Sunday, June 14, 2009 We left the nice camping spot by the river and headed off towards Rila monastery which was about 36 km off the beaten path, on the way there we saw a sign that indicated there was another set of “pyramids” so we turned off the road and I waited in the Carthago Chic T47 for Luda to do the 2 km walk to see these marvels of nature, and she returned in raptures.
As we got back onto the main Road towards the monastery we saw on the left a collection of old cars so we stopped and I add a lot of these to my photographic collection.
We finally arrived at the monastery and it was well worth the trip even if the distance was twice as great. It is one of the most famous monastery's in Bulgaria and I remember the immense size of the building and funny as it may seem the immense rocks that were used as paving stones, these were rocks one would find in a glacial river and some must have been immense in size before they were buried. It is one of the largest and most famous monastery's in Bulgaria and they make no charge for entry and viewing.
As we're leaving our campsite by the river our Romanian GPS decided it wanted a holiday in stopped working. It was waiting to receive the information from the satellites, however when I checked the satellite reading it could see nine of them, but evidently could not compute. Eventually I pushed the reset button and now it does not work at all.
Our next stop was the city of Blagoevgrad where we were looking for a mosque and Luda managed to get a photo of it from a distance, but the traffic through the narrow streets was such that it did not encourage stopping. We did however find a large electronics shop were able to get a new GPS which had all of the eastern countries.
It is a real minefield buying a GPS because there are so many things to look for and they are all important in using it in is a pretty good chance you buy one that is not quite as good as you would like, which is precisely what I did but hopefully it will get us through the remaining countries with out at having to refer to a map and try to work where we should go in that manner as I know that would not be good for Luda and my relationship.
We headed towards our next stop, but as it was getting late we decided to drive the 20 km off route and camp again beside the river as we did not what know what we would find it we continued.
In this area, that we are in, it is the time to harvest cherries and we saw dozens of people on the side of the road of selling the three varieties for sale, we were not tempted because there were not the fat juicy cherries we have had in the past so we left those go.
Were still seeing a lot of Trabants and Lada's cars on the Road and these of course were balanced today by the Lamborghini that roared past us.
We eventually got back at the river and had a peaceful night.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Now we have to work out how to work the new GPS and found all the shortcomings, so a looks like I'll have to make a shopping list on what to look for if you're buying a GPS, as I've slipped up badly with this new one.
As we are getting near the city of Dupnitsa, but still in the middle of nowhere we came across these car yards with cars for sale, must have been thousands of cars, right in the middle of nowhere, but I did see several buses there, so it would appear that people if they want to buy a car, they get on the motor car express and go this location in the middle of nowhere and drive back in their new secondhand car.
As we were getting close to the village of Belchin we passed a military runway with bunkers either side of the runway where the plane's could almost hide before they taxied to the main runway which must have been several kilometres long. Just after this, we saw a signpost pointing towards an orthodox temple that has was only 2 km away we decided to visit. Unfortunately Mondays it was closed, so on our way out of the village we stopped at one of the many water taps we see right throughout the country where the locals get their drinking water, and perhaps in some cases all of the water, as we were filling up a local came to get three cordial bottles of water, and started speaking to me in English, which of course one does not expect in a village.
Evidently he learned English at school and as he was a pilot, and later a commercial pilot, his English was a necessity, he confirmed the location of the military airport, and made the comment that that was used when America was “the enemy”.
Interesting guy, and a man with such a background, has retired back to this village, where I suspect he does not have running water in his house.
We then moved on to the town of Samokov where again they had an old mosque, which of course was not important to the townspeople, as they all knew where it was, so did not need any signs so we drove round in our normal circles and lucked upon an old Orthodox church and then a little bit later a monastery, but no mosque.
As we were getting ready to leave this town I happen to spy an Internet cafe, one of the first in many weeks, so we parked up the Road, I downloaded 700 e-mails with 95 percent of them spam, and then sent off the last newsletter.
Whilst all this was happening, Luda went thro walk around the village, and found within a few steps the elusive mosque so with all of this been done were on our way towards our next destination and hopefully somewhere to stop for the night.
