At this moment we are heading towards Nemrut National Parc. The first long-distance trip with 900 km. Yesterday we did already 540 km and today we will do the rest. We usually don’t plan these long trips but due to the fact we had to go back to Ankara for our visa’s, we did a detour to Cappadocia. All for the good purpose of having a visa of IRAN! Yahoo!! We are allowed to enter the country
Already a month has past and we’re trying to keep up with the writing, sorry for the delay but we’re just to busy enjoying the world 😉 We had a fantastic time with our family and staid in the area of Borovets, Bulgaria. We did a couple of walks, enjoyed each other company and of course went to the 7 lakes and did a great hike. After saying good-bye we went straight away to the border of Turkey. Funny enough every time we cross a border it feels the trip is “ really” starting.
Turkey for us is the country of the parking lots (and crazy drivers). We are sleeping a lot on secured parking lots. Half of the population of Turkey is doing the same by the way. In Istanbul the parking lot had many purposes like being a club, hang out, drivers license practise, secret meeting spot etc. We never feel unsafe but we found out that sleeping is soooooo 2018. Istanbul is enormous but much fun. If you didn’t decide on your city trip this year, GO TO ISTANBUL 😉 What a city….. chaotic with so many different faces. We loved every bit of it. Normally we don’t like big cities that much when we are travelling but Istanbul was great. We stayed for 4 days to explore and have seen only 25% of the city. After the crowded city, we thought of having some nice and slow time on the Black Sea. Unfortunately, it still was holiday, weekend and also a national day off in Turkey…… we ended up on the busiest parking lot of Amasra. The sea was nice but too many people!. We drove to Sanfranbolu and Stephen went to a real Turkish hammam. Clean but extremly red he came back. Morgan had two “ playing days” where she was playing with everything and anything. All her toys had to come out and she made up some brilliant shows for us. She is a great entertainer and like she says herself, “ she is a clown”
In Ankara we just had 1 goal, getting the visa of Iran. We learned that embassies are special places. You just sit and wait….. after 2 hours of waiting we could request our visa. The guy behind the desk asked us if we had some prints but we missed our e-visa we already applied for. We were sent to another guy and had to wait 1,5 hours before he could help us. He printed some documents and we went back to the embassy. After another 1,5 hour we were able to apply for the visa. They told us the visa was ready after 1 week… shoot 1 week…. We were expecting 1 day. We decided to go to Cappadocie National Parc and drive back to Ankara the week after. When we came back after 1 week we had good faith the pick up wouldn’t take that long…. Wrong assumption. We arrived early and just had to wait for 10 minutes (the start was great). The week before we checked how the payment of the visa would go but the guy said “ come back when you pick up your visa”. We ended up going back to a bank. Wait, get money, back into the embassy and wait, wait, wait…. After 4 hours we got our visa. Finaly! In Iran, we are not able to get any money from the ATM. So after going into several banks, money exchange offices and western union ( including a lot of waiting) we found out we just have to collect the money we need in Turkish Lira, change this into Dollars and then exchange the Dollars into Iranian money. And that’s the easiest way….After spending the whole day waiting we went back to our parking lot and decided to stay for the night and drive in 2 days to Nemrut.
In the week we had to wait we went to Cappadocia National Parc. A walhalla of tourism but worth every penny. What an amazing place. For the first time in weeks, we were on a campground. We thought of getting back some lost hours of sleep but with all the beautiful sunrises and balloon flights it did not quite work out. We first decided to not do a balloon flight because it’s just too expensive but after a conversation with one of the balloon owners (thanks to Stephen who talks to everybody, always) we got an offer we couldn’t refuse. The fact you’re going up with 150 balloons is just the coolest thing ever. The area is also really great for walks and even with Morgan, we walk 2 days for at least 15 km.. poor Morgan….. For the first time in months, we also had to wear long pants and jackets in the morning and evening. We normally wear them because we get eaten alive by mosquitoes but this was because of the temperature. It’s getting chilly. We liked the national Parc. Just try to get as far away of Göreme (the city which is in the national Parc) as possible. It’s packed with tourism and to much touristic shops.
The next coming weeks we will go to Mardin ( Syrian border), Lake Van and some National Parks. We will have to make another long drive to Trabzon ( 700 KM). Due to the mountains and because Ella (our camper) doesn’t go above 100 Km per hour (we take it slow) it will take us at least 11 hours. In Trabzon, we hope to collect our Carnet de Passage. This is a little booklet we had to get through the ADAC (German ANWB) for all the Middle East, Australia and some Asian countries. This booklet makes sure you don’t leave or sell your car in these countries. We had to pay an enormous amount of money as a deposit to the ADAC. If we don’t have all the right stamps when we come back to Europe we don’t get any money back. So let the games begin for getting all the correct stamps.
With every step/ drive closer to the Middle East the driving of the other road users is getting worse. They told us Bulgaria was bad (we felt it was OK) but we feel that the Turkish drivers are mental. They just go, whenever they feel like it. In the big cities they have some decency towards tourists but for the rest they just don’t care. It’s just like being on our motorbikes again. Check, check double check. As long as we don’t get any accidents it’s good practice for India. Besides the driving the Turkeys people are fantastic. Every day we get invited for chai (tea) and everybody is willing to help whenever necessary. The more we drive to the east the more we also are being a tourist attraction ourselves. Not only Ella but also we (as dutch as we are). Large families are entering our camper and even the police is interested to have a look. We have so much fun!
We promise we will write more often and big kisses from us.