Buya Ikhaya (Come Home)

Charlie and Rensche are coming home by riding motorbikes from London to Cape Town.

We hope that our stories from the road will motivate you to give a donation to our chosen charity Beautifulgate who are a Christian organisation helping Aids orphans in Southern Africa. Please follow the link in the column on the right.


You can contact us at buyaikhaya@hotmail.co.uk

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Turkey: Köfte, burnıng rocks, fairies, balloons...

1/10/07 - 03/10/07 Goreme
Cappadocia is a magical place and we are so glad we took the detour to come here. We strongly recommend you to come and see this amazing area. The first night was cold and we woke up early to the sound of the hot air balloons and microlights buzzing overhead.
We scrambled up the rocks to witness "The Valley of the Hot Air Balloons!" . At least 20 of them were dotted around the sky bumping into each other in an attempt to maintain airspace. It was a stunning sight seeing all the various coloured balloons floating in the early morning sun. Even though Jimmy had said that a trip could be organized for about 130E per person we decided not to do it and to rather look for a carpet to send back home, which will give us longer memories. We spent the day walking around town and visited the Goreme Open Air museum which is a must do! There are unlimited caves and rock carved churches to explore with frescoes from the Byzantine era. (It was interesting to find out that before the 11th century, due to risk of persecution, churches did not have paintings and only in the Byzantine era did this start). That evening we went to SOS restaurant (as recommended by Lonely Planet) and had the stew cooked in a clay pot which you must crack open with a hammer to eat. It was a nice treat and tasty! Via our Camp manager we arranged a tour of the area for the next day for 50YTL per person. Cappadocia is in an area predominantly on soft volcanic rock which through water and wind has eroded to form magnificent rock formations called fairy chimneys, mushrooms and cones. Cappadocia was frequently raided and because of this the local Christians took to living in the caves which they chopped out of the rocks. Initially the rock was very soft and easy to carve but in contact with air it hardened. This made it easy for the people to carve extensive tunnels, churches, kitchens, storerooms etc out of the rock. There are about a 1000 churches and chapels in Cappadocia dated from as early as the 2nd century. See 1 Peter for the letters Peter wrote to the Christians in Cappadocia. On the tour we went to an underground city which they say consist of 13 floors but we (luckily) only went down to 8 floors! Underground there were schools, churches, winery, kitchen, stores, meeting rooms, and even a room for small animals! It was a truly amazing experience going down the small staircases deep into the earth. This city was found in 1952 by accident by a farmer. Since then 65 others have been found. The cities were not occupied permanently but were used by the woman and children during raids and they would only spent 2-3 weeks as any longer period would have start affecting their health. There is evidence that many of these cities (some of them 10km apart) are connected by secret underground tunnels. We did not check this out...We then went to Ilhara Valley where we walked 3.5km along the beautiful valley floor with sheer cliffs on either side. The valley is actually 14 km long and was also used during times of raid and unrest. After lunch we went to Selime which is a monastery in the rocks and which has a cathedral, church, and chapel. From there we went to the Pigeon Valley (4km from Goreme). Pigeons were very important in the early centuries and a family's wealth was determined by the number of pigeons they owned. They used their egg white to prepare the white back ground plaster for the paintings in the churches. The ate the egg yellow and used the guana for fertilisation. The birds were used to send messages. Everywhere in the rock you can see pigeon houses carved into the rock like little bookshelves. There are now not that many pigeons left due to email and mobile phones...
Today we relaxed in town and updated the blog and downloaded all the photos since entering Turkey. We also bought 4 carpets: 2 Turkish from Cappadocia region and 2 Persian from Arat and the Iran border. The carpets are also of different method from the basic kelem and the Wool on Wool embroided, to the very tightly knotted carpet. Thankfully the rain we woke up to this morning has disappeared.

