Jaja, we enjoy a last day on a green beach west of Kyrenia, the area where the brothels and nightclubs easily outnumber the traditional locantasi (restaurants). Sunday it is, goats and cows grace on the pastures adjacent to the Med sea, daddies throw pebbles in the water with their children and I think this is exactly what I intend to do this summer with my own twin boys Daniel and David, all summer if possible. A clear day, Turkey on the other side north is just 50 km away, such a clear sight, the Taurus peaks still carry so much snow; it is only end of March. At night, ours, Christina’s and my last night on Cyprus, the moon just a sickle reflects on the still Med Sea. Monday we take the ferry to Silifke, Turkey.
This is what I wrote down, 22nd of March 2010. I only put it, type it onto my computer 2nd of June, more than 3 months after, when I have already reached Vienna and gone on a journey with my boys, north, Christina left once we reached Warsaw, and we are in Lithuania and have thrown many pebbles in waters; I am though much busier. I enjoy this trip as much as I have enjoyed others, I like taking notes, reliving moments when I put my notes into stories at a later moment, sometimes it requires discipline, it is outright hard work when you travel with children.
We reach Turkey’s south and spring really just started. the start of spring a constant feature on the trip north. From Silifke we climb the mountains to Diocaesaer or Uzuncaburc, Greek, Roman ruins, villagers are busy in their vineyards and elsewhere with their fruit trees, but the sprouting and blossoming is in the very early stages at altitudes of 1400m. And many of the Taurus peaks around still wear white. Later we drop down to Mut (300m) for the Turkish food we were graving for.
Back in Turkey, it feels as a part of the world that I know and enjoy, good food is just one thing, I started to hate burgers and fries on Cyprus, miss the Guinness though, is no Guinness in pubs here, are no real pubs then here in Turkey. Will be back to the good old Efes! Escaping Europe one more time feels tremendously important.
That evening we descend on Konya (wiki), see the tomb of Mowlānā/Mevlana Rumi, sufi mystic (wiki) the next day. Konya is that typical Turkish town, markets, cafes, modern, busy, friendly. But Konya is more, is a boomtown of more than a million, the centre of the economically important vast agricultural plains that surround it.
A lot of snow lies still on Taurus peaks (Toros Dağları) as we make it to Antalya, finally get clothes washed, the car cleaned, we are on a mission; we wait for my nephew Marco.
Marco, my godson and nephew was 3 when I went on the trip in July 2004. Now he is old enough (9) and joins me and Christina on the fabTrek for the first time.
We set out Sunday 28th of March, night falls quickly, when we scratch the lake-district near Egirdir heavy rains and thunder starts, we crawl up at no more speed then 40km/h, spooky, so much rain, in the front of the cabin is a leak somewhere, water trickles on the dashboard. First night somewhere near a lake is cold, where we are exactly, what is outside, hard to say. Marco is strong, is after his uncle.
In Konya again, Marco receives a first introduction to Turkish food and pizza, is ok? On to Cappadocia, we walk in the rainy gorge at Ihlara, seek shelter inside the cave churches, all is followed by snow at night, this is life on the road, sometimes.
Marco in Cappadocia.
In the morning we go underground in the city of Derinkuyu, there are a couple of underground cities around dating from the time when Christians had to hide till Christianity became accepted in the 4th century. Many underground places were used though for much longer.
On to Nevsehir for another onslaught of Turkish food for Marco, it is so hard to get used to foreign customs. Via Uchisar for a first impression of life in fairy chimneys to Göreme (wiki) and its thousands of tourists; this is Easter week. The open-air museum fascinates with cave churches and their fresco paintings, - and fairy chimney; tufa cones that were hollowed out over the centuries to produce dwelling of several floors and storage chambers that extend right up to the peak. But it is horrible, blocked entrances, it is completely overrun, Austrians, French, Japanese, I resign, I won’t see the Cappadocia of my dreams.
We are only glad once we leave, no peace here, we wrestle free and intuition let’s me drive out up the right path, turn left and turn left again, a parking, no one there, the near-by Aktepe mountains invite for a late afternoon walk and the magic rose and white landscape is all for us. Up and down, turn around the chimneys find the way ourselves through the moon like, star-wars like landscape, for 2 hours. Thanks god the bus loads never make it to the finest spots.
Soganli valley, the next morning offers another great insight into fairy chimney homes and churches, another walk, the first with no rain. After some çorba (Turkish soup) we drop down to the coast, a 100km drive along the snowy peaks of the Ala Dağlar mountain range.
In Mersin finally Marco says enough is enough to Turkish food, so we have some McDonalds 9er chicken McNuggets, his favourite instead. Around the Anamur coast, then near Alanya the sun is finally hot enough for swimming, more 24er chicken McNuggets, at nights we play cards. Finally we say good-bye to him in Antalya after a week and more 169er chicken McNuggets.
Christina's iphone (facebook) captured some further inspirational insights from Marco in Cappadocia.
Pamukkale and Ephesos
Alone and we miss Marco, he was more a friend than a child, Christina and I visit Pamukkale (wiki) and Ephesos (wiki). Pamukkale is fascinating, to walk bare-foot on the soft white chalk-like warm thermal-water over-spilled rocks, but sad, to see what Nature has created and man has destroyed man cannot rebuild with concrete. They’re making a good scientific effort though to protect what is left, and maybe it recreates itself over time. Ephesos is Ephesos, Austrian reconstructed, much of the good stuff to be seen back in Vienna, the Ephesus Museum, one day, ... after all we have seen over the past 7 months ...
We get to Marmaris which is nice, Turkey was so nice, has treated us so well; the fabTrek Middle East trip is coming to an end slowly, sadly, back in Europe and Greece is next.