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Day 324 – Hometown

First thing you see in the morning

First thing you see in the morning

Our stay in Sommerach was lovely and filled with great food. Breakfast with fresh buns and good coffee gave us an excuse to hang around, spending some more time with family.

At noon, we had to go though…another 180km to Frankfurt. Just a short ride but an important one. Finishing the trip. Throughout most of the ride, our mood was pretty triumphant. Close to Frankfurt, we decided to take a detour so that we’ll come in on the A5 which would give us a view of the skyline. Shortly before we could actually see it, the mood turned sombre. We started to realize that these are the last kilometers of our trip. We had actually done it. We were still sitting on the same bike which had left Clifton Terrace in Wellington all those months ago.

Frankfurt, eh?

Frankfurt, eh?

When Frankfurt came into view, I started crying. The mix of emotions was just too much: Happy that we had made it, sad that it was over, proud to have made it, happy to be home, missing Wellington like crazy. Just too freaking much. Also, this way I ended the journey the same way as it began: in tears. I’ve come full circle, haven’t I?

Arriving in the suburb of Okriftel where we would stay with more family, we went on a last little detour to the place where we had bought Rocinante. Unfortunately, no one who has anything to do with bikes was around. So we left again for the last couple of meters to our temporary home.

Arrived at Flo's family's place. Frankfurt needs to be added immediately

Arrived at Flo’s family’s place. Frankfurt needs to be added immediately

Just to be stopped again when we turned into the road where Flo’s family lives. An unconscious figure lay on the footpath next to a bicycle. A man and a woman were standing at the accident site, too, but it must have happened only moments before. Flo stopped and while the woman told us that she already called the ambulance, we could still offer our first aid kit as no one else seemed to have one. There was a lot of blood from a wound on her head. One of the helpers had just started cleaning the wounds and her face when she regained conscience and the ambulance arrived. Having witnessed nothing and being already the third persons to help, we cleared the road and left to finally arrive at our destination just down the road.

We’re home now. In one of our homes.

Complete trip with important city dates

Complete trip with important city dates

 

Day 323 – Lucky peeps

Moment of truth...radiator all fixed up to be welded

Moment of truth…radiator all fixed up to be welded

Overnight, it got cool and our tent was wet in the morning. Either it had rained in the night or much condensation happened. Packing a wet tent isn’t ideal but we didn’t have time to wait around: We had an appointment at 8 am deciding our fate.

We didn’t buy food last night so we didn’t have anything for breakfast. Hoping to find an open bakery, we drove to the mechanic’s place and were half an hour early. Enough time to look around the small town and find something to eat.

Success! This hole has been fixed

Success! This hole has been fixed

The mechanic opened up at 7.50 am and saw us right away. With a long prelude about the risks of welding aluminium, he began to work. The motorbike radiator has small and thin fins so the chance of melting metal accidentally and creating a new hole while closing up the old one is substantial. However, the mechanic managed to close up the visible hole without creating a new one. So much relief. It is hard to tell you just how much relief we felt. To be completely certain that it is closed up now, the radiator was dunked into water and air was blasted through. We all watched out for tiny air bubbles but it was closed. Instead, air bubbles were released from a different location…we had a second hole.

This one was smaller and at the place where it’s fastened to the bike. It might have been created when taking out the radiator but it was still a problem now. Again, he fixed it and the next water bath test didn’t show any bubbles anymore. We could continue! *happy dance*

Happy dance! All packed up and ready to go!

Happy dance! All packed up and ready to go!

The workshop where the rest of Rocinante had spent the night opened at 9am so it was already open when we arrived. Needing help attaching the radiator back to the bike, staff promised us to make it happen between 11am and noon. Thus, we had a couple of hours to spend in Passau and started with a coffee and baked goods in another bakery. We passed some time at the river Danube but returned at 11 am to see how things were going. Rocinante was good to be clad in her plastic parts already! It took us another hour to fix up the bike, pack all our luggage back onto it and return the rental car. But at noon we were off!

