Hello again just finished the latest blog and I'm straight onto another as I'm desperately playing catch up I have folk waiting for me so this may not be long but I will try and cram in a few things since the border with Turkey...
So bushcamp by the river near the border with Turkey finallyÂ led us into country number 10..well we thought it would only we were kept at the border for 6 hrs. It was very warm though so we all stripped down and played footie, aerobie and catch in the 'no mans land' areaÂ between Bulgaria and Turkey with missing the gym I loved it! Adjacent to the border was a fantastic mosqueÂ and with theÂ chants being sounded out to usÂ for prayers we were already liking theÂ feel of our first Muslim country. So several hours later we arrive in another capital Istanbul, awesome. We aslo met our new leader Steve, he joined us late as he had a few things in the UK to sort out so it was time to say farewell to Ian and hello to Steve, Steve is a dude, he's WelshÂ with a huge beard and has been overlanding since I was a child, there is very little he doesn't know about the world!Â (Tobe he reminds me of your pa).
So April 21st and it'sÂ Sat night inÂ Istanbul, our new playground for three days andÂ we felt like royalty in a hotel!! I shared with 3 other girls and some mildew but it was so nice not to pitch up the tents and shower well! With Anzac day around the corner the city wasÂ brimming with Aussies and Kiwi'sÂ we arrived early eving freshened up and went out for food the city was beautiful at night but after Bucharst I didn't chance taking my camera out with the knowledge I may have a few Efes beers..we ended upÂ in hostel land in a rooftop bar called Sultans something and I have never seen so many Aussies and Kiwis under one roof, I thought the Brits could drink but my god was I wrong!Â But if you can't beat then join them so we did and thankfully I have made good friends who got me home or rather back to the fawlty towers of Hotel Erdem!! My one memory is talking to a guy from Turkey with a mullet who was pretending to be from California (random!)Â It was a good night though and good to meet other overlanders many of which were on the Istanbul to Cairo route so they could do Anzac Day at Gallipoli, they couldn't believe it when we told then we were driving to Oz!Â (mind you I still can't comprehend it)
We spent the next two days sightseeing around the city in small groups there are 32 of us and we never go out as a group we've kind of split into little ones which change from day to day there are some folk I love to be with others not so much but thankfullyÂ as a whole we all get alongÂ although we all appreciate that we have a long way to goÂ and we have to get along...!!
My time is running out so I won't bore you with theÂ delights of Istanbul I will edit this blog when I have more time but it truly was beautiful, the blue mosque was amazingÂ and it was novel to catch a ferry across theÂ Bosphorus river and then be in Asia!Â Â Unfortunately my photos have uploaded in a random order so at the mo they are all over the place you should however be able to distinguish what's what after reading the blogs...let me know what you think..Â
Our first Muslim country was surreal. We were scorned in some places for not covering our arms and harassed in other parts by the turkish sleeze!Â a little tast of whats to come as we travel further east. OurÂ final whole day in the city was spent off the beaten track, we left the lonely liar (planet) in the hotel andÂ shopped and ateÂ with the locals, very rewarding. Our final morning the next day was spent at the Iranian embassy to obtain our visa's, we couldn't and Kirsty was told to return 3 days later to collect them. We were advised not to laugh inside and to cover up...
Our next stop wasÂ a bushcamp near Troy. Now we have finished transitting through europe we are spending more time in each country and althoughÂ the pace has slowed somewhatÂ weÂ still have the odd long drive. Troy was aÂ disappointment. A mock horse, minimal ruins and a guide who spent most of the time on his mobile! We did however bump into two other overland trucks and had a mini truck fest...we won in the bright orange beast!! (check the photos)Â
After Troy it was off to Gallipoli for Anzac day we arrived in the evening and with over 100 coaches parking up I was beginning to think it could be interesting. Â We camped by the beach infact on it and rose very early for the dawn service, thousands of Aussies and Kiwis had stayed awake all night in the arena to honour those lost in the first world war. It was very surreal walking through the arena actaully remined me of the Tsunami images I saw at the mortuaries asÂ they were so many still bodies lined up next to one another, mad. The service itself was very sombre butÂ I'm glad we wereÂ there.Â Â Â Â
I've just realised we did troy after Gallipoli but I'm sure it doesn't matter I'll edit this before I get itÂ published (I'm not big headed but the company publish blogs for a small fee!) I really am running out of time so I'll be brief after Anzac day at Gallipoli we travelledÂ to see the ruins of Ephesus before spending 2 nights at a fantastic campsite on the beach (photos with horse) near Selcuk.Â My group as on cook duty so atfer delicious may I add mediterranean chicken we went to a large Anzac party. It was 20 lira to get in so we assumed the drinks would be pricey so a few shots on the truck and the next thing I knew I was climbing the fence to get in little did we know there was a front entrance for free as they had stopped charging! The dj was awesome but by the timeÂ we decided to go they go and spoil it and put on a live rock band ummm. nevermind! After Selcuk weÂ travelled to Pamukkale amazing thermal spas see the pictures one of which I am helping a Turkish old lady paddle!Â I also bumped into 4 Aussies who shouted "there's that Policewoman"Â which is always a worry apparently I was chatting to them for about an hourÂ at that Sultan bar in Istanbul!! I apolgised for not recognising them and I'm sure we'll meet again!!
I'm now in Oludinez whixh features on many of the Turkish holiday brochures, it's an amazing turquoise bay famous for paragliding, not me though I chose to have a splash at some canoes today with 5 others two of whichÂ sunk as their canoe split so we all had top pitch in and rescue then and the canoe, we got out money back....
That's it it's warm and the mossies are about so I'm off back to the campsite next on our list is Olympos and maybe Ankara to get our pakistan visa's. The next country we enter will be Iran on the 10th of May. We are also going to Tehran, May is the crackdown month for female confirmity in Iran we are being told that should we show any of our hair we could end up in a detention centre so wish me luck!
I have no time to go back and check for errors so please ignore them, thank you so so much for the messages, textsÂ and e-mailsÂ I am homesick from time to time and they all help. I will be back bloggingÂ as soon as I can.....
I will endeavour to try and reply to messages and personal e-mails next time...keep em coming!Â
Miss youÂ all
xxxÂ Â Â Â Â