30/09/07 - Camliyayla - Goreme - 289km
After a lovely breakfast of sucuk (soojook) and eggs we packed up and just before leaving Levi gave Charlie aluminium tape and super glue to try and mend his tent poles. It was such a wonderful experience for us to meet such a generous family who opened their home to us and took us in as their guests. It was a wonderful blessing to meet them. At 09h30 we headed off following a small little road to Pozanti. On a tight hairpin on a single lane road we found a truck with its trailer dangling over the side of a cliff! Clearly he trusted his GPS more than his common sense! Back on the old highway that runs parallel with the new toll road we climbed up and up into the mountains and then down to Pozanti where the landscape started becoming more rocky with less vegetation. We stopped off for a break at a petrol station and when we rode off again onto the motorway Rensche couldn't get into 2nd gear. Charlie took the bike for a spin and found the same problem. Just before going into total panic and throwing her bike off the cliff Charlie noticed that the gear foot lever had a crack in it! We went back to the petrol station where Charlie took the lever off and headed into town where he found a group of workshops where they quickly welded the lever good as new and asked nothing in return! We headed off again on the busy motorway full of trucks and buses. The landscape started changing and became very arid similar to Karoo (RSA). Just approaching Goreme the stunning landscape unfolded in front of us with fantastic formations caused by years of erosion but made even more stunning by the setting sun highlighting the contrasting rock colours. We found our way to Berlin campsite (the coordinates we found on the Internet from another overlander website for this campsite was about 1km out...) for 13YTL's per day. Charles managed to fix the tent with the superglue he got from Levi. In the evening we walked around town and spotted a South African flag on a cafe. We introduced ourselves to Jimmy, a Turkish guy who lived in Cape Town for a number of years. He and his wife (from PE) moved back to Turkey 2 years ago. It was really nice to meet our first South African on this trip and chat about South Africa and Turkey. We had supper at Jimmy's Cafe of gozleme (thick pancakes/crepes) which was delicious.

29/09/07 - Anamur - Camliyayla - 347km
We had an early start and headed east along the coast and through the mountains with pine forests. At one point, about 10km along the road the forest had suffered a fire and there were many group of people chopping up whatever wood was remaining. We've been told that often these fires are started deliberately so the wood can be harvested. Passing Silifike we were surprised by the number of ruins dotting the landscape and was set in beautiful surroundings. We were surprised that this part of the country gets no mention in our lonely planet. Our idea was to stop off just after Erdemli and then the next morning head into Mersin to look for tent poles or a whole new tent. Almost immediately after Erdemli large apartment blocks started popping up everywhere and soon we were swept along with the traffic and found ourselves in Mersin having not seen a camp site anywhere. Again many people helped and gave directions and after 3 hours cris crossing town in search of a cadir (tent) we accepted defeat and headed out of town at 16h00. At Tarsus (another old church - Acts 9:30) we got forced onto the motorway and made a U-turn at the toll gates. We then found a small little road heading north which cut through dramatic canyons and valleys and gorges. Amazing scenery! After stopping at every little restaurant on the way they could not help us with a place to sleep and it was getting dark, we found ourselves outside a Otel in Camliyayla just as the sun was setting. The hotel looked a bit basic and there was clearly nowhere to park the bikes securely overnight. While standing in the road contemplating what to do a Mazda Double Cab bakkie pulled up and the gentleman introduced himself and his daughter and after some chatting invited us to his house for the night. We gladly accepted and followed him home. Dehlevi Aybas and his wife, Guzin, are both recently retired and are living in a beautiful house he built himself which overlooks the beautiful valley and on a good day you can see the Med from their balcony. His daughter, Ceren, recently graduated with interior architecture and has travelled extensively in Turkey. We spent the evening on the stoep chatting and eating shish kebab (sosatie) and kofte (meatballs) of the barbecue and a variety of salads and eggplant. We spent the night in a real bed (what a treat)!!!

28/09/07 - Anamur
We just rested today. Charlie was over his 24h stomach bug but Rensche had a few cramps. We spent the day swimming in the warm sea and exploring the castle. Charlie head into the town in the morning to get some food and 4L of oil for the 6000km oil change he did in the afternoon. We also decided that we would head inland to Cappadocia. We actually wanted to do the balloon trip over the Cappadocia area but after visiting the website of one of the company's recommended in the Lonely Planet we had to discover once again that the prices in our Lonely Planet had doubled. The balloon trip would now cost 240E pp instead of the 120E pp in the Lonely Planet. We had a really relaxing time in Anamur at the campsite.

27/09/07 - Gazipasa - Anamur - 93km
We broke up camp, Rensche had a energy bar but Charlie couldn't force anything down. The road was very very beautiful with the mountains dropping off into the calm clear blue sea. We stopped for photo's a few times but Charlie wasn't himself. Coming around a bend Charlie suddenly pulled off the road onto a gravel section as he was feeling sick. Rensche slammed on anchors and slipped on the gravel and had her first fall. Charlie completely forgot to get sick as he helped Rensche out of under her bike! No apparent damage and we were off. We made it to Anamur at which time Charlie was exhausted and just on the other side of town we spotted a HUGE sign for Camping Paradies. The campsite was deserted but very beautiful amongst palm trees and right next to the Mamure Castle on the beach. 10YTL per person but you have the beach all to yourself. We spent the rest of the day lying about and watching the old German camp manager run around after his 3 cows mowing the lawn....and his roses and trees and anything else they could find!