The new GPS decided to send us North to go south, and sent us round some interesting out of the way roads which took was passed a picturesque lake before we did turn South and found a parking spot near the railway station in a village called on Ihtiman.
We again had been surrounded by hills as we have driven today, however we are on a bit of a plateau and about 900 m, and of the interesting thing is as we go through the villages we are aware of all of the death notices printed out on an A4 sheet of paper, with their photograph and all of the details, these are posted, on church walls, in the village square, on trees, on doorways, almost anywhere! We had noticed the same procedure and cities and towns so it was evidently local custom.
It is very common right throughout Romania and Bulgaria to see people looking after livestock, and always interests me when a person's output is measured by what an animal produces.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Back on the Road again driving towards the next tourist destination passing through Kostenets, Varvara, and then into the mountains passing Batak lake at 1.3 km elevation and then we kept on climbing over the mountain pass at 1666 m before heading down the hill and when we reached 1550 m we came across hydro dam with an enormous amount of water behind it and we kept on travelling beside that for sometime.
Then we passed the village of Rakitovo, and then the village of Dospat on another Lake, which brought us to the starting point for the next tour through Bulgaria and the first stopping point was the “Devils Throat” a series of caves we will look through in the morning and in the meantime camp underneath a cliff face that looks thousand metres high.
We are a little bit off the beaten path and not on a major highway and thing that we had noticed when we been on a major highway is all the young “Working Girls” scantily dressed out on the highway often miles from anywhere! we have noticed this right throughout Romania and Bulgaria on the major highways and wonder if it is a temporary situation whilst these countries are searching for their future, but then only time will tell.
Bulgaria is quite motorhome friendly, even though there are no motor camp's more or less to be found, but there is plenty of water, good drinking water, found often just running into a small drinking trough, from which the locals collect the water, and it is a simple process to pull up beside the water supply, hook up our water hose and fill up our supply. We do carry a good range of adapters so we can handle almost any type of supply.
We have the Gaslow gas bottle system from which you can fill up from any LPG station and these are in Bulgaria and almost every petrol station.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 and This morning we woke up good and early so we would be on to look through the caves the minute they had opened at 9 a.m.
Now, I know are talking about, must be the Devils time, being the Devils Throat Caves
and about 9:45 a.m. they decided they could get the first tour go, and we thought that it was a guide, but no, she took us to the entrance told us a lot about the caves where we could go in them, told us about the over 300 steps that went straight up at the end, and she said you can either go up that way or come back out this way.
The caves had quite a history going back into prehistoric times, but quite frankly once you've seen one cave you've almost seem a lot, and this one in any other country would be closed down because of the hazard that would be to the visitors with wet slippery steps and no rail to hold on to and of course the dirt floor all hazards in the West to see them closed down in an instant.
Well Luda went up the 300 steps and she tells me it was quite an experience, I took the coward's way out and went back the way I came in and that was bad enough, but we got some interesting photos at 3200 ISO. The caves of course was formed by a river, as it is in most, the river is still flowing making a very large noise as it tumbles its way through the path it is carved over the centuries.
The caves are home to 28 of the 35 Bat species are known in Europe and whilst Luda saw some of them flitting about I must admit as far as I was concerned the caves were empty. Luda tells me the bats were slightly smaller than a Sparrow and were flying in the dark, but as long as Luda saw some of them that's okay.
Last night we drove in to the car park through beautiful gorge with cliffs that seemed to go up forever and the bit of the Road just before the car park was a one-way Road, and sitting in the car park after we had passed through it and seeing the buses and the large trucks that were using it as a main thoroughfare and to our recollection there was really no passing bays, Luda decided to walk through the narrow path, collecting her series of photographs on the way, staying in contact with me by two way radio, and when the coast was clear at the entrance of the one-way Road I was given the proceed, which worked wonderfully, of course while Luda was walking one-way Road there was no traffic so possibly we would have been okay.