Arrived at the restaurant from Flo's dad and Silvia. Achievement unlocked

Arrived at the restaurant from Flo’s dad and Silvia. Achievement unlocked

From here, we had another 300km to go to Würzburg and we did it in one go. No more stopping, no more messing around, just riding. Well, we kept an eye on the engine temperature just to be safe. The bike behaved all the way to Würzburg, or rather Sommerach, and both Flo’s dad and Silvia were over the moon to see us. We had a quick shower, a snack at the restaurant (so good! With fresh chanterelles!) and then watched the football game at their place.

Returning to the restaurant “Beim Zöpfleswirt” after the game, we had dinner together. Flo proved how much he had missed Silvia’s cooking by not only finishing his giant plate but his father’s as well. So lovely to see family again and be spoilt. 🙂

 

Day 322 – Breakdown

Rinse and repeat. That was the motto for today. Get up early, ride hard, push through all of Austria and arrive in Würzburg at Flo’s dad’s place in the evening.

Austria in a nutshell. Or so.

Austria in a nutshell. Or so.

From Budapest, Vienna is just 150km away so when we reached the Austrian capital, it was time for our first coffee stop. Not wanting to get into the city traffic, we had it at a motorway fuel station along with the obligatory Mozart chocolate. It had been raining since we crossed into Austria and it didn’t look like it would stop any time soon so I put on all of my rain gear now, Flo was still wearing his from yesterday’s rain.

It only got worse. All through Austria, it was pourring down with rain. While the suits kept us dry, our gloves were soaked through leading to cold hands and our boots were simply carry-on puddles. During a roadside lunch break at Burger King’s, we emptied our boots out, at least.

Trying to get warm and slightly dry

Trying to get warm and slightly dry

All this rain led to the probably most dangerous situation of the whole trip. It was gushing down, making it hard to see much and the Austrian traffic people deemed it appropriate to paint a giant white arrow for direction right into a corner. Only the right lane turned but the next lane over was also ornated with an arrow pointing straight ahead…in a corner. Rain and paint are the deadliest combination of things for a motorcyclist. The rear tire gave way and slide which brought the bike to wooble dangerously before the tire had grip again. Lucky us that we didn’t fall going 130 km/h on a motorway.

Damn, green cooling liquid all over the place

Damn, green cooling liquid all over the place

The border between Austria and Germany is practically non-existent. We were waved through without a glimpse into our passports and weren’t even able to stop at the “Welcome to the Federal Republic of Germany” sign as there was simply no place to stop. Still wanting to get a “back in Germany” photo, we stopped at the next rest area. As soon as we had crossed over to Germany, the rain had stopped. Still, we didn’t quite get our celebratory photo as Flo discovered bright green cooling liquid on Rocinante’s side; we had a leaking radiator.

Broken Rocinante and desperate Flo waiting for the towing truck

Broken Rocinante and desperate Flo waiting for the towing truck

The next fuel station was not too far away. They even sold liquid that is supposed to fix small leaks. All you have to do is pour it in and keep the motor going for 15 to 20 mins so that it can harden. As soon as the engine went on, cooling liquid was gushing all over the place. This motorbike was going nowhere until the radiator was fixed. Out of money and out of time, this would mean the end of our trip. No riding into Frankfurt, celebrating our achievement. What a bitter disappointment. Flo was desperate.

Our bike does this way too often

Our bike does this way too often

So first, we called the ADAC. There was nothing more we could try at the fuel station so we might as well hope that they send a mechanic. They didn’t. They sent a towing truck for a car. He was competent nonetheless and we had Rocinante securely on the truck in no time. The workshop we were towed to was awesome but they didn’t have good news for us: The replacement would only be here at the end of the week and it would cost us 500 euros. Impossible. We have neither the time nor the money for it. Completely deflated, we asked about a botch job. Due to German law, the workshop is unable to provide anything like that. You could sue the workshop and no one would take that risk. However, one of the staff people gave us the hint that we, ourselves, could ask someone to fuse the holes and put the radiator back in. This way, the workshop would be not liable and we have at least the chance to ride to Frankfurt. They were even able to point us to a mechanic for radiators of all sorts. Flo called him and he agreed to see us at 8am tomorrow morning to take a look at the radiator and try to fuse it.