26/09/07 - Olympus - Gazipasa - 336km
This was just one of those days. We lay awake through the night wondering if we should stay or head off the next morning. But in the morning we packed our bags and headed off. The road crew hadn't made much progress on the road. The road from Olympus to Antalya was stunning going around the foot of mount Olympus and along the sea. Our main aim of going to Antalya was either to find aluminium poles or a whole new tent to replace our broken poles. In the space of 4 hours and 30km and getting directions from 7 different people, including being sent to Turkey's B&Q (Kog Tas) and witnessing a car hit the back of the bus and burst into flames, we couldn't find the tent shop!! The traffic was absolutely mad and again we were hot and bothered and headed out of town. Along the coast east of Antalya and past Alanya there are just thousands of holiday tourist hotels and selling package beach holidays but no camp sites so we just kept on heading east. While riding along Charles heard the once familiar wonderful sound of a big thumper behind him and saw 3 guys ride past us waving like mad. We stopped and had a quick chat: "Hallo from Poland and Bulgaria; on two week holiday around Black Sea to Georgia. KTM Transalp. Transalp just had fall on roundabout. Safe Trip. Good bye! " We stopped at a restaurant overlooking the sea who couldn't help us for accomodation but gave us directions to a campsite in Gazipasa. We headed through Gazipasa, crossed the bridge, and immediately took the first right onto a small road and ended up at a campsite on the beach but it was all locked up and closed. We then headed into town and found the municipal campsite next to the harbour. For 5YT's all included. After setting up camp we went to the camp restuarant and decided to eat a local dish. We chose Shepherds pie and Osmanish pie. Rensche's was very chewy and we suspect it was stomach. Charlie's had a odd smell and we think it might have been goat. We didn't finish it and went to bed. One hour after going to bed Charlie was wide awake with his stomach churning and had 3 misfire trips to the long drop during the night and was so thankful when morning broke.

24/09/07 - 25/09/07 - Olympus
Olympus is a very interesting place. Back in the late 90's somebody built a few timber huts and marketed them as tree houses which was soon followed by the wave of backpackers. The Aussie and Kiwi flag is displayed everywhere and chatting to one of the locals they've always been the key tourists that brought in money. From those early days untill now the tranquility has defnitely been done away with and you now have hundreds of pensions and discos offering foam parties. The guy we spoke to said that the last 2 years have been very quiet and many businesses are battling. I guess the Aussies and Kiwi's have moved on to Vic Falls and other revelling drinking holes. He also said that the number of Turkish visitors have increased dramatically but complained that they are only day-trippers who bring their own food and drinks so the local shops don't benefit. But saying all this Olympus are still full of yoga enthusiasts, rastafarians, love, dream catchers, wind chimes and most are so relaxed they are horizontal. You would never believe you are in Turkey in Ramazaan! We went to ruins for 2YTL's which are largely overgrown with trees and vines and no clear path which makes it a bit of an adventure trek through the rubble. This city, as most of the others we visited, was flattenend by a massive earth quake in 141AD which much have caused a national disaster economically and socially. Still the impressive tombs and roman baths can be seen. This is also the site of an early Christian church from 9AD. Strolling around town we booked ourselves on the trip to go see the flames of Chimaera which is a cluster of flames that burn spontanously - apparently - from the crevices in the rock on Mount Olympus. Back at camp we met up with two Turkish Americans and had a interesting wide ranging discussion about politics in America and Africa. It was refreshing to have an open debate with someone and not feel defensive or offensive. We did wonder why Americans that we have come across are so interested in world politics whereas other countries in the world including South Africa don't tend to immediately bring it up into discussion. We reported at 9pm in the evening and took the one hour trip in a mini van followed by a 900m uphill ramble along a very rocky path with the aid of a few flashlights. Thank goodness we had our own headlight and thought to wear sensible shoes. We arrived in a clearing on the side of the rocky mountain where there were about 8 crevices where gentle flames were coming out of the rock. Almost like a paraffin latern. In fact it did smell very much like paraffin... We still have to investigate this phenomenon further. The next day we spent 5 hours in the internet cafee uploading photos as we finally found a place a where the format worked since arriving in Turkey. Please have a look at the link on the right!!!! We had really nice home cooked supper again and overall Olympus was great.