We spent some time getting photographs of the outstanding cliff faces and a few with the Carthago Chic T47 the views were still outstanding.
Was then time to get back on the Road towards the city of Devin, but we turned off just before we entered the city and whilst we were driving to the next destination we saw a signpost which said “ wonderful bridges” that we had no idea what this meant so we headed off down an extremely bad Road about 17 km and was close to a village called
Zagrad and we are finally arrived there and the Bridge was freed to view and photograph, but the parking was about $5.50 NZ, so I guess the total will still worked out okay.
I did not bother to walk out in the heat to see these wonderful bridges, but Luda did with her camera and she came back absolutely in thralled, said was absolutely beautiful, evidently it was some Bridges that had been formed by a “fluke of nature”, which was “my call” on the attraction…..
Going in the past a fish farm there was advertising fresh fish for sale so we stopped there on the way out and whilst he had thousands of little fish swimming around in the Soviet built fish tanks he had none currently for sale!
We passed many people fishing in the many rivers as we drove through this part of the country, and observed large number of fish tanks in different locations, some no longer being used, sort must be in a major activity in Soviet times, because most of the fish tanks look at least 40 years old.
Another Soviet activity must have been hop growing, we have seen several hop farms still in production, but we have also seen several being used for other activities so again is an interesting series of reasons why they no longer being used.
We again have been passing through the hills and mountains of this part of Bulgaria, we have gone up as high again as 1.5 km, through areas that are used for skiing, which evidently it is a sport that has a big following and Bulgaria, or a large tourist influx in the winter, as there are many apartments and hotels in the three to five-star range in existence and being built, so as usual, I would guess, the wealth is in the city's as we certainly had not been seen it in the countryside.
So was then on towards our destination of the Bachkovo monastery which was another one of the three famous monastery is in Bulgaria, this one did not allow any photographs whatsoever, very interesting and very old, the painting inside the church had all gone black which I assume was caused by the smoke from the candles are always being lit, this was a monastery from which one of the priests who helped some Jews escape the Nazis was remembered, it is a pity about the photographs, and some enterprising person at some stage no doubt will do a series of photographs and make them available for the monastery to sell on a DVD.
Driving out what I would call sideshow alley, the road that leads to the monastery that is covered on both sides with gift shops selling trinkets and at the end was a large car park and they wanted $ NZ10.50 for us to Park there for the night, so drove on passing through a city called Asenovgrad and this must have been the wedding dress capital for Bulgaria because they had to be at least 12 wedding dress shops with what looked like extensive selection that we observed as we passed by.
After getting lost because we entered the wrong city in the GPS we eventually got back on track and finally found a place to rest our head in a village called Topolovo we looked at several possibilities and finally settled outside what looks like perhaps old school or something similar in their front yard.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Back on the Road again passing through Komuniga on our way towards Kardzali were it went on a small impromptu tour visiting the Perperikon and Ahridos Rowlands of a settlement founded 6000 to 5000 BC and were thought to be in the capital of Eastern Rhodopes about 1000 AD. These ruins were of course on top of a tall hill and having seen many of this class of ruin before myself in Turkey I allowed Luda to volunteer to be the photographer on this climb.
I sat in the Carthago Chic T47 reading a detective book and I happened to look up and saw a couple girls waving and I poked my head out the door naturally, and they asked me was I really from New Zealand, I said yes, they said, but, are you really from New Zealand? I managed to convince them yes without having to show them my passport, it turned out that they had been living in Christchurch for the last eight years having originally come from Plovdiv a large ancient city close by.
Luda returned having chatted to the Bulgarian Christchurch residents on the way down the hill and with the hot day and a stressful climb a change of clothes was in order because of all the perspiration, I was pleased I sat in the Carthago Chic T47 and looked forward to looking at the photographs.
After this it was on to look at the stone mushrooms, rock formations which were formed by volcanic activity 40 million years ago and have been shaped by wind and rain ever since, another “fluke of nature”,.