Well, this is not how we thought our last night on the road would look like.

Well, this is not how we thought our last night on the road would look like.

Tomorrow morning. At least, there was hope again. All we had to do now was get a rental car as the mechanic was 25km away from Passau. Oh, and a place to spend the night which wouldn’t cost 50 Euros. We checked everything online but 50 euros was the cheapest we could find. So we concentrated on finding a rental car and got lucky. There was a special offer: 33 euros for one day and 300km. If everything else failed, we would sleep in the car. As Passau turned out to be too expensive for us, we started driving towards the mechanic. The GPS showed a camp ground on the way and maybe it would be less than 50 euros.

The camp ground turned out to be amazing. 12 euros for a night for two people; exactly what we needed for one night. Super-duper tired, we put up the tent one last time. Tomorrow would tell us if we can arrive in Frankfurt on two wheels or if we have to resort to four wheels instead.

Day 321 – Further north, stats 112 Turkey

We got up early today when the alarm clock went off. Breakfast in the hostel was quick and easy which can also be said for packing the bike. Soon we were on the road.

After 60km, we crossed over into Serbia. The crossing itself was no problem at all but for about 100km, the motoway was a one lane road without much chance of overtaking. All in all, Serbia seemed to be poorer than Bulgaria. It took us hours but we crossed all of Serbia. Crossing into Hungary was just a look into our passports and a wave with a hand…we didn’t even get stamps anymore. Since we had made such good progress, we decided to go for the Iron butt achievement and push on to Budapest. 850km in one day is a new high score for us.

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Country data #12: Turkey

Full screen version of the map

  • 4949 km in total (4854km of GPS tracked)
  • 16 travel days, 25 days total
  • $20.82 Average cost per night (5x room, 19x camping and 1x invitation)
  • 261.32l of standard fuel for $ 614.58 (4.84 l / 100km)
  • ~$24.99 for food eating half the time, two invitations
  • ~$2,400 in total.

All $ values are converted to NZD.

Day 320 – Homewards

And thus, the travelling part of this journey was over. Istanbul had been the last point for a long while, we then extended it to “after we’ve seen Gallipoli” but now, no matter how you looked at it, the travelling through Turkey was over. From this point onward, we’ll ride homewards.

On the last stretch to the border, Turkey was quite flat

On the last stretch to the border, Turkey was quite flat

Today, leaving Turkey and getting to Sofia was a “must”. We packed up early but still, we weren’t on the road as early as we’d liked. It was probably 10am already. Getting to the border between Turkey and Bulgaria didn’t take long. However, we got the first fine of the whole trip. Riding towards the border on a long straight road, we went at a 102kmh when the speed limit was 90kmh. Yes, we did speed…it was annoying anyway. There were only a few cars on the road and every single one of them was waved to the side of the road to receive their fines. It turns out that it is a common thing for countries in the EU to do as well. From now on, we saw police fining speeding before every border but we had learnt our lesson. Turkey remained the only country where we got a fine.

Last picture on the Turkish side. Bulgaria, here we come!

Last picture on the Turkish side. Bulgaria, here we come!

Spending all our coins in the town before the border, we were happy with the progress we made. Crossing the border before lunch time meant that we’d probably make it past Sofia today to camp near the border to Serbia. Standing in line, we got our passports stamped without an issue. Asking for the customs office, we got to the right place and they checked that our papers are in order and it’s the right bike. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. We had to wait for over an hour, closer to 1 1/2 hours before we could leave. When we crossed from Iran into Turkey, the staff put our information into the system incorrectly. So now, the computer protested and wouldn’t let them finish the process. Instead of copying all our documents, stamping us out and letting us go, they kept us waiting until the staff at the other border had corrected their mistake so they could finish their internal process. It had nothing to do with us or our paperwork and it was annoying as hell.