23/09/07 - Dalyan - Olympus - 317km
This morning to our horror we realised that every mut in Dalyan has marked our tent as while rolling the tent up it stank to high heaven. Hopefully every lion and camal from here to Cape Town won't show interest in the scent. We left early while our hosts were still asleep and set off to Patara. On the way we passed Fethiye, a beautiful harbour town. At Patara we had an early lunch of cheese burger (you naughty tourists!!) on a beautiful beach with lovely sand and real waves. Patara also one of early churches and the birth place of St Nicholas and has a few ruins and piles of rock. We then made our way across to Myra and on the way we passed Kalkan and Kas which are beautiful coastal towns. At Myra we saw the very impressive ruins for 5YTL's. Myra was also one of the major cities of Lycia and in Acts 27:5 Paul is transferred to a new ship on his way to Rome under arrest before been shipwrecked on Malta. St Nicholas was famously the bishop of Myra. We knew off St Nicholas but thought he was from western Europe so this was quite surprising. We didn't see any reindeer dashing and prancing across the heat waves on the ruins. As their was no camping in Kale we decided to head to Oympus. The coast line along this whole area is magnificent with bright turqoise blue water with white sand amongst white chalky cliffs. This the most beautiful coast line we have seen so far. The winding road took us all along the beautiful shore line with views of small islands and secluded beaches. Coming around the bend we saw a roadside cafe with a number of real bikes (full range of BMW, R1, Gixxer, BIG tourers) so immediately pulled over. So far on our trip in Turkey we've just seen 100's of little 2-stroke MZ's and Bison's carrying husband, wife, children with school bags, and baby in mothers arms (all on one bike) and farm produce. We were introduced to a biker club from Antalya (http://www.mskantalya.com/ ) who gave us useful information on how to avoid fines from local constabularly. They also phoned ahead to a friend who had a pension in Olympus. (unfortunately we couldn't find it on arriving there). We had a few good laughs after some good tea and they headed with one or two stragglers escorting us through Finiche. We soon arrived at the road entrance to Olympus. The road, almost like a track, followed tight bends down and down into the valley. There was a roadworks team in the process of upgrading the road and short sections were either covered in lose gravel chip or bad dirt road. The two bridges were also closed and we had to cross the dry river while dodging oncoming traffic. We finally arrived in town just before sunset. And drove the full lenght of town (1km) on really bad corrugations and dirt road with mud pools while dodging tourists walking around like sheep and not understanding our (Rensche's) panic of trying to maintain balance while crawling along to avoid flying into them. Along the way we spotted 2 tents and booked into the campsite 5YTL per person. It looked like the only campsite in town and is just on the opposite bank of the river on the right as you come into town. Because it was so cheap we decided to stay for 3 days. Olympus looks more like an old western mining town that follows the banks of the river through a valley down to the sea. It is known for its tree houses which we expected to perched 20m in the canopy of the dense tropical forest. This might have been the case in the long distant past but now its just a group of small shacks on short stilts hidden away between restaurants and bars. It actually looks more like the shacks as you come into Knysna from PE (RSA). The first place as you come into town is the Bull Bar which is a bar/club so if you don't want sleepless nights head further into town. Saying that it is a very nice place to just stop and relax with lots of greenery and a beach close by. Those who think that Knysna has become too commercialised will really like this place.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Trip analysis and diagnosis: The packing list

Our packing list hasn't really changed much!! We were strict from the start but here's a few things we've learnt:

Things we've dumped (or thinking of dumping...)
-Lonely Planet Europe-We cut out the pages of the countries not used but still didn't really open the book enough to warrant dragging it across Europe
-French Phrase Book-Our French is good enough...? We would recommend taking a German Phrase book as German is spoken all the way from Slovenia to Turkey!
-We each dumped our winter woolley socks because its so bulky.
-Rensche dumped her scarf for the Middle East and is using her sharong which is thinner and less bulky. Scarfs can also be bought on the way if needed.
-Long Johns.....they are on the way out as we haven't used them yet.
-3 X small tins of Chain wax which has been replaced with one tin WD40 to be used on the new chains for the rest of the trip as the wax bonds with the sand to make a paste that increases the wear on chain and sprockets.
-packsafe: not used yet....will hang on to it for Ethopia.
-motocross goggles: still at the bottom of one of our stuff sacks somewhere. Our vizors on the Airoh helmets work very well.

Things we've used already:
-2 X sprocket and chain sets which has reduced Charlie's luggage weight significantly but no regrets.

Things most used:
- "the kitchen sink" (Green 4L Tupperware bowl) we bought in Croatia and which is used daily. It is strapped ontop of Renshe's topbox and has been used for washing, draining oil, groceries, cleaning engine parts,food preparation, temporary storage space etc etc etc.
- sarong is Rensche's most used item of clothing off the bike! It is used as skirt, sea towel, second towel for hair, bed sheet on hot nights, head scarf, to wipe tent out, to dry feet etc when it rains before getting into tent, to dry anything, 2nd towel when 1st towel is damp and dirty.
-tools: Charlie has used all his tools in his tool box as per packing list.
-multipurpose soap (block of Sunlight soap) : used daily for dishes, clothes and stubborn dirt!
-washing line (bungee from Millets) and 5 washing pegs
-the "kitchen" which consists of a cool bag that snugly fits into Rensche's topbox. It makes life really easy to have everything in one place for cooking and eating.-the picnic blanket idea we took from our friends Heino and Ale ( see their link on the left) which has been used as a entrance mat to our tent (to wipe feet), work surface for parts and tools while working on bike, picnic blanket, under tent to cover rough ground, to lie on while working on bike, to protect ground while working under bike from oil spills, to dry stuff on when we got caught in rain and had to unpack all luggage, to sleep on. We left the ground sheet we bought behind in favour of the picnic blanket because the ground sheet was slighter heavier although smaller.
-petrol sporster Coleman stove: no problems yet!
-Hein Gericke summer suits: very good ventilation and good pockets.

