• Constantinos Koushiappis

Turkey 2014 (part 2)


We wanted to visit the area around Olundeniz so we had to get a fast breakfast so we can load the bikes and hit the road. Olundeniz is a touristic are and it is full of bars, restaurants, clubs etc.

We took the back road of the village so we can find the abandoned Greek village Livissi, which is now named Kayakoy. Livissi was a village of Lycia province and it was abandoned at 1922 from its Greek citizens. The population of the village was about two thousand people and all the houses are built on a mountain side. There are about five hundred destroyed houses now and the only ones that are saved are the ones close to the road that are being used as handicraft stores, coffee shops and restaurants from the locals. The rest of the houses including two Greek Orthodox churches, are now under the protection of Turkish government that maintains them as a museum-village.

Unesco adopted Kayakoy as a World village of peace and friendship.

Before leaving from Οlundeniz we had to make a stop at the beach which is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the Mediterranean sea.

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We started heading for Halicarnassus (Bodrum) without delay because we wanted to make it there before the port was closed. After 284km at D400 we reached the destination and asked around for the port. There we realised about the mistake made in Tasucu - the bad news that they couldn’t find my bike in the system. After spending 3-4 hours discussing with the port staff we realized that this problem wouldn’t get solved easy. They took some pictures of the bike and made copy of my Pass which had the stamp of the vehicle type and plate number to send it to Tasucu offices. The big problem was that the next day was Friday and if this problem was not solved, we wouldn’t be able to solve it during the weekend.

We went to a hotel near the port to get a room where Ι opened the map again to see the route options we had. Vale and I were sure that they wouldn’t be able to solve the matter by Friday, so we started a search for alternative routes. We ended up spending all of our days in Turkey, which at the end was the best decision we ever made because we got the most incredible impressions by this country.

At Friday Ι had a really fast breakfast and I run straight to the port to find out if we had any news from Tasucu. Α lady was waiting for me and took me to the port head offices where I met the head director of the port and he questioned me about the subject. Then he informed me that I will have to wait until Monday. I told him that I didn't have that kind of luxury and that I will continue my trip in Turkey. He gave me his business card in case I had any other issues when I get back to Tasucu port and I went back to the hotel.

The schedule now was changed for good. We had 13 days where 7 of them were scheduled. We added a lot more destinations including some days of rest. We stayed one more day at Halicarnassus so we had the chance to see the town better, rest and tide up our luggage.

Without any time pressure we had a huge breakfast at the hotel’s outside restaurant and we loaded the bike once again to visit Didima.

Didima was the city of god Apollo. A sacred place for ancient Greece, at the coast of Ionia where the splendid temple of Apollo existed, which was the 4th biggest temple of ancient times, and the oracle there was the second in importance oracle that existed after the one at Delfi. Many rulers like Alexander the Great and the Roman Emperor Diocletian had visited the oracle asking for advice and the blessing of Apollo.

We chose to ride from secondary roads to get to Smirni (Izmir) and that choice was a good one because we had the chance to pass through different villages and through green roads until we reached Miletus.

There we visited the theatre of Miletus which is near Balat village in Aydin province. Miletus was an ancient Greek city in the western coast, and it was built near the mouth of Maeander river.

We continued our journey to Smirni through D550 and to our next stop which was one of the most important stops of this trip. Of course was Ephesus.

A huge city that had a lot of glories and disasters through the ages.

It was built by Attick and Ionian Greeks in the 10th century B.C.

During the Greek era, Ephesus was one of the 12 most important cities of Ionian Province.

The city flourished after it came under the control of the Roman republic at 129 B.C, and reached the population of 33600 to 56000 people making it the 3rd largest city in Roman Asia Minor.

The library of Celsus in the city of Ephesus was one of the most important libraries of the world back then, because it had a capacity of 12000 scrolls. It was built to honor the Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus, which is buried in his sarcophagus in the foundations of the library. The front of the library is decorated with four statues that represent the virtues of Celsus. They are the goddesses Sofia (Wisdom), Areti (Virtue), Ennoia (Meaning) and Epistimi (Science).

In Ephesus existed the Temple of Artemis as well, which was one of the seven wonders of ancient world but now nothing is standing there.

Leaving Ephesus we were off to find an old Greek village that an old coffee shop owner recommended we should see. He was trying to speak Greek with us and he told us to visit Sirince.

The village was built by Greek slaves after getting their freedom and was named Cirkince which means "ugly" in Turkish to prevent others from following them. The village was renamed Sirince which means "pleasant" at 1926 from the governor of Smirni.

After 270 km and a lot of stops we entered Smirni. Smirni roads are chaos. Everyone is rushing and none respects the speed limits. To find the centre of the city we had to look for the sign "Konac". Due to the huge amount of traffic that was around us, we missed one sign and we started heading straight out of the city. We decided to turn back by getting the road through the city instead of the motorway. The fact that we didn’t have a GPS with us made this very difficult because the city is huge and even the locals are not able to give you proper directions. We stopped a couple of times to ask for directions but none knew how to guide us.

We spend more than 50km and about 2 hours riding in Smirni until we found the center.

During our stay in Smirni we confirmed how scary it can be when noone respects the traffic laws.

We stopped to give priority to pedestrians on several occasions and have accepted the horns honking behind us. It’s good to check your mirrors in case you want to stop because the locals almost never stop on zebra crossings and it is easy to get involved in an accident.

When we went for a walk to find some food, we saw a car that was speeding, hitting a kid aged 15-16 years,right in front of us. The kid landed about 15 metres from us with serious injuries, and seconds later he was covered in blood. The locals run to help and we could realize from their gestures that he was still alive. What really surprised us was the immediate response of the ambulances in that chaotic city. Within 5 minutes 2 ambulances arrived on the scene from 2 different directions. We don’t know what happened to that kid, but we hope he survived that crash.


#TurkeyΤουρκία

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