Having lost so much time rather unexpectedly, we were dreading the Bulgarian side. It is the entrance into the EU so we expected strict controls. However, all we had to do was ride through a spray of disinfectant (what?), declare if we had any cigarettes or alcohol and were sent on our way. Easy as. And so we entered into the European Union after four years away (not counting our single visit over Christmas).

Entering the EU, we noticed another step up in wealth

Entering the EU, we noticed another step up in wealth

From here, everything went smoothly. The motorway in Bulgaria is in a great condition, there are fuel stations and rest areas around and we made good progress again. It was unbelievably hot though. One of the things that struck both Flo ad me while riding north was how well off Bulgaria is compared to other countries we have been to. In Germany, Bulgaria is seen as one of those cheap countries you can go to for holidays but compared to most of the world, everybody is well off here. It was even a step up from Turkey. Europe, and the European Union especially, is a rich place and full of privilege; too often it is not really seen as such.

The corner of Sofia that we stayed in had lots of little places catering to our taste

The corner of Sofia that we stayed in had lots of little places catering to our taste

With the motorway under our wheels, we decided to push to Sofia despite being so late. We booked an excellent hostel online and with the place where we would sleep tonight determined, we set towards it. At around 6pm, we arrived at Moreto & Cafe which turned out to be incredibly lovely. After a quick shower, we walked around the block in search of food and found this corner of Sofia quite nice and interesting. It’s a pity that we don’t have the time and money to stay and explore but it’ll have to wait for another time.

The hostel organized a boardgaming evening that night and I ended up talking to people and having two cupcakes while poor Flo blogged. Then, we were too tired to participate and went straight to bed.

Day 318 – Istanbul the second

Our second, and last, full day in Istanbul. Flo postponed his interview for various reasons so I could relax a bit. Trying to be back for the interview without any time for real preparations was weighing down on my enjoyment of the city.

Breakfast in our hostel was delicious again. This time, cookies and tiny slices of cake were added to the buffet which gives a great range of chocolate spread, honey, jam, two different kinds of cheese, sausage, fresh cucumber and tomato, olives and hard boiled eggs.

in the inner courtyard

in the inner courtyard

Our first visit was to the Blue Mosque. I prepared to wear hijab so I took Lina’s gifts with me to cover up as close to the mosque as possible…it was that hot already. Surprisingly, tourists are allowed to visit the mosque for free, outside prayer times. The tilework inside is pretty and it’s well worth your time but in comparison, some of the ones in Iran were even more beautiful. We shared the floor with many, mostly Asian, tourists. All of them had to cover up more and were wearing borrowed blue skirts and long cloths around head and arms. Even the men who came in shorts had to resort to blue skirts to be allowed in.

one of the 3000+ Mosques in Istanbul

one of the 3000+ Mosques in Istanbul

From here, we walked through a large part of the old town to get to the ferry terminal. Cruise tours are offered for all sorts of distances and times but most seem to be at least 4 hours, which is sooooo long. One company offers Bosporus tours which literally take you up the river for the distance of two bridges and then back down again. For our level of enthusiasm for a boat cruise that was perfect. All in all it took 90 minutes, leaving the afternoon free for other things.

I enjoyed our time on the boat, looking at Istanbul from the water. Flo decided to take an audio guide so I also got some historic tidbits about the older buildings we passed.

Variety of lamps

Variety of lamps

Once back on land, we walked through the Great Bazaar. Spices, dates and every other food imaginable are on offer alongside golden jewelry, carpets and many, many çay cups. Having kind of skipped lunch, I ate baked bits on the way and Flo had the traditional spicy kebab for the last time.