Things we missed:
-If you're going to maintain a blog or website we would recommend you take along a PDA or small laptop if you have the space so that you can type the updates beforehand and simply cut and paste them when you eventually find an internet cafe. We bought a PDA and small keyboard for this purpose but at the last minute decided to leave it as we were reducing our weight and concerned that another technical gadget would just be another headache. At this moment (we might change our opinion) we wished we had the PDA because sitting in an internet cafee for 5 hours a week typing from our diary while the sun is shining and the connection is slow is frustrating and expensive. Nevermind the incompatibility problems with downloading our photo's. Hopefully in Africa we won't have these problems. Also be aware that once you leave İtaly almost every country has it's own unique keyboard so eıther you can try and use ıt wıth theır alphabet or you can change the computer settıngs to EN-GB keybaord and then type tryıng to remember where all the engısh keyboard letters and characters used to be. We actually fınd the latter the easiests. You also have to change the internet settıngs to Englısh otherwise you read all websites ın greek, no pun intended haha.
-fold up serrated knife for cutting bread and fruit and that can be safely folded away.
-choose your tent wisely. Our second budget tent (our first one was ideal for this trip but getting to the end of its life) has the uncanny ability to break tent poles due to poor design in distrubuting the tension evenly. We wish we had some aluminium poles to make this less of an issue. But we now carry extra poles for emergencies.... The tent is great because it has better ventilation than the first one.

Things that make life just a bit special and easy on the road:
-Lush shampoo and conditioner in one bar soap- it just lasts and lasts, takes up no space and feels great after a grimey day for Rensche and Charlie has found out it works well as a shaving cream.
-BodyShop sample face scrub in a teeny container: for Rensche's spoiled face! Thanks Lizl - you saved me from puberty all over again!
-prescription dark glasses
-ear plugs: not for riding but for cutting out our partying neigbours.
-wet wipes
-OXO Italian stock cubes
-Oil cooking spray: to save your pots and pans.

Trip analysis and diagnosis: The bikes

The bikes so far (for those of you who are taking bets):

We are actually very happy wıth our small little 250cc after having covered just under 6000km. They just keep on going and going...just like the tortoise and the hare! They can maintain 95km/h but we prefer to hang around at about 75km/h. We and the bikes both feel comfortable at that speed and we can stop quicker for photos. Charlie's bike does 3.4lt/100km and Rensche's does 4.4lt/100km. We suspect that Rensche's carb needs a good clean-out as a result of the missing filter which was replaced in Germany. But yes 3.4lt/100km gives us a range of over 600km...WOW!!!

The seats are uncomfortable and Charlie will never ride more than around the block without his sheepskin otherwise the future of the Mayne's will be in jeapardy. Rensche has also submitted to the undue pressure of her cut out seat and has sacrificed the 10mm seat height and is using her sheepskin for the last week but is now back on ten toes instead of balls of feet.

To refresh your memories on the "troubles" we've had with the bikes:
1. The o-ring problem was sorted out with gasket sealant and is now holding perfectly. This could have happened to any bike old or new anywhere.
2. The missing carb inlet filter from Rensche's was not put back properly or at all when the last person removed the carb (not Charlie).
3. Charlie's headlight bulb blown is a common occurance with any vehicle.
4. Rensche's battery charging problem was caused by a rusty dirty fuse due to poor long term maintenance and cleaning.
5. The incorrect sprocket and chain lengths as a result of suppliers sending the wrong stuff which, yes maybe Charlie should have checked before leaving, but if you order by part number you expect to recieve that part and not an incorrect substitute.

Before we left London Charlie knew that our chains and sprockets had had an undetermined lifespan. Amy, who rode her bike which is the same as ours, down the West coast had to replace her sprocket in Namibia which had to be made due to unavailability. So we planned to fit new chains and sprockets etc in Turkey and to ensure that we would not have problems finding the correct parts we took the parts along with us knowing that we would be on smooth tar road most of the way.

We are changing the oil every 2000km. Some would find this a very short service interval but we just err on the side of caution and ensure that the engines have nice clean fresh oil as often as possible... It's a 15min job per bike and these bikes can run on almost any oil available.

