• Constantinos Koushiappis

Turkey 2014 (part 1)


Introduction.

My childhood best friend Valentinos and I made the decision of taking a trip. The plan was to ride around Greece at first, since it was our first trip abroad and we wanted to visit a country in which were going to be comfortable, when it came to the language and culture.

We decided to ride through Turkey to get there, since it is a lot cheaper than shipping the bikes to Greece.

A mistake in the paperwork that happened at Turkish Customs drove us to make an amazing trip in this country, which is considered as a taboo country for Greeks and Greek Cypriots.

After a lot of internet research, we started preparing ourselves regarding roads, points of interest, camping sites, and necessities for our camping.

Travelog

The big day came. The trip was about to start on sunrise, without rush though because the ferry was departing at midnight.

I started to ready everything by putting my gear in line so I would not forget anything. Vale brought his things to my place as well so we could start preparing first thing in the morning. It was already 6:00 a.m. so I decided I had to go to sleep and get some rest.

We started after a couple of hours with a coffee and by loading the bikes. Loading had to be done so we could easily and quickly grab important stuff when we needed them. None of us had side panniers so we didn't have many options. All the electronics and things that require power had to go to the top box and the rest had to go in a handbag on the seat that wasn't waterproof at all. All our clothes were in nylon bags in case it rained, plus the camping gear on the back seat. In the tank bag I carried all the necessary paperwork, my diary, two pens, three lighters and my camera with 2 lenses.

We took a few photos and we parked the bikes on the road to be ready. It was already 2 p.m. and we had a quick lunch and headed off to Nicosia.

We had to get vehicle insurance at the borders which costs 20 Euros.

The paperwork at the border didn’t take more than 10 minutes and that left us with a couple of hours to spend, so we enjoyed a coffee at the old Kerynia port. We found a small coffee shop near the castle with a nice view and we had a coffee that cost us 1 Euro each.

At about 7:00 p.m the sun started to set. We hopped on the bikes and went to the port. We were there earlier since we were informed that there might be a chance we need a lot of time for the paperwork.

As we were enjoying another coffee at the port, we saw a guy with a black Kawasaki approaching us. Victor is a French guy that was travelling on his bike and by then he had crossed 12 countries. We had a lot to say and time flew.

The time to board the ship had already come. We took the bikes in, and within 30 minutes everything was set. Ticket control, Yellow paper, police control and stamps.

The ship never leaves on time, it had to be loaded with trucks and that was a time killer. We departed 2 hours later, but that wasn't an issue since the customs at Tasucu port open at 8:00 a.m.

The next day we woke up early, about 7:00 a.m, and hurried onto the deck to have a coffee with the Tasucu port just in front of us. At any time we were going to be there. We had our coffee in the morning chill and we got ready to disembark.

A huge inconvenience was waiting for us at the port that would cost us 4 hours of our time, and as we were going to discover later on, a big mistake on my motorcycle paperwork.

Because of an issue on their systems they were running late on vehicle registration. The mistake was made when my plate number was submitted on the previous Card on the system that was an 1998 Audi.

The stamp I got on my pass was okay though since the type of the vehicle was motorcycle and the number plate was alright.

Without having a clue about the mistake and since everything seemed fine on my pass, we left the port at midday.

We followed D400 to Attaleia. The road is a motorway and it’s new. The speed limit was up to 100km/h but there are a lot of sections that are under construction. We had to follow the diversions to the old road which was pretty long in distance and of course the speed limit was about 50-60km/h. We rode for a lot of kilometers on that twisty road, in narrow lanes full of trucks that were getting in the opposite lane and with very small distances to overtake.

It took 5 hours to get to Alanya and we decided that we needed to stop for a coffee and ekmek, and rest. We had only covered 260km by that time due to our slow speed, and we had another 140km to Attaleia. The sun was setting soon enough and we only had two hours to get there. Thankfully, the road to Attaleia was better. The speed limits was back to 100km/h but there were a lot of traffic lights that were slowing us down. We already knew that we were going to get there at nighttime.

When we got there we started looking for “Kaleici”. Kaleici is the center of the city of Attaleia and we wanted to find a hotel near there so we could go for a walk and find something to eat. We asked a guy that was passing and he showed us the way there. We found “Ozhan Otel”; a very nice and clean hotel near the city center that cost us 70TL (about 12Euro each) for a double room with breakfast. With out any hesitation and because we didn't have any other choice at the time, we got inside to have a quick shower and then find something to eat.

The next day we had a rich breakfast and off we went for a walk in the city. We found an exchange shop with good rates so we exchanged currency, and we continued our walk through the old city of Attaleia.

The city was founded by Attlalos from the Kingdom of Pergama, after he succeeded his brother Eumenes on the throne. He wanted to secure the area by protecting the important sea routes and he founded Attaleia in 158 b.c. where he formed a naval base.

On the road again after a couple of hours to Kemer via D400. We stopped at Chimaera mountain where flames are coming out of the mountain cracks due to the methane that is underneath. We were running out of time again because we needed about 20 minutes to get there after we exit the motorway and another 30 minutes to walk until the top on. We decided to review the map again and rearrange the days. We were going to lose one more day until we reached Halicarnassus but we would have time to do more sightseeing.

We hopped on our bikes once again and we rode for 20 minutes in green twisty roads until D400. Passing Kale we saw the sign for "House of Myra". We had already made the decision to take one more day so we had plenty of time to check it out.

We continued to Kas. The road to Kas is excellent, it's new and with very good grip, there is low traffic and it's goes along the sea line for a lot of kilometers with open and fast curves; and of course it was the chance we were looking for to twist the throttle and have fun.

Kas is a rich place and the main occupations there involve tourism and fishing. There is a big marina full of yachts and a smaller one that is full of fishing boats. What's very characteristic is the little island of Kas that is attached to road, so we didn't miss the chance to make a round of it with our bikes.

From Kas you can easily see the Greek islands of Kastellorizo and Ro. The locals have very good relationships with the Greek fishermen.

The next stop for the day was Patara. An Ancient Greek city that had been founded by Patarus. We could enter with our own vehicle since it's huge, and ride through the ruins.

We headed off to Letoon. The map showed that is was close enough but to get there we had to pass through a lot of small villages. We couldn't help but notice the poverty and low growth of the area. The main occupations there involve farming and agriculture. The houses were looking much like shacks and everywhere there were kids running barefoot and topless. We felt their eyes following us until we disappeared on the next curve of the road. At some point we thought that we got lost. When we arrived to Letoon, we realized it isn’t anything great either. It was a fenced piece of land about 20x10 with a lot of ancient columns on the ground and a small amphitheater.

We took the road to Olundeniz. We arrived there late and we went to the first hotel we could find that had a restaurant as well. The owner of that hotel was a big scum. The rooms were too expensive at 120TL (40Euro) and he charged us 40TL (14Euro) each for a mixed grill dish that was tiny, and one beer. The next day we asked him if we could make a phone call and he asked for 10TL (3.5Euro). Of course we didn't accept and we left.


#TurkeyΤουρκία

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