This more or less finished our tour of Bulgaria so we headed towards the only campground we knew in Bulgaria called “Sakar Hills Camping” passing through Stremtsi and Podkrepa on our way there and were greeted for the first time with plenty of road signs directly us right to the door, and as we pulled in to the driveway were greeted by “Matt” the manager, or the son of the owner who was running the newly established motor camp, and we are rather fortunate in being early in the season not having to share the grounds with the summer vacation crowd.
Matt and his family had come to Bulgaria from England, by choice, like the country so much they here for the long run in spite of all the problems created by the years of socialism.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
A day resting
Ida & Pieter Kersten of Amsterdam www.afrikatour.nl arrived in their Landrover-motorhome they have been touring every year since 1976 mainly thro Africa.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
We left the campground at Sakar Hills having settled up the previous night and got up the Road to Turkey, it was very simple from this campsite with good roads all the way, we breezed through the Bulgaria side and at the Turkish side there was no real problems, being a New Zealander I did not need a visa, for Luda had to go to booth 91 and get a visa (€15) for her Russian passport and this is one case where the British are in the same boat as they also need visas.
It was clear motorway all the way to Istanbul, a 3 Lane Hwy both ways that on a Sunday was almost deserted. We passed by the city of Edirne and got off the motorway at Silivri, stopped at a large Maxi shopping centre where I got some Turkish money from the ATM, we did some grocery shopping and then followed the GPS to the motor camp, except was not there, so fortunately I had gone onto the Internet at Sakar Hills and I had a printout of the instructions to get there so we followed those and found the camp site with no problems.
The campsite (Semizkum Mocamp) (Free wifi internet) is right on the beach, and all of the locals drive there for a day at the beach (being a Sunday) so the campsite was crowded and we just waited under a tree tour everybody had left at 7 p.m. then he moved us down to a parking area right beside the beach so we stepped outside the door into the sand, and if we are so inclined, into the water. The head honcho at the camp site assures me there is no sharks in the Mediterranean so it is quite is quite safe in that aspect. The GPS readings from their website (N41.072463 E28.160985) did not get us here (N41.4322 E28.9653) is my GPS reading sitting in the motor camp.
My first impression of Turkey is of course at the supermarket, there is no shortage and every type of food is in plentiful supply, cost wise it seems to be the same price as in New Zealand, which is a surprise.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Today we decided to go by bus into Istanbul so we set out about 8:30 a.m. and walked out to the main Road to flag down a bus, let us call it luck but a local motorist stopped and offered to take us, what it turned out to be, most of the way into the city, no words of English were available that was a good fast trip to where there was a major bus depot so we caught the bus, aided by a bus put’a on’a to an unknown destination, which happened to be where the Metro started, and once we got off the bus we just follow the crowds and lead us to the Metro station, there one of the guards gave us an Istanbul rail network map.
This took us to an interchange, which happened to be where the trams started the run around the city, so with the aid of the map we managed to find our way to the blue Mosque.
At this point we were picked up by a Turkish carpet salesman who took us to the mosque on condition we visited his shop, I worked out this was probably easier than telling him to disappear and then dealing with the next one, and the next one that would undoubtedly take his place, so he was good protection.
After visiting the blue Mosque we walked over to the Haghia Sophia which happened in to be closed for the day so a few photos on the outside and then onto the Grand Bazaar, a quick walk through that, then lunch, and then followed the tram lines down to the wharf where we took a boat tour on the Bosporus.
As I was about 6 p.m. we decided it was time to head back to the motor camp, so I checked out a taxi and he wanted $US50 so we decided the bus would do, so we took bus 86 which for 2lei each got us to another terminal outside town, and then we were directed to another bus which for 5.5lei each got us to the city close to the campsite, their the bus driver found us the next mini bus, told them where we were going and for another 2lei we were delivered to the entrance of the motor camp on the edge of the motorway. Total elapsed time 3 ½ hours to cover the 72 km.