Valve clearances: these bikes have adjustable tappets whereas the Yamaha has a overhead cam with shims (I think that's what its called). This means that after a while the little adjustment bolts move and the bikes don't run very smoothly and don't idle well and tend to stall. Since we adjusted Rensche's in Belgium her bike has run perfectly. Charlie adjusted his in London just before leaving but his bike has started stalling recently and will need adjustment at the next oil change.

The few off road excusions have turned out to be pleasant with the bikes responding well.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Turkish Delight!!!

20/09/07 - 22/09/07 - Dalyan
The last 3 days we spent in Dalyan taking a break from riding as we were in such lovely surroundings. Every morning we had coffee and breakfast on the deck overlooking the river and in the evening we made supper on the upper deck lounging on the pillows and Turkish carpets like sultans. Our host was also very generous giving us free Turkish tea and snacks. Our two attempts to update the blog were very unproductive as at the first attempt we couldn't upload any photos and at the second attempt after 3 hours of typing we pushed Enter and windows decided to shut down and we lost everything. The joys of modern technology!!! Just before heading out on the second day, while feeding our bread crumbs to the millions of little fish in the crystal clear water, two massive turtles popped their heads out right in front of us at the deck on the river at the campsite. This was a great treat because this area is known for their giant turtles and many tourists leave without seeing them. We then took a river public boat for 5YTL's each through the reeds to the Iztuzu beach which is the nesting site of the Caretta Sea Turtle. The beach is beautiful with beautiful fine soft sand and a 5km stretch parallel with the river and the med. The boat trip back gave us the opportunity to have a closer view of the Lycian Burial chambers cut into the rock opposite the camp site. Unfortunately later that evening we realised that some of the town dogs have taken an interest in our presence and creepily circled the tent at night and left their mark on our belongings! We applied DEET spray to tent to deter them and it seemed to help. Maybe we should try the coke bottle trick! Charlies helmet was starting to feel very full with his long hair and he had a special Turkish hair cut and the barber insisted on finishing off Charlie's poor shaving effort from that morning. He wouldn't take no for an answer! That evening we tested Charlie's fold away braai and had steak and lamb sosaties with rooster broodjies. On the third day we went by boat to the mud baths for 15 YTLs each. This after being quoted 70-90YTLS the day before!! The entry at the mud baths is 4YTLs each and great value for money. On arrival an assistant directed us through the order of proceedings. Step 1 was to strip down to swimming costume and leave your belongings on one of the tables. Step 2 is to go wallow in the mud. Step 3 you stand like a lizard in the sun until dry and cakey. Step 4 is to stand under the jet blast shower to rinse the mud off as much as possible. Step 5 is to go take a dip in the 39C thermal pool for as long as you can stand the sulfur smell. Step 6 is to relax and have refreshment at the bar! We both feel like spring chickens after our revitalising rejuvenating program! Back in town after our mud bath we spotted a sign advertising English breakfast. Ater 5 weeks on the road of eating local cuisine we couldn't resist the smell of bacon and went for the full monty to the horror of some of our more refined foreign tourists.
Our hosts also explained to us that the drums at 03h30am in some towns is simply to wake people up in time to make food before sunrise and their fast for Ramadaan starts at 04h30am. Turkey is very proud of its heritage and its flag is presented everywhere: on hilltops, boats, cars, shops, trees , restaurants but what is more impressive are the 10m long silk flags that you find in the centre of the biggest cities.

