewhere along the road, Turkey)

Journal entry for Tuesday 3rd Dec, 2013 (day 244, miles 17440)

We were up and going promptly this morning as we were keen to explore. However our first problem was bare feet. The main entrance to the thermal area and ruins from the town of Pamukkale starts in the village main area and ascends across the travertines (mineral deposits) on the hill side. To protect those deposits from the hordes of visitors one is required to walk across the travetine in bare feet. Now us old guys are beginning to feel the effects of age and skeletal deterioration and hence bare feet are not our forte. So after some negotiation with the entrance staff we were allowed onto an alternate path that took us to the top of the hill. However as you will see later this did not entirely get past the bare feet topic.

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The ruins of Ephesus (Ozdere, Turkey)

Journal entry for Wednesday 4th Dec, 2013 (day 245, miles 17511)

After our night with the trucks we set out in overcast and rain to find our way to the town of Selcuk and the famous nearby ruins of Ephesus. The roads were good the scenery pleasant and we eventually found our way into the main street of Selcuk.

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A travel day (Bergama, Turkey)

Journal entry for Thursday 5th Dec, 2013 (day 246, miles 17616)

Today was a travel day. We spent a deal of time winding our way along the coastal road and then through the city of Izmir (according to the Lonely Planet the 3rd largest city in Turkey). The route through Izmir took us along the water front; it looked really inviting with the bright sun, blue water, promenade and gardens but with no obvious places to stop we only admired it from the truck cab. The city seemed to stretch for miles as the road passed through one community after another. This gave us an opportunity to admire the way the Turks have put modern roads through old towns. As it passes through a congested shopping or market area inside a town the road is made up of three pieces, the center lanes are for through traffic and there is a lane on each side for local traffic. At intersections the through-road simply goes under the intersection with a well signed 4.8m clearance.

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Bergama and the Ruins of Pergamum (Burhaniye, Turkey)

Journal entry for Sunday 8th Dec, 2013 (day 249, miles 17686)

As you can see from the date on this entry we have skipped a few days. We spent those days hold up in the caravan ground at Bergama. There is not much to say about those days except perhaps that the weather varied between bright winter sun and howling wind and rain. Night time temperatures below freezing as indicated by the ice on the ground in the morning. Today we are on our way again with a visit to Pergamum, the local Acropolis (fort on a hill) and the center of the old city of Bergama

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Country villages and narrow roads (Burhaniye, Turkey)

Journal entry for Monday 9th Dec, 2013 (day 249, miles 17686)

Today we are headed for the old city of Troy and since the days route seemed to be relatively short we chose to follow the coastal road as much as possible. As a result we spent most of the day traveling along winding roads that pretended to be wide enough for two vehicles but in many places would not have fitted two of us side by side. We passed through small country villages with narrow streets, lots of tractors, herds of goats and olive trees and olive trees.

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A visit to old Troy (Troia) (Burhaniye, Turkey)

Journal entry for Wednesday 11th Dec, 2013 (day 252, miles 17805)

We have now been in the caravan camp at Troy for a couple of days and over that time the weather has been bright and sunny as well as wild and wet. This morning it is clear and very cold. There is some solid ice on the ground this morning and snow is being predicted for the Gallipoli Penninsula just a few miles away. Never the less today is the day we will visit the historic sight of Troy. But we will do it dressed in all the cold weather gear we have.

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Europe! (Eceabat, Turkey)

Journal entry for Thursday 12th Dec, 2013 (day 253, miles 17826)

Today is/was a big milestone for our journey, we crossed the Dardanelles (Hellespont) to the Gallipoli Peninsula and into Europe. In all other ways the day was quite un-remarkable. This morning as we prepared to depart our camp at Troia there was light snow falling (though none was accumulating). There after a shortish hop took us to the town of Çanakkale (which we would learn is pronounced Chanakarley) and the ferry to Eceabat on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

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Exploring the Gallipoli Peninsula (Kilitbahir, Turkey)

Journal entry for Friday 13th Dec, 2013 (day 254, miles 17896)

The weather was a little better this morning, though still not great, overcast with occassional showers. But we could not let the weather prevent us exploring the peninsula. From Eceabat we headed to the western shore which is where most of the sites of interest to Australians lie. First stop was a somewat run down information center which despite its need for some repairs effectively told the story on the background to and course of the Gallipoli campaign.

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To Istanbul (Selımpaşa, Turkey)

Journal entry for Saturday 14th Dec, 2013 (day 255, miles 18093)

We were welcomed this morning by bright sunshine and blue sky. Before getting underway we spent some time walking along the water front enjoying the fabulous scenery before making a quick tour of the gun battery.

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Istanbul - sort of! (Istanbul, Turkey)

Journal entry for Sunday 15th Dec, 2013 (day 256, miles 18150)

Well today was an adventure of back streets and low underpasses. Early on in the day we were feeling good, we left last nights camp in bright sunshine and got onto one of the many freeways heading into Istanbul and all seemed to be going well. Then we made a small navigation mistake by missing a fork in the freeway. But initially that did not seem too bad as our GPS quickly re-routed us and we started following the corrected route. But quite quickly this new route dropped off the freeway, into a crowded intersection and we found ourselves confronted with a 3.6M clearance sign. Fortunately we found our way past that one only to be confronted by one that read 3.8M and at this one there was no way out other than a long reverse through heavy traffic. Now remember our truck is actually 4.0M high. But I noticed that there was a slope on the road and that the clearance was greater on the left hand side of the road. Against Nina's protests I gingerly tried that higher side and squeezed through with no damage.

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Istanbul (Istanbul, Turkey)

Journal entry for Monday 16th Dec, 2013 (day 257, miles 18093)

We pretty much got going with the sun this morning with the forlorn hope that an early start would help us avoid some of the heavier traffic. It did not seem to.

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The Christmas break is over (Ipsala, Turkey)

Journal entry for Saturday 28th Dec, 2013 (day 269, miles 18305)

Over the Chrismas period we took a break from the lifestyle of traveling and living in an "expedition truck" and rented an apartment in the Taksim area of Istanbul. Our son Brendon and his girlfriend Jessie came down from Berlin and we spent the time together doing a few of the usual tourist things and catching up on family.

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The border and Green Card (Volvi Lake, Greece)

Journal entry for Sunday 29th Dec, 2013 (day 270, miles 18515)

The last 40km of Turkish road way leading to the Greek border was the worst road surface we have experienced in Turkey, I don't know if there is any significance to that observation or not but there you are. The border crossing was surprisingly simple particularly given what we had read and heard about Greece being the front line of Europe's efforts to control illegal immigration.

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The Tumulus and Phillip II's Tomb (Vergina, Greece)

Journal entry for Monday 30th Dec, 2013 (day 271, miles 18587)

This morning we needed to find fuel and money so we used our trusty OSM map to pick a group of banks in the city of Thessoliniki and headed that way. Unfortunately the road system defeated us and we passed by our targeted banks on a limited access road with no way to get to our targets. A further check of the map identified a Shell station at the entrance to a small town called Chalastra so that was our next hope, and indeed it worked. Diesel for 1.355 Euro per liter (about $6.80/gallon). Also the owner would accept credit cards, spoke English and has a brother that lives in Canberra. We suspect we will meet a lot of people in Greece with relatives in Australia.

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Some Greek country roads (Near Delhpi, Greece)

Journal entry for Tuesday 31st Dec, 2013 (day 272, miles 17,896)

We departed our parking lot this morning in the rain and for a while continued south on the motorway paying tolls at regular intervals. But eventually our route and inclination took us onto some country roads and through rolling farm land. All in all an unremarkable day.

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