Driving Into the city we saw another motorcamp about 25km from here on the right hand side going in, being driven, we could not stop of course, so I have no idea of any information about it, but it could be worth looking at as it is that much closer to the city which makes all the difference. We had thought next time of leaving the Carthago Chic T47 and going to a hotel for 2 or 3 days…
It was interesting on all of the buses there was the driver and someone else to handle the money, guess it made for a faster service, if extra wages are not a problem.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
All as nice as it would have been to stay at the camp ground with the Mediterranean lapping almost at our doorstep it was time to move on and see the rest of Turkey.
We set off and drove towards Canakkale we looking for the memorial at Gallipoli, of course, one should have been looking for the Turkish name, and I was expecting signposts in English at least, but I must try and realize I'm not an English-speaking country.
We stayed on the E87 and when we saw a motel that offered camping on the seafront, and it was close to 5 p.m., we decided we had done enough driving for the day so here we are at Koro Motel GPS settings of N40.34303 E26.49176, it cost 20 Turkish lira with electricity. There was a beautiful sunset from the location, and it was a beautiful location for swimming and sunbathing.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
We woke to the sounds of hundreds of birds, to a beautiful day, so we got on the Road and stop the hundred metres or so down the road to a roadside water fountain and filled up our water supplies from their, playing it safe by putting a little bit of chemical in with it.
We drove on looking for the location to catch the ferry across the strait, we passed two ferries and when we came to a spot on the Road that had a Stone gate that I did not fancy driving through, we turned round and went to the last location which was Kilitbahir and for 25 Turkish lira they took us accross to Canakkale, it's interesting that the drivers in Bulgaria and Turkey are very similar it so much that they want to be first anywhere and they don't mind cutting in on anything anywhere, so was interesting going off the ferry seeing the manoeuvres that some tried to do to get off the ferry a few moments early.
We were last off and so we just followed the rest of the people out to the highway and then just the following the signs. My latest Turkish GPS is not working as well as it should do so I think I may be lucky if it lasts the trip, I am currently looking at some software from the Czech Republic that seems to handle almost every country and hopefully I will see this before I returned home.
Our first stop after getting off the ferry was at the ancient city of Troy, I had not visited their previously as there are so many wonderful ruins in Turkey you become a little bit picky. Luda decided she would handle the hot noonday Sun and paid the 15 Turkish lira to walk around the ruins and she returned to the Carthago Chic 47 very quickly which confirmed my assessment of this location.
Our next stop was the city of Assos and ancient sixth century Greek settlement which I was under the impression I had visited twice before, maybe I had, but this was a different set of ruins down a different road so we'll have to wait till tomorrow to see if I can see the other Road to my other Assos!
We are driving around the old city going towards the harbour and we passed in front of the old tiered theatre so I stopped the car for Luda to do some photographs, she didn't see the old Theatre only the policeman taking the items from the old gypsy woman and putting them into the car, now most of us know that when you're in a country that is a little bit of a police state you don't photograph the police particularly if they are taking something off somebody, Luda did not think of this, only what a wonderful photograph it was, I could not get the car back on the road fast enough, told Luda to change the card because I could see the police behind us, and they pass is on the inside and pointed towards the last car park before the wharf so I gave the thumbs up and we pulled in there and they carried on down to the wharf.
So here we are in the last car park before the harbor for the night, is a little bit dusty, but as long as nobody comes in to stir up the dust it will do us nicely.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Today we drove the Road from Assos, it was not the Assos I had visited and I have no idea where “MY ASSOS” is! Luda did a few photographs on the way, and main destination for the day was Bergama the site of ancient Pergamum. On the way the Road went by the sea and it was some good parking, there was a nice stony beach, the sea looked clean and it was just the type of situation Luda liked, so we stopped and she had a couple of good swims and then we're on our way again.
We are driving into black clouds and soon we started seeing lightning, so we hurried on to Bergama and just as we entered the city we saw a caravan camping sign so we pulled into that just as the rain started coming down hard so we have a good storm with lots of lightning all from the safety of the motor camp.
