Leaving Kaya camping we headed to Uchisar to peruse two carpets that we had seen two days before. We told them that we would be back and to keep them aside. The downstairs room was like a bomb site when we arrived with renovations and all of the 3,000 odd carpets thrown in a heap. Of course the ones we wanted were nowhere to be seen so three of them set to work to move about half of the carpets before they found the ones we wanted. After all that they gave us a discount and
we set off with our bag of carpets. We chanced upon a market around the corner and we stocked up with very fresh fruit and vegetables. We bought more of the very plump and delicious cherries for 2 Turkish Lira a kilo – about a dollar!
The toll roads and highways were avoided as we made the longer trip via Eregli. Our map showed a caravanserai there and we set about asking a few people for directions in sign language and showing them the map. Everyone was very helpful and they all shook Maurice’s hand. After much toing and froing we abandoned the search because we could not find a parking spot and as we had about another seven hour’s drive that day we continued along the plains full of sunflowers, corn and other crops and towards the hills and valleys covered with many poplar trees. We went further up into the mountains towards Konya where many more factories and seas of appartments suddenly appeared. Konya was a city of over a million inhabitants. We drove further over higher mountains covered with pine forests to find the caravanserai that Maurice had read about. It had been restored but much of it dated from 1206. It was a very atmospheric place and we could imagine the caravans stopping there with their horses or camels for rest and supplies for their further journey on the silk road so many centuries ago.
Maurice found the Turkish drivers (apart from the tour coach drivers) to be polite and people in general were most helpful even if we couldn’t communicate verbally. Open and closed hand movements were very successful for traffic lights and holding
up fingers for how many sets we should drive through worked as well. We stopped in Beysehir for some supplies at a very neat little supermarket and the whole shopful of assistants combined their efforts to assist us. Most people asked us if we were
American and when we told them we were Australian they usually raised their eyebrows and were very enthusiastic towards us.
We must have passed at least fifteen roadside sellers of honey on the opposite side of the road and not one on our side so Maurice stopped and I ran across the road to get a large jar. The road down the mountains to the coast was quite steep in
places with a few hairpin bends but there was little traffic.
It was a long day, about 11hours by the time we got to Osay Camping at Kizilot near Manavgat on the coast but it was so much nicer taking the secondary but still good roads down to the coast. The cool evenings that we had had in Cappadocia were no
longer with nighttime temperatures of 22-24degrees and daytime up to 35degrees. We were glad that we had bought the extra of an air conditioner when we bought the van and luckily all the campsites so far had ample electrical ability to run it. Osay
camping was nestled next to one of the many huge hotel resort complexes along the south coast. There seemed to be many Russian and German tourists there and the shopkeepers in the local stalls and shops were more versed in German than English.
Our campsite was very quiet with only three other campers and had lovely open huts with tables, chairs and tablecloths where we could eat our meals if we wanted to. The two older men who ran the place had no English but while we sat there one of
them brought us some melon and tea and they wouldn’t take any payment. Two more lots of Australians from Queensland turned up the next day at the campsite.
Kizilot was about an hour from Antalya so we decided to take the van the next day instead of using public transport. Maurice made a slight error with the time so we were up at 5.30am instead of 6.30am. We parked the van in the enormous parking area of the Migros cinema complex and shopping centre and caught the bus into the centre of Antalya where we overlooked the old port full of fishing vessels.
There were only a few things of historical interest to see in Antalya which was just as well as the temperature got up to 43degrees but at least it was a dry heat. We found Hadrian’s Gate, the clock tower and the restored old town. That part of
town was very pretty but overrun with small hotels, restaurants and shops. The dogs and cats in town are tagged and fed by the local population and there was also a booth was manned by a Turk and his dog (who jumped in and walked around the
fountain to keep cool). He collected of 2euros in order to feed the cities homeless dogs and cats who all looked in very good condition.
Many people waiting for a bus helped us with the direction of the bus back to the shopping centre and after walking a couple of kilometres we finally boarded the bus and dived into the nicely airconditioned centre where we had lunch and cooled down.
We left about 3pm before rush hour started for the hour’s trip back to the campsite. Unfortunately a problem with our fridge had us emptying it and putting all the food from it and the freezer into one of the campsite’s fridges. It had cooled then to about 35degrees and there was a pleasant breeze blowing from the sea.
There were many very large hotel/resort complexes in the neighbourhood and one was right next door. Stangely it was directly in front of a cemetary and we thought it odd that such a place could be built there. All in the name of progress!
We went in there for a drink and they had great trouble finding change for us as it all works on a band around the wrist.