Truly tired from a full day out and about, we relaxed in our room (and blogged) until dinner time. Then, we tried another little eatery that we’ve seen around, close to our hotel, which looked like a place for us: Arch Bistro. A tiny restaurant in an ancient Byzantine arch, nowadays about two meters underground so it has a wine cellar feeling. Slow cooked food and organic olive oil was right up our alley. Completely satisfied, we stayed up till midnight to watch a frustrating football game which ended with a 0:0.

Day 316 – Bridge between two continents

Rain. That thing. The slight annoyance that you forget about after camping in sunshine for a week. Well, this morning, it was raining. It slowed down our daily morning routine and it dampened our mood. Packing a wet tent is also not fun. Enough whining, we got on the road and today, we’d make it to Istanbul. 🙂

stupid toll system, still not working!

stupid toll system, still not working!

The GPS routed us on a giant 6 lane motorway. Flo, scrolling ahead, said there seems to be a ferry which will shorten the trip considerably. However, the next signs told us that Istanbul is only 90km away and that there will be a bridge. That sounds great! Yeah, nah. As with the museum in Troy, people got ahead of themselves. The motorway led right to the sea…but the bridge isn’t finished yet. From this point, Istanbul was still 120km away and we had to circumnavigate all of the Sea of Marmara. To make things worse the toll road ended with a secured gate this time and instead of waving your paywave card, they wanted cash from you. We still have about 30 Turkish lira on the card which we will probably never use up so paying cash now felt like we had to pay twice. Flo was not amused, to say the least.

Time to move on. Rocinate still looks like a demo bike ;)

Time to move on. Rocinate still looks like a demo bike 😉

Didn’t matter, we were still on track for Istanbul. Our first stop was the Touratech Türkiye shop, just for a visit. As with almost all Touratech shops we have been in, it was lovely. The staff is good for a chat, we got free tea and coffee and we looked at what’s new. We didn’t need anything but I didn’t say no to the visor cleaners we were offered…insect goo is one of the constants of our trip.

Istanbul is big. The GPS calculated another 28km from the shop to our hotel. And there is a lot of traffic, especially because we wanted to use one of the two bridges over the Bosporus. Driving from the Asian continent over a bridge onto the European continent was our idea of ending the trip. Of course, we will have a look around the city for a couple of days but afterwards, it’s pretty much straight to Frankfurt. Europe will have to wait for another journey. With those thoughts in mind, the crossing was actually quite emotional. It took us almost 11 months to get here.

The last meters in Asia!

The last meters in Asia!

Our one room apartment, once we found it, turned out to be exactly what we’d hoped for. Hotels in Istanbul seem very cheap at the moment and the online offers are very good. We got our room for three nights for 62€ including breakfast. And it’s in the center of the city.

But riding through rain and traffic, skipping lunch and being emotional about this last part of our journey had left us exhausted. We had an early dinner and otherwise enjoyed the comforts of our room.

Day 314 – Pergamon, for real

Ruins of the big Egyptian temple

Ruins of the big Egyptian temple

This morning, we were ready for another ancient site. Leaving the tent up for now, we started early and rode to the Red Hall in town. These are the remains of a giant temple to the Egyptian gods Serapis and Isis. It is so big, in fact, that it hasn’t been converted into church, instead a church was built inside the temple.

When we arrived, after a pleasant ride through a picturesque village, no one else was around. Approaching, the big scaffold around many of the walls were visible. Another site being renovated at the moment. Good for it, bad for us. Since it also costs an entrance fee, we took a look from the outside and left again for the acropolis.

There is a cable car going up to the acropolis, although it didn’t seem to run this morning. All the cabin were hanging motionless on the cables. So we rode Rocinante up the steep street to the entrance. Again, except for the staff of a café, a souvenir shop and the ticket booth, no one was around. By now it was 9am and the site was definitely open. Flo decided on an audio guide this time and didn’t regret it: Different information than on the signs and all in British English.

