From Chios (Greece) the ferry only takes 20 minutes to get to Cesme in Turkey.
After the passport control we faced something new: X–ray for the motorcycles! We have to ride them on to a ramp and there they get an x–ray taken. It’s been a complete success. Would our bikes have bones, they would be all okay and also are located where they are supposed to. We can hop on our bikes, which are fit as a fiddle and off we go to explore Turkey.
Nutella desaster and old stones
The next morning it happens – we run out of Nutella! We stay cool and keep a stiff upper lip. We pull through and ride to Ephesos. There again we are going through a passport control, but this time there are armed soldiers. We are only two minutes on the area and already an attendant tells us: ”Sir, no tripod here!” Martin is nodding understandingly. At this time the camera tripod is still in the outer bag of the backpack. Behind the next hill we put up the tripod and take pictures of the impressiv ruins of Ephesos.
The many ancient columns and walls are partly positioned again or restored, but most of them are laying around. It is actually a very small part of the original city you can see, but this alone let you divine how absolutely gigantic the gates, towers and halls must have been. The first discovery of this city is dated back to the 5th century BC. Built from the Greeks, later it got conquered by the Romans and after that it became a Byzantine province city.
Cotton castle and the first flat
After two nights at the sea we want to go on to Pamukkale, which translates to cotton castle. On the way, Xenia has her first flat front tire. Martin had injured the tube before the trip when he put on the brand new Heidenau tyres and repaired the small hole before he put it back in the tyre. This revenges three times in the next two weeks. The first time Xenia noticed that she can’t controll the bike and then quickly sees that the entire air is gone. So off the road, tools out, but before we could do something, two nice gentlemen in suits have already put Martin in a car and drove to the next mechanic. Xenia was waiting in the shade all by herself, well with around twenty guys watching her and bringing her tea after tea.
In the meantime Martin tried to find the problem with the
mechanic, but there seems to be none, except that perhaps the valve was loose and therefore the whole air was gone so fast. The mechanic still wants to make sure that the old patch does not leak and puts another one on top of it (which we all know is not a good idea).
With a little delay we reach Pamukkale and build our tent in front of a hotel. The next day we visit the famous sinter terraces.
We have to take off the shoes so that the pools don’t get damaged and walk barefoot up the whole hill. On the way we pass many different pools, filled with clear, sometimes warm, sometimes cold water. The limestone looks like snow or cotton and covers most parts of the hill above the village. Mostly the white grund is rock hard and cold, but it is a great experience to hike up the pools. Amazingly, we have incredibly good grip on the wet limestone and get up the cotton castle as fast as mountain goats.
Once up, we put on our shoes and explore the ancient city of Hierapolis. All across the hill there are ruins and old stones laying in the grass. You can see archways, columns and water channels carved in the rock. A new building was built around the ancient bath, so that the tourists can take a bath in it for a hefty entrance fee. Therefore we only have a lookg without taking a nice bath between the ruins.
Rainy weather and local dirt roads
The next day we continue via Telmesos to Fethyie. There we stay four days to work on our videos, let the rain pass and finally wash our smelly lundray.
We get to know Erdal and make a tour around Fethyie with him and our motorbikes. He really knows all the small and beautiful places and we get a private VIP tour.
We continue our journey to the east and visit Letoon, get into a really bad thunderstorm and fortunately find shelter for the night at Kayhan’splace in Antalya (a friend of Erdal). We have a great evening with one, two ore more bottles of great red wine…somehow we can’t remember. It was definitely fun (except for the headache the next day).
Snow storms in Turkey
From Antalya, our route for the rest of Turkey is mostly between 1500 and 2550 meters above sea level. Therefore we expect a lot of snow and we study the weather forecast every evening. We are really glad that the ground temperatures are still above freezing point and therefore we don’t have to drive along frozen roads despite rain and snow. Nevertheless we arrive every time chilled to the bones at our destination even with all our good riding cloths on.
It rains in all different strengths, from “I think I’m dry again soon” to “full wash cycle (who gives a shit about ECO)”. However, the temperatures leave much to be desired. From a maximum of 11 ° they sink quickly to 0 °. So this has really nothing to do with a proper laundry. At 0 ° the grease and oil splashes simply do not go out of the motorcycle clothes. One tanker pitties us and spends a free coffee and a round in front of the radiant heater to get warm. He tells us that we will have problems on the way. Which ones, he can not explain. We can not speak Turkish and he does not speak German nor English. Not much later we learn what he meant with this so called “problems”. A proper snow storm yaiii. We change the soaked gloves against the lined ones but we can not use the grip heater in this weather. The Goretex membrane must be warmer inside than outside, otherwise water penetrates.
We wish it was -5 ° and you could shake the snow from the clothes, so we would stay dry at least. Unfortunatley it is too warm and the snow is like brown white slush and is splashing on all sides. Very handy such a motorcycle, you experience everything first hand – no this are really not holidays!
Our bodies consume more energy than we can make up with food and sleep and even after eight ours of sleep we are still tired. Still we head out to pay the interesting city of Konya a visit, which we really enjoy.
We stay in Göreme (Cappadocia) for six nights. We need to recover from the bad and cold weather and go to explore the exciting area.
In these days we visit the Love-, Pigeon-, Mushroom-, White-, Red- and Ihlara-Valleys, the underground city of Derinkuyu and the open air museum in Goreme. The whole area has really much to offer and is beautiful. From a vantage point, we watch over sixty balloons start at sunrise. Until almost fifteen years ago, almost all fields were used for agriculture. Today there are many places for the balloons and paths for the tourists, who explore the area with the guides and the ATVs.
After our time in Cappadocia we are now planning to cross Malatya, Erzurum and Kars towards Georgia.
Some more flat tyres
But even before we reach Malatya, Xenia has her second flat tire: Wheel out, once again persuaded by a helpfull loca to let a mechanic solve the problem: the patch above the patch of the first mechanic has destroyed the original patch and we have to give up the Heidenau tube with a heavy heart. Fortunately, we have a spare tube, but the overmotivated mechanic manages to put three holes in the tube with his tool. Martin leaves the workshop in a bad mood and we fix the tube with all the holes by ourselfes.
The next morning the air is out again. Due to the expansion, the tube is torn between two patches. We take of the wheel again and ride around the city to find a mechanic with a fitting tube, because we have no extra tube left. It takes a while until we find someone who can sell us a matching tube, but after a while we are lucky and find the right mechanic. Conclusion of this marathon: We will change our tyres ourself in the future.
Well, we learn something every day. We were glad that the flats did not happenon one of the snowy passes. To fix a tyre in a snow storm and with -4 degrees would not have been a lot of fun.
The stunning ruins of Ani
On the last morning in Turkey the motorcycles are once again covered with frost. We layer up all our warm cloths and head towards Ani. The ruins of this impressive old city are scattered around in a huge area and large stone blocks, as well as some still very well preserved buildings are visible. We go clockwise all the way around to explore the relatively well-preserved churches. The area is separated only by a river valley from Armenia and we can see the border fence on our side and the guard posts with the Armenian flag on the other side.
Ani was once a very important city on the Silk Road and belonged to Armenia. Although only a few buildings remain, the area impresses us a lot and a visit is definitely worth it!
On the same day we drive towards the Georgian border crossing and leave this beautiful country with the helpful and hearty people behind us.
We came without asking and it is beautiful to be received warmly