19/09/07 - Pamukkale - Dalyan - 361km

We were woken up by the drums again (please can somebody tell us if this is normal for Ramadaan ) at 03h30. So at 7am we were up and packed and by 9am were at Leadicea which is just off the road between Denzili and Pamukalle. This was also an old church and a place where the first Christians prospered. (Col 4:15). This was an impressive ruin but clearly not visited by many tourists. The Archaeologists were carrying out major excavations and reconstructions. Original stoned paved road has been exposed - all 400m of it- with evidence of cart wheels having cut ruts into it. Entrance was 3YTL each and a must do in our opinion. Here we also found our first reference to Christianity in Turkey. Having now visited so many Roman ruins where Paul ministered and knowing this region was where the early Christian church really started to grow, it is concerning to realise that Turkey is now 98% Muslim with a rapid decreasing Christian orthodox community in the south. We then went around the corner in search of the ruins of Colosae (Col 1:2) but due to no signs and locals clearly not knowing where it was and sending us all over the country side we decided to head off after taking in the scenery. At Tavas we took the 60km detour to Arphrodiasis. After being charged 2 pounds for a coke and being hot and bothered and being told we have to pay for bike parking and the use of the loo on top of the entrance fee we left. In hindsight we were idiots having gone all the way and then lost our rag because of over charging but as we have seen so many ruins now which has been more significant for us we decided not to cry over spilt rocks. In all it would have cost us 8YTL each. We would have been happy to pay 10 YTL each all included but find it absurd that they split it up and charge you separately for every single thing. Oh yes and ALWAYS ask the price before ordering anything. Hopefully we've learnt our lesson. After brewing on the whole experience for about an hour in the heat while riding we got stuck behind a truck going up a long hill. After a while we finally got a gap and passed it. We then stopped for a photo shoot and the truck came past us again and we waved. When we caught up with the truck again it violently pulled off the road and waved us down. The driver climbed in the back of the truck and presented us with a bunch of sultana grapes, asked us where we were from, wished us a safe journey and headed off. The Turks are really nice people. The tourist board needs a shake up! We drove through beautiful scenery of pine forests, maize fields. Again very similar to South Africa. We also saw many old motorbikes with side cars carrying anything from sheep, building materials and children. At 5pm we arrived at Koycegiz but they didn't have any campsites. We were seriously overheating by this time by the hot dry wind but the grapes pulled us through! We headed off and found ourselves in Dalyan and were directed to Dalyan campsite which at 5YTL's per person is the cheapest campsite on our trip so far! And the best! Its situated on the shore of the inland lake overlooking rock burial sites carved in the side of the mountain, clean tidy toilets and very friendly staff. We were the only people there. If you're in Southern Turkey you must stop off here. It makes a nice break from rural Turkey with no bacon and few tourists! Dalyan is a British tourist destination for the older generation and even has an English breakfast at some restaurants and prices quoted in pounds. We are actually trying to avoid towns like these but we found it comforting after a few days of roughing it in rural Turkey's questionable campsites. Over the last 2 days in rural Turkey there were notably few woman to be seen. And the ones out and about in the villages and towns were all veiled and most on the back of a tractor or working in the fields. At Dalyan because it is more touristy they are all westernised again. Turkey is a bit of a paradox and it is in small touristy hotspots like these that you forget that you're actually in a Muslim country.

18/09/07 - Bergama - Pamukkale - 382km
Again we were woken up by 03h30 by the drum parade and then again at 04h30 by the mosque announcing day break and the start of the Muslim fast for Ramadaan. Rensche lost one of her sock and had to have a look around which the camp puppy have run off with. After finding it next to the pool (with two holes in her 10 pound ultra cool Blacks socks....) we headed out of town. We rode past many maize fields along a very fertile valley. Most of the way was 4 lane highway and at one point we rode past the road building crew. These Turks take road building seriously using open cast mine tippers and loaders to haul materials. After this the road disappeared to a small track shared by trucks in all shapes and sizes. And us. We stopped for petrol at Akhisar. This town was previously Thyatira, one of the first churches. ( Acts 16:14)/
We had a quick Turkish coffee and met a very friendly and generous Turkish man on a Africa Twin. We got chatting (he's in the tourist and hotel industry) and after a few phone calls he managed to arrange for two sets of Pirellis MT21's tyres to be ready and waiting for us in Gazientep when we get there in 2 weeks or so in Turkey. He had travelled extensively in the Middle East and had many friends and contacts in the region. And he insisted we contact him if we needed any assistance. We said our good byes and headed off further south. We stopped off at Sart to visit the ruins of Sardis. Another old first church. (Rev 1:11). This is one of the most impressive sites we've seen so far as a large part of the ruins were reassembled in the 60's and includes a roman bath and shops and a synagogue and it only cost 2YTL's. As we were about to leave a tour bus with a troupe of Jehovah Witnesses arrived and their coach driver told us we must see Artemis Temple. After misunderstanding his directions we finally found it a 100m up the road. The temple as impressive even more so considering it was originally only found in 1915 with the heads of the 15m high columns just sticking up at the then ground level so required major excavation to expose the whole temple. We then headed off to Pamukkale. We passed Alasehir, the old church of Philidelphia, but as there was no signs and we were boiling so we stopped off for a rest and have a look at the scenery across the fertile valley and then headed off to Pamukkale. To get to Pamukkale we had to ride through Denzili which had very poor signage and we found the right road by accident and arrived at Pamukkale. Pamukkale is the old church of Hierapolis (Col 4:13). First impressions is tacky tourist hotels with touts on foot and moped accosting us!. We eventually shook the touts off and found a place to camp at a restaurant with a beautiful swimming pool just below the magnificent white cliffs of salt deposits of Pamukkale. After a dip in the pool we had supper at the restaurant which was very small portions but tasty.