Nice look-out point

Nice look-out point

We followed the audio tour for the most part. Starting with a walk past the remains of palaces with a great view of the valley below, we came to the barracks and the arsenal. Here, the remains of an aqueduct could be seen in the valley. It is very impressive; they used pressure to get the water from the mountains up into the hill of the acropolis. Around the bend of the hill, we came past the library which is just a faint outline of the foundation now to the Temple of Trajan.

The biggest reassembled part of the temple

The biggest reassembled part of the temple

The Temple of Trajan is partly reassembled. The work had been done by Germans and there is a lot of documentation around about how they worked, how the deduced what it must have looked like and how they secured the site in case of another earthquake. It is art historian porn, really. Luckily, Flo was also interested in it. Two things made the re-imagining difficult: First, Byzantines had used and repaired the site, using marble pieces randomly in brick walls and second, locals burnt marble pieces lying around to get chalk. That seems unimaginable now but, I guess, marble ruins were useless at that time.

Found built into a Byzantine wall

Found built into a Byzantine wall

We spent quite some time here, reading and looking at things. When we moved on, the path leads you down below the platform with the temple on it and you realize for the first time that the area you’ve been standing on is actually artificial. There are vaulted tunnels underneath trying to extend a level area out from the hill slope. Here, all of the metal links have been taken out of the walls… another case of ‘this is more useful than an old wall’. You can’t enter the vaulted section but a row of arch leads you along them.

The next highlight is the Hellenistic theatre carved into the hill side. It is incredibly steep but must have been awe-inspiring at any performance. The Temple of Dionysus is off to one side but we didn’t feel like going down all those steps in the sun just to have to climb them back up again.

The theater with the Temple of Dionysus at the bottom

The theater with the Temple of Dionysus at the bottom

The Altar of Zeus is not a lot more than rubble with trees on it as most of it is in Berlin now. The Ottomans made very generous deals with the German archaeologists, allowing them to take it to Germany.

At 11am, we were ruin-ed out. It was also time to call my mum so we hurried back to the camp ground. Flo prepared lunch while I called and afterwards, we packed up. Our next destination was Troy. Very tired again, we weren’t sure if we would make it today. Once on the road though, we pushed through.

The camp ground was about 700 meters from the archaeological site which would give us an early start tomorrow. For today, we showered, made dinner and wound down before cheering for the German football team. The game ended at midnight and we dropped into be like dead.

Day 313 – Le tired

impressive flag collections these nice Aussies had there

impressive flag collections these nice Aussies had there

We had long days lately with half a day of riding and then visiting sites afterwards. Today was planned as exactly such a day: Ride to Pergamon, visit the ruins, camp. The plan, as always, is only correct until it has the first encounter with reality. We slept in a little as both of us are really tired. Flo was out and about last evening and I read until he was back… rather late for our terms. After breakfast, we started packing up. When I came back from brushing my teeth, Flo was talking to our neighbours in the big yellow truck.

Cheryl and Guy turned out to be lovely people. We kept them from cycling to the ruins of Ephesus for a while but it was great to talk to overlanders again. One of the cute and curious things we have in common is that our vehicles are yellow… and rather big for their types. Thus, bumblebee is a logical thing to call such a vehicle. 🙂

it is huge!

it is huge!

Starting after 11am, we made it to Izmir just in time for lunch. From riding through parts of it, Izmir might be a city for us. There are cafés and eateries at every corner and it has a relaxed vibe. Kumpir, baked potatoes stuffed with fillings, were recommended by the Lonely Planet. Ordering one of them for each of us, we faced the challenge of finishing the huge portions. We would have loved to explore Izmir further, but running out of money and of time, now is not the time for it. Might be a good city to visit for a short holiday in the future.