There were many of these very opulent or garish (depending what you liked) dotted all along the coast from Manavgat to Antalya. There were many shops selling mainly Turkish produced clothing and footwear and I happened on a nice red leather
jacket and sandals which could be made to measure in 24hours. It was unfortunately not the colour that was chosen by me when it turned up the following day so a Turkish “Arthur Daley” took us at 10pm to his main store ten minutes away to chose another
model. In the end I was happier with the second choice. Everyone was looking for a sale and bemoaning the fact that business was down 40 percent on the previous year.
We had made plans the following day to return to the shopping centre so we especially got up early so as to visit Side (pronounced Cday) on the way. The ruins there were fascinating as there was so many of the ancient buildings still partially standing and many columns were dotted along the road in the town. Apollo’s temple which had been rebuilt was in a beautiful location overlooking the water. The old town was full of shops, restaurants and cafes and was a bit too touristy for our liking so we had a coffee and headed towards Antalya again. The traffic lights on the highway were back to being two sets (flashing orange lights about 100metres from the actual traffic lights) and most on the main roads had a box with the number of seconds to wait until the lights changed. The only problem with the Turkish drivers was that they always made three lanes out of two lanes and two out of one so Maurice had to keep his wits about him all the time. We did see an accident on the way to Antalya. There were so many old cars as well as new on the road in Turkey which we had not encountered in Greece.
We got to the shopping centre at midday ready to have a nice lunch and found it closed and not to open until 2pm because of the end of Ramadan. It was a nice warm 38degrees by then and we took the road around the coast trying to find a picnic place to stop the van and have lunch. We tried three off ramps with no luck so settled on the side of the road next to a large resort and went on to Kumluca where everything bar a cafe and supermarket were open so we had a walk and a coffee and left town for Kas. The road meandered around the mountains and down to the sea where we followed the coast road or Turkish Riviera as it is called to Kas.
There had been very few people at any of the campsites we had visited in Turkey until we came to Kas (pronounced Cash).
We had sent the preferred campsite an email a few days before but when we arrived on the 17th July they said they were full.
Luckily the “Olympus MoCamp” a couple of kilometres out of town had space available and was in a prime position. We had just to cross the road to the beach where we could have free sun lounges and umbrellas and could order food or drinks from the
restaurant on site. The water was a wonderful temperature and so clear. We spent four nights here and three days swimming and mainly lazing by the beach. A bus right outside took us into town in seven minutes. There were thousands of people in town, mainly Turkish enjoying four days Eid Mubarak holiday (the end of Ramadan or Ramazan as they call it in Turkey). Apart from a German family we were the only non Turks at the campsite.
Kas was a very attractive town (quite touristy) with a peninsula and harbour and directly behind it was Meis as Kastellorizo was known in Turkey. Many of the Greek community in Perth come from this tiny Greek island which is only about a kilometre off the coast of Turkey. We found Turkey a very westernized country in general. The muslim presence was only felt by the calls to prayer in the morning and evenings and by some of the women in traditional dress with long sleeves or coats and headscarves. Otherwise we did not find it as conservative as we thought even in the inland towns. No one looks if you wear a sleeveless top and shorts and many of the local women dressed as they wanted to.
I wanted to have a Turkish breakfast so we went across the road to the camp’s restaurant. It was a variety of small dishes with savoury and sweet foods. Pekmez, a tahini and grape molasses mix and cheese cigars (cheese filled fried rolls), olives, tomato and cucumber and tasty caramelized mulberries. We walked in to see the town later. Many of the buildings had been restored with their covered alcove balconies but most shops were full of souvenirs and the town was crammed full of bars, cafes and restaurants. Men advertising boat day trips covered the small harbour. We caught the local bus escaped back to the campsite. After another relaxing day swimming and lazing we went back to one of the restaurants in town as our fridge had given up the ghost and we had to buy blocks of ice to keep what food we had in there cold.
Leaving Mocamp Kas on the 21st July we set off for Oludeniz via Tlos.. Tlos ruins date from the 4th Century BC. They cover a wide area below the mountains and we climbed around the ruins in the 34degree heat for a couple of hours and
stopped at a cafe there for cold apple tea and complimentary Turkish delight. I bought some homemade pommegranate sauce which the locals use mixed with garlic on fish and alone in salads. It was only another 30 odd kilometres to Fethiye which
was much more of a local town with good fruit and vegetable market and many cafes. There were many more “normal shops” selling all sorts of goods as well as the tourist market which we avoided. We found a parking spot near the marina and a
local who spoke good English (with a Midlands accent) helped us to source some ice for the fridge which we could not get fixed until we landed in Italy two weeks later. Our campsite “Sugar Beach club” was about 25minutes away and on an estuary. We met up with a Polish/German couple who we had met at a couple of campsites but they had to move on as that camp would not allow pets. It also had no drinking water or hot water showers so we decided to move on the next day.