Friday, June 26, 2009
This morning we headed on into the city and then on up the hill to the ancient city of Pergamum and fortunately the Road went right up to the top which saved lot of walking because the city itself was built on the top of the hill. There were about a dozen buses there and quite a few private cars so it must have been a reasonable tourist destination, it was quite an interesting site and afterwards we drove back down the hill and fortunately struck no traffic on the form of buses coming towards us.
It was then on to Foça an old fishing village which had received the tourist makeover so it was no longer something quaint. The whole of the coast that the been traveling over as almost wall-to-wall apartment buildings, built I would say, for the tourists, and at the moment they all seemed unoccupied, so it would appear that they are only used for say two months of the year, or alternatively they are all built on a timeshare basis and nobody has taken up their timeshare.
Turkish women are either dressed very modern, or almost totally covered up, and on a hot day to see them wearing a headscarf and a neck scarf and a overcoat goes to the ground and then you see the men dressed for the weather, it makes you think that some of the Turkish woman have lost the “lottery of life”.
So after the disappointment of the fishing village we drove on to Menemen where at a traffic light a Turkish man signalled that there was something wrong with the Carthago Chic 47 rear wheel, now I am aware of the scams with somebody signals there was something wrong with your wheel and you hop out and somebody cleans out the motorhome while you're out of the motorhome or you get robbed all your money, but this was on a busy road so it looks safe and I pulled over.
He told me there was something wrong with my wheel and signalled that we should go to the next service station, which we did, and there he went on to a little bit deeper, and it did look like my wheel was loose and running hot, so he indicated he was a mechanic and that I should follow him so it can be fixed.
We drove on to the next little town, pulled over in the shade of a tree, and he produced almost a complete toolset from the back of his car, and proceeded to remove my back right wheel, then remove the brake pad, then removed the brake housing, then remove the wheel hub, and then pulled out the bearings and all the time demonstrating how loose everything was and he told me that the bearings and the wheel hub were Kupt and would need replaced and he would go back to the previous service station to get the replacement. Okay I bought was just the bearings, but the arrived back with a new wheel hub, well it looked new, it was painted silver, a then put everything together under my watchful eye, and he did a very good job and when it was finished suggest we go for a test drive and he would drive behind to watch to make sure the wheel was performing correct, which we did, he gave the signal that everything was working fine.
He then indicated he needed the money, and I indicated I want of the old wheel hub and bearing, and he said it was no good they were Kaput, and I said I still needed them for Fiat. Now all this was done with my zero Turkish and his Zero English, but I did have a small translator which managed to translate words like old and now, and it boiled down to the fact that the old wheel hub had been thrown out and was no longer available but he should be given €100, which was very little money, he said, and I indicated nothing could happen until I got the old wheel hub, he almost cried, said it was very little money, but in the end drove away with nothing.
Now what actually happened, I believe that the wheel was loose at the hub, and that the adequate repair was to tighten up the nut in that would have taken out any wobble in the wheel, so he made his money by driving around looking to tourist cars that had a wobbly wheel, doing the operation on them, and of course because they were wobbly they would be running hot, dripping oil, so all he had to do was to remove the wheel hub, take the wheel hub away and paint it, assemble it and claim €100, certainly beats working, and if he gets a wise guy, he just walks away.
So after that excitement we drove on towards Izmir, and I'm looking for the Turkish mafia to put a sidewinder through the Carthago Chic T47 or to slash our tires while were at some lights, but so far nothing has happened, were heading towards the town of Çesme but with over 3 1/2 million people in Izmir it soon became obvious that they had spread out towards this peaceful seaside resort with some beautiful castles, so we replanned our next destination towards Seferihisar and found a Road that went down to the beach where we have settled and for the night.
We saw the Sunset, we were all where of all the strange people on the beach, so at 8:45 p.m. we lifted the anchor and sailed on down the road for about a kilometre where we saw two motorhomes parked on the beach and so we joined them.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
This morning we headed off towards Ephesus, which we found very easy, found a good car park, and started heading off into the old city when we were greeted by another carpet finder who offered to take us to the top entrance where all we had to do then was to walk down to where our Carthago Chic 47 was parked at would be a lot easier than walking up and then back.