From here, we reached Pergamon in one go. The camp ground looked amazing: Grassy area with trees for shade, a pavilion, power plugs all around and a pool. Again, however, we were the only ones staying here. So we put up our tent in the most awesome place, next to the pavilion which we claimed. This would be the time to get ready for visiting ruins. We just couldn’t. Maybe the camp ground was too awesome or we are just too tired… we decided to have the afternoon off and visit the ruins tomorrow.

It felt like a short holiday from traveling. Sitting in the shade, watching some football, having ice cream. I had a nap during the second half, Flo had a nap right after the game. The rest of the day went by with me blogging and then great dinner with fresh bread and mezze. Tomorrow, Pergamon, I promise.

Day 311 – Pamukkale

On the last stretch of coastal road

On the last stretch of coastal road

Breakfast right at the ocean was still nice even after having had it three times in a row. Pamukkale was the destination for today; it is one of the top experiences in Turkey according to the Lonely Planet. It wouldn’t be a long day on the bike as it is only 200km away from Kaş. So we packed up and left. Flo grumbled about the “service” of the camp ground which meant we couldn’t take the bike to the tent. Instead, all our stuff was transported on a tiny pick-up to the bike…and then we had to strap everything to the bike for the next 15 minutes, in the sun.

Beautiful but rather chilly place

Beautiful but rather chilly place

We followed the Mediterranean Sea for another 100km before turning inwards to get to Pamukkale. As soon as we started to go up into the mountains, it got much cooler again. Flo actually started to feel cold with the compañeros letting the wind through. For lunch, we decided on a picnic once more and all we needed was some bread which was easily found. Then, we turned off the road at a promising looking dirt track, went up a hill and had a great spot with a view. Because of the wind, we both felt like having a nice cup of tea. A bit of organizing later, the cooker was out of the pannier and we got to have a great break.

About an hour later, we were in Denizli, the big town before Pamukkale. The couple from twentyonesteps.net had recommended a camp ground so we knew where we were going. Buying groceries for dinner was all that was left to do. I slightly overdid it when I went into a bakery for bread and left a while later again with baklava and bread. Well, at some point we will not get baklava anymore and that time is approaching fast.

A geese pond in front of Pamukkale

A geese pond in front of Pamukkale

The camp ground was nothing special except that you are right at the terraces of the Pamukkale sight. So even from our tent, we could look onto the white mass on the hillside. However, both of us were so tired that we needed two hours just for relaxing before we thought about anything else again. Starting, we first went to the Nature Park below the hillside. It looked like the entrance might be in there and you got to play around a bit. Looked like fun and it was. 🙂

Entering the real site, we nearly turned around. 35 lira per person is the most we have paid for an “attraction” in Turkey. Flo decided that we’d still do it and I am glad that we did but it hurt our budget. Also, all the tickets had been adorned with “35 lira” stickers and when you looked underneath it said “25”. *hmpf*

More still to go

More still to go

Pamukkale. From a distance, it just looks like a blindingly white hill. The path and the people on it are visible but the beauty lies in the details. The whole hill has or has had water flowing down over it, depositing calcite on every surface. The so-called terrace walk lets you walk up. As soon as you hit the calcite, you have to go barefoot as shoes would destroy the intricate patterns that the flowing water has carved into the surfaces. Some water is still flowing down the hillside and additional pools have been created so getting wet feet is expected. And much fun. I really enjoyed the look and feel of the calcite. Where it is in standing water, it is slippery and soft. With just a little stream of water flowing over it, it is rock solid. Flo claimed that we will have baby-soft feet once we’re back down.

Ancient theater of Hierapolis

Ancient theater of Hierapolis

On top of the hill are the ruins of Hierapolis. We tried to see some of them but first, the museum had an extra entry fee of 5 lira per person and second, the ancient pools had an entry fee of 32 lira per person. Annoyed about not being properly informed at the gates on the base of the hill, we skipped all of it and made our way back down again over the terraces. Still great fun…even the second time around. 🙂 Back on the camp ground, the usual evening routine set in and we were both incredibly tired from a long day.