We entered the northeast side of Turkey. The Caspian Sea welcomes us with a heavy storm. Hmmmm turkey nice and warm? Well not on this coast! After the beautiful mountains and nature of Georgia, we decided to drive towards the south coast. We still hope to enjoy summer temperatures before we drive into the cold Europe 😉
On our way to Turkish south coast with 25+ temperatures
We followed the Caspian Sea till around Trabson and drove straight through the middle of Turkey to the south. It feels familiar to hear the mosques and the Islamic clothing again together with the hospitality that belongs to the culture. At the first campsite we are welcomed with hazelnuts, raisins and walnuts. At the gas station we get tea and a local delicacy and people stop us on the way to give us mandarins!
The landscape we pass in the middle of Turkey is very dry, a lot of strong winds. Our car is extreme thirsty with the strong headwind (there goes the diesel we stuffed in Georgia for half the price as Turkey). The environment is in many ways similar to what we have seen in Iran, only slightly more developed. After 3 days of driving we pass the last mountains and see out first glim of the south coast in front of us. We find a nice spot on the beach, so we set up our hammocks and enjoy the delicious warm temperature!
Political unrest: what is the result?
Especially on the south coast we see the effects of the recent developments in Turkey. The campsite where we stand is run by a small family who totally depended on tourism. The piece of land is small, the facilities simple, they bring us local tea 3 times a day and pomegranates. The owner of the camp tells us what effect the current situations has on his business. ‘Politics bad’ ‘no people’ and indeed we see many empty hotels, empty beaches and few tourists in this part of the south coast. Would this camp site still exist next year? It’s heartbreaking!
Kas: snorkeling with turtles and chilling in a hammock
Slowly we drive along the south coast towards the west. It is around 27 degrees during the day and even in the evening we can sit outside for hours with a book and the Georgian wine. After Georgia, Armenia and northern Iran we had forgotten how wonderful it is to sit in outside in the evening without feeling cold, we are loving it!
We drive passed via Side, kemer, along Oludeniz (where Suus has been a lot to fly with a paraglider), Butterfly Valley to continue slowly off the south coast. In Kas we find a super nice spot right on the sea. In the morning we see the turtles swimming on the surface so we study them underwater for hours with out snorkeling gear. A great snorkel place just in front of our camping spot!
From coffee with the seniors to an All-in resort in Kusadasi
In Kusadasi we have limited options so we end up at a campsite in the center. The only guests here are a retired Turkish dentist who is married to a German woman and four Turkish seniors who spend almost the entire year on this campsite. If we want to drive away the next morning, we are invited for Turkish coffee. The dentist who can speak English is put in the middle of the circle to translate and everyone leaves him with questions for us about our journey. Our morning is complete, really hilarious! What a lovely people!
On the way back from Efes the coastline is dominated by All-in Resorts and on our way to the campsite we decide that our experience in Turkey is not complete without an all-in resort. We check on internet dor a resort with looks great and just drive there. The have less business as well, so we make a nice deal at the counter and can immediately sit down for the most extended lunch we have seen in the last year:-)
From All-in to All-out
What a food, what a choice and what a food feast! In the afternoon chilling by the pool, then watching the sunset at the beach, more food at the evening meal, delicious desserts, lots of cocktails and at the end of the evening we wonder how people do this a week? After a wonderful night in a super nice room, real shower, reasonable internet, delicious breakfast and another lunch we decide to check out. Nice to experience, but not really our thing (we have eaten in 24 hours what we not even eat on an average week during our trip). We drive back to the campsite where we are warmly welcomed by our new Turkish friends. With a wine, candle and a book we are sitting next to our car again. This is more our thing 😉
Car problems at the last moment
A weird scraping sound gets our attention and it turned out to be a very worn brake pad 😉 We already saw it coming so in Sudan we bought the extra brake pads already, lucky us! After a morning work for Roel it was fixed again and we could continue.
A week later we had another problem and this time we were not so lucky with the spare parts. When we stopped at a traffic light we were told by a car mechanic (yep, he told us he was a gift from Allah) that our rear axle was leaking oil. The gaskets and barriers had to be replaced and the possible the bearing. Unfortunately, finding parts like these are a mission impossible in Turkey’s (Toyota’s are rare and certainly the “bush taxis” we drive) so we had to order it and send it to Greece. With some improvising on the current barrier, checking it every 50 kilometers on oil and with 2 liters of diff oil as a backup, we set off. On back to Greece, Albania, Croatia after 45,000 kilometers of Europe again!