Saturday, 18 June 2016

Sat 18 Jun 2016. Kargicak to Anamur to Goreme

Sat 18 Jun 2016. Kargicak to Anamur to Goreme
Hot and still, a low energy start to day, GirlRob sharing toilet and basin with overgrown Alsatian dog who refused to wake up and leave his cool tiles. Peacock dancing and displaying feathers to hen with no interest, so tried it on with “boss cocky” rooster who firmly put him in his place. No sign of owner by 8.30am to resolve theories, so departed east towards Mamure Calesi 
this morning's destination, a medieval castle originally designed to protect against pirates, then after several rebuilds, partially used as a caravansarai. 

Mountainous roads today, terraced crops especially bananas. Heaps of hothouses - really hot! Don't know how anyone could work inside them. Laden trucks labouring up hills. Stall "restaurants" perched precariously on precipices and corners, overlooking brilliant sparking blue Mediterranean. Finally down other side at Anapur, almost whole valley covered in hothouses, tomatoes (have been so fresh, juicy, tasty), strawberries, and bananas from what we could see.

Ah, the medieval castle at Anapur out on its rocky point is currently under reconstruction, so no entry. Onwards to Tarsus then. 

Passed Softa Castle ruins on hill. Hot blustery wind picked up from inland, blowing waves OUT to sea, no cool in it at all. Air conditioner working poorly, windows down most of time, wind whipping GirlRob’s hair (and mind!) into a frenzy. Pulled up by traffic police (first time), but when GirlRob said hello in English he passed his hand across his mouth several times and nodded. We didn't know if that meant "can't speak to woman with face uncovered" or "no English, you can go". Either way we waved a hasty goodbye and departed. 

Road steep again immediately - 236kms to Tarsus. BoyRob has been watching temp gauge, Ozzie is not liking mountain grades, the melting bitumen, or the ambient temperature - all exacerbated when caught behind trucks and buses crawling uphill. Some of drop-offs must be 300mts straight down. Extensive bridge and tunnel works going on, this exciting coast-hugging road will eventually be a thing of the past. BoyRob thinks this road tops Great Ocean Road in Australia, or Big Sur in USA for windy-ness and steepness bordering the ocean. Can see Cyprus across sea, BoyRob telling story of his father as policeman considering a post when there was a no mans land to guard between Greek and Turkish Cyprus. Perspex hothouses on rocky terracing all standing empty, crops must be finished, too hot for more plants. Had planned to stop and look at Liman Castle on point opposite Bogsak Islet, but it is now firmly behind rows of gleaming barbed wire, obviously taken over by the military. There's also a brand new breakwater and long jetty in place for naval vessels.

Stopped to make lunch on hill near cemetery in shade of pine trees, overlooking Corycus Castle occupying whole island in Bay. Enjoyed slight breeze whilst eating our tomato, cheese and ham sandwich. Shared a juicy peach. Tempted to stay and have a snooze but the driver wanted to push on today; BoyRob doesn't like the idea of how close we are to Syrian border and particularly Aleppo, less than 300kms by road from our turn-north point, Tarsus.

Drove through Kizkalesi, "antique town", built on ruins, aqueduct and theatre still recognisable. Once turned north we kept a lookout for possible camping spots, but no breaks in highway except for towns or service stations, already filling with truckers (they must be used to sleeping anywhere, we would have fried in the sun mid-afternoon on that sizzling tarmac). BoyRob decided to travel into the early evening and push on to Goreme where we knew they had campgrounds. Country really flattened out from Pozanti to Nigde. We were diverted by bitumen layers through the old city and its cobblestone streets, and gasped to suddenly have the plateau in front of us gape open in a fairyground of lights - we had reached the fairy chimneys and underground city. 

We were drawn into the first campground - Panorama, where in spite of its being 8pm the owner made us welcome with a Turkish pizza and "gas" water. He said Ramadan was strictly no food or water for Muslims between 3.20am and 8.50pm, which he found very difficult back in 2013 when they suffered 45⁰ heat.

Disaster struck on our return to Ozzie - we found that during the day we had lost the bedroom window pane on the driver’s side. GirlRob had to plead sleep deprivation from the events of the night before - she conceded she must not have locked that window properly before the day's drive, and it had worked its way free, slid off the hinge and out of the struts. (When we thought about it there was a car full of young people waving and pointing to Ozzie that morning way back on the Turkish Riviera…) Nothing can be done now but order a replacement - we think Dometic is made in Australia, perhaps with outlets in Europe. Although the security screen, insect mesh and blind are intact, the opening will now need to be taped up against dust. Bugger! Double Bugger!!

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