Of course there was a catch, all we had to was to visit their educational facility (they called it), I called it sales room, they did have a few girls working on the looms for the tourists and they did have a girl unwinding the silk bobbins, or I should say cocoons, evidently there is about a kilometre of silk they can be recovered from a cocoon, so we were shown how that happened, it was very good because Luda managed to get some photographs of all of these events.
And then it was in to the sales room, where we were shown a wide range of carpets starting off at $US2000, which I told him was way out of my price range, and indicated I be very hard pushed to spend $NZ1000, but of course that did not faze him, and of course we did see one we quite liked, and the keyword the was “quite” so they start working on that had produced a carpet for $NZ950 which by the time we got on the bus to go to Ephesus was down to $NZ700 including freight New Zealand, with the offer of a lower price yet. They bought the carpet in question out and laid it on the driveway for us to look at! We got on the bus.
Of course, I analysed the sale afterwards, he did not give us a business card, so we could not contact him, he did not get our name and address, so he could not contact us, and they spent all that time and effort and eventually let us walk out the door, of course they may have discovered that if a person walks they never come back!
So was onto the old city, past all the vendor's trying to sell us sunhats and guidebooks, and we joined the other thousands from the tour ships and walked past guides talking and almost every language, we of course noticed the English and the Russian!
So it was a good move going to the top of the hill and walking down through the city to our parked Carthago Chic T47, particularly with the hot Sun, and we are pleased to get into the Carthago Chic 47 and turned the year conditioner on. (We saw on the Internet this evening Christchurch was -3°C)
Our next destination was Pamukkale so we drove to the closest city off Denizli stopping on the way to buy some fruit roadside vendor, we got some quinces, and tomatoes then later visited a supermarket, something which we have not found very easy, there seems to be a total lack of large grocery supermarkets that we are used to and the rest of Europe and Eastern Europe.
Once we had done our shopping we programmed our GPS to a campsite at Pamukkale, and the GPS it said, that was easy, only 16 km, turn left here, and we followed the instructions, and each time we turned the Road got worse and worse, as we passed through the little villages everybody waved to us, probably wondering where we were going, by the time it got onto a dirt road, and we saw a large truck coming towards us filled with hay, we found a spot to let that pass, and that did not deter us, so we kept on seeing just how bad the Road could get, and whilst I sort of enjoy these roads, Luda starts becoming a nervous wreck, and claims the weight just falls off her, but eventually the Road became so bad we could not proceed, so I backed up a little bit, found a spot we could turn round, and went back over the Road that if we had got caught in a thunderstorm like we have twice on this trip, we would still be on the Road, up to our axles in mud, of course everybody waved at us on our way back, probably they don't get much excitement in this part of Turkey.
So we drove back to the main Road and our starting point, found a that the shopping centre with an ATM and replenished our Turkish lira, reprogrammed the GPS with a via point, and again faithfully followed the instructions. Of course the via point was on a Road going the wrong direction, so we learnt a lesson there, and overcome that by doing a couple of turns, and then we're on the correct Road, almost a motorway, to our destination.
We had fed into the GPS the coordinates’ and had not made a note of the name of the motor camp, so the GPS took us to the middle of the town and we had several options of possible destination, and then the motor camp touts on motorscooters started to appear wanting us to go to their motor camp, and I wanted to get to a quiet spot to check out the computer to find out the name of the motor camp, I almost had to run the motor scooter guys over to achieve this simple task, and the second tout was most persistent, he wanted me to listen to him and follow his advice and I basically told him to see taxidermist and a get out my way before I ran him over, and headed back to the GPS coordinates’ and now knowing the name of the campground was able to turn into the driveway that both of the touts had wanting me to go to. It turns out the second tout was the son of the campground owner, so what!
It is a hotel with a small flat area for camping, they claim room for eight, but they would be pretty well packed, we are within five minutes walking distance of Pamukkale so it is a good location and has WiFi, a nice pool, nice restaurant, nice people, so what more can we ask?