17/09/07 - Bergama
This morning we were woken up at 03h30!! by a drum parade marching through the streets. About an hour later they stopped and were replaced by the mosques announcing sunrise. We got up at 08h30 and headed through the mad little town to the ruins of Acropolis. The ruins were impressive on a hill top and covered a range of era's and building techniques which Charlie found very impressive. It was interesting to see how during the early Roman period the defence walls were removed but at the end of the Roman period these walls were hastily reconstructed in whatever rubble was available. You could also see that during this period the skill of stone masonry had been lost in that town. It also made us wonder what archaeologist would find from our era 2 millinia from now: cigarette buts, nappies and silicone implants! We spent the rest of the afternoon around the pool.

16/09/07 - Kabatepe - Bergama - 298km
We took the ferry from Eceabat to Canakkale which cost 4YTL per bike. The crossing gave us an impressive view of the Gallipoli peninsula and ANZAC memorials and a beautiful fort. From the ferry we headed for Troy, and old Christian church (Acts20: 6-7). There wasn't too much to see and many heaps of rubble and a big wooden horse. It interesting that the whole of Troy was covered by a big heap of sand and had clearly been buried on purpose under the big mound. It was only rediscovered by a German philanthropist in 1915 after he consulted Homer's Iliad book of poetry. We then headed along a small road to Assos. This was also one of the earlier churches but now it the sight of a pre-Ottoman mosque perched ontop of a hill. From the old little town we had impressive views of the whole area. The last 200 meters to the top were lined with beggars and sellers of any kind of tourist tat. We then headed along the coast past a number of small campsites. This is indicated as a green route on the map but its a four lane motorway with mile upon mile of apartment blocks with an occasional glimpse of the sea. It was getting late and wind was getting tiresome. We turned into Ayvalik looking for a campsite. Tourist information was closed and we could not find a camp site. We headed back on the road and by this time the wind was howling. This whole coast area from Croatia is pestered by strong winds that blows south westerly. We found our camp site in Bergama, as directed by the English man we met in Greece. For 10YTLS per person we have grass, washing machine and a pool! The campsite is called Bergama campsite and is on the left just before you come into town. We also met a German biker on a Divvy 900. This area is clearly olive growing area because all along the road as far as you can see you just see olive trees.

15/09/07 - Alexandropolis. Greece - Kabatep, Turkey - 199km
Headed out of town towards the Turkish border we stopped off at the BP station 5km from the border as we were warned that this was the last petrol station in Greece and that petrol is alot more expensive in Turkey (which it is). Greek border formalities were quick and we crossed the bridge with 2 pairs of Turkish and Greek soldiers standing at attention giving each other the evil eye. Arriving at the Turkish border which is a very modern enclosed complex with marble clad buildings we first stopped at kiosk 1 where we had to present our passports and vehicle registration to check into the complex. We then drove 20m to kiosk 2 for passport control. As we did not have visas we parked up and Charles walked into the admin building and bought the visas which were 15 Euros or 10 pounds per person. As Charles had brought two 10 pounds all the way from England we saved on the exchange rate! Visa and passport we got stamped in at kiosk 2 and drove the next 20m to kiosk 3 for insurance check. Again we didn't have insurance yet so we parked up and Charlie had to walk all the way back pass kiosk 1 to the duty free shop to buy green cards at 8 Euro per bike for 6 months. Insurance in hand we passed through kiosk 3 and walked 2 paces to kiosk 4 for custom clearance. The official took a side ways glance at our carnets, scribbled something in our passports and told us to go. Clearly Turkey does not yet need Carnet. We then rode another 20m to kiosk 5 where they checked that our passports had all the required scribbles from each required check point and we were allowed to leave the border complex and head off into Turkey! We took the highway east and turned south at Kesan and headed to the Gelibola peninsula. The country side changed constantly from wide flat fields to hills with dense pine forrests. Near Kabatepe we visited the Galipoli war museum which was hardly as impressive as Normandy or London but he number personal items on show had a great impact. The museum is dedicated to the ANZAC and Turkish troups who fought in the Galipoli war during WW1 1914-1915. New Zeeland and Australia fought for Britian while the Ottomans (Sultans) who ruled Turkey fought for Germany. Although the Turks were greatly outnumbered, due to good strategy and military blunders on the part of the ANZAC forces, after 2 years of intense trench warfare, the ANZAC forces were withdrawn. A poem at the entrance of the museum summarizes the irony of the war as both the ANZAC forces and the Turkish forces were fighting for other countries. As recommended by Mick (camper van in Kavala) we booked into the Kum campsite which was practically deserted and we went around to the beach for the remainder of the afternoon. After sunset (19h30 exactley) the restuarant opened and joined the few guests for a very nice buffet for 20YTL. First impressions are that Turkish drivers are better than Greek drivers. (fewer cars?? ) Roads are going to interesting and bumpy. Turks are friendly. Turkey has beautiful countryside and its finally becomming warmer!!!