1475 -1477: Time to Sit Tight

1475:  A Flit

Tuesday 17th March 

We woke planning to pay our dues and wander around Pirene and then over to Pamukkale, but you know what happens to plans!  Danny and Lisa in their Landy with a tent on top, had decided that if Turkey were to follow other countries with travel restrictions and self isolation, they wanted to be already settled.  They had rented an apartment just S of Antalya.  David and Karen, thegreygappers.co.uk, were already installed in a hotel nearby as friends were supposed to have joined them for a golfing week.  Given the chaos of borders closing, travel restrictions and the number of borders we would have to cross to get home … we had already decided to stay put in Turkey.  If we are going to be in lockdown, we would rather be in the van than staring at brick walls and we would rather be in warmer climes … Spanish and Portuguese campsites were not allowing new guests, and some (Spain) were evicting travellers, so we decided to flit to a campsite near Antalya.

So the morning was not what was planned.   We offered some money to the staff at Pirene for the use of the water but this was refused. But didn’t get to visit the site, time was marching on.  Nice chat … a lot of Turks have a relative living in the UK.  I rang several campsites near Kemer, but none were answering or open.  Found one just S of Kemer.  A long driving day – 8 hours across plains and with some roadside snow.  The scenery in Turkey is BIG, especially after the immediacy of Crete.  We tried a campsite just north of Kemer, he was willing to take us, but the entrance was far too tight for Jez.  My German came in useful again … a chap at the ticket office to an empty beach car park was able to tell me of another campsite further south than the one I’d identified on the phone … a good back up.

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We ventured onto a motorway for about 50Km, saving about 40 mins.  Pleased wed paid for the ANPR account.  Roads on this main route were good.

We stopped driving at about 7.00 p.m. … Turkey is big!  The campsite we are on is quirky and slightly on the hippie side.  The owners (not sure who) and the staff were all at supper … a buffet.  They kept it open for us and we were delighted not to have to cook.  Quite a few residents have good English.  One lady studied in Bristol Uni … she started with Marine Biology, but after a year switched to the Circus School.  We stayed overnight in the entrance car park…


1476:  Setting Up to Sit Pretty

 Wednesday 18th March 

A new fitness regime is in place.  So after a run, I went in search of Enis, in charge of bookings.  Not to be found, not up yet possibly, as here is very laid back.  After our breaky, he was up and about.  Good English too.  He offered us the reduced rate of TL50, normally TL80, for a long stay.  This is all of £6.30 per night, without electricity, so we’re happy.  Buffet dinners get written onto a pad … and then when we leave they add it all up.  I said we would pay every 2 weeks … don’t like owing money, especially as we could be here quite a while!  Sorry Mum, I know I occasionally forget to pay you!  

We are installed in our own garden.  Views of snow topped hills.  1 minute walk to the bay.  Toilet block within metres.  Just a few of the resident 6 dogs and free range chickens visit us.  CO2 are therefore chained, but this is not a problem as there are places to walk.

We took the bikes into nearby Tekirova.  It looks as if it has not opened for the season … we could not even find a coffee shop.  We did manage to find a few small supermarkets … I bought 5 ice cream cornets … cornetto style … all of £1.90,  as 3 lads were making a fuss of CO2.  They initially politely refused, but on being pressed, accepted with a schooled Thank You.  They were feeding ice cream to a tiny puppy … don’t know if it actually belonged to one of them, but much better than tying firecrackers to its tail!

A few food purchases made and back home for slow cooked cuttlefish in red wine.  

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Our pitch.  Just missing the chicken and dogs.

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View of the estuary and just by us.

1477:  Zero Spend Day

Thursday 19th March 

Pilates morning after a lie in!  One of the resident dogs attempted to join in!  J’s second experience ever and a loooong time since the last, so he had to recourse for an early nanny nap.  I got busy, grooming CO2, making Greek Big Beans stew, marinating chicken, filling Jez with water, laundry onto soak, sausage training CO2 and cleaning our shower block … another camper may have used it last night!  cant have that!!!  Woke J and led him on a walk over to an ancient site.  As we approached, a man came out of the woods and ordered us back … it was closed.  And, other than the campsite fee, we’ve not spent any money.  Unusual for us!

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BBQ … in love with this new battery fired gadget, courtesy of Karl and June in Crete … the batteries create an air flow through the coals so it is ready to cook in about 10 mins. Hardly uses any coals and super easy to clean.  The air flow means you can control the heat too.  Recommended.

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Comfortable Oscar?  Sunbathing!

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 Local resident.


1473-1474: Ephesus and Loos

1473:  Efes or Ephesus

Sunday 15th March 

Only a 5 minute drive to the parking.  We could have cycled, but didn’t fancy leaving Jez unattended on the beach … we are still feeling our way with regards security in Turkey.  And the garage is pretty jam packed, so it would have been a lot of unpacking to retrieve the bikes.  At Ephesus we paid our car rate parking fee of £1.90.  Conscious that I’m quoting the prices, but still in a delighted state about how cheap (inexpensive is a better word) most things are.  Sultan the shuttle bus supervisor popped over with chat and a map.  He sold us the idea of the ‘free’ bus (car, actually as insufficient tourists) to take us to the top of the ancient site.  What we failed to comprehend was that a) there is nothing free about it … a £3.80 tip exchanged hands and b) the taxi took us on a selling detour to a carpet and jewellery shop!  To be fair, the staff stopped the hard sell when we said we lived in a camping car and had no room nor money.  Interesting to see modern and traditional designs.  And the shop had very clean loos!!!

I had visited Ephesus about 3 years ago with ex Mark, Stuart – his then 17 year old brother, Gill and Bron.  On our return, Mark was in trouble for ‘letting’ Stuart stay behind to learn how to become a croupier!  To save money on our tour from Istanbul to the south coast and back up, we bussed and stayed in cheap hostels.  As there were 5 of us, we were sought after and locals bartered themselves to get our bus and accommodation business.  I do remember it was an amazingly cheap trip.  I don’t remember much of the trip detail, but I did recognise the iconic gate at Ephesus.

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No purchase made … I did ask how long they take to hand knot … at least 5 months.  I did NOT ask how much … if you have to ask, you can’t afford it!!!

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Sunny, so the hat made it out of the closet since last year.  After more than 150 years of excavation, they reckon 80% of the city is still to be unearthed, but it was still a 3km walk from the upper to lower gate.  It was significant for being the capitol of Roman Asia Minor, with over 250,000 core inhabitants … traders, sailors and pilgrims increased the population.

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The Odean, used for municipal debates. 

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 The Great Theatre AD41-117, under restoration.  It is thought that St Paul preached here.  Wonder if he had a full house of 25,000.

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Curetes Way, the grandest street, once lined with shops and statues.

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Marble Street and there was a long wide road out to what was the harbour … all giving the sense of sheer size of the place.

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Lots of temples along the route.

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Library of Celsus AD2 … the really impressive iconic image.  It was designed to protect 12,000 scrolls from extremes of moisture and temperature.

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Our combined ticket included the Terraced Houses.  Sadly, the impact of it was sadly lost due to the orange dust over it.  These tables ‘apparently’ had pieces of wall marble … some jigsaw.

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A number of impressive wall paintings.  The 7 Terraced Houses are all under a massive roof.  These houses were extremely luxurious.

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We were back at our beach parking overnight and whilst walking CO2, the mystery of flares going off on the beach was solved.  I asked the organiser, who spoke some English.  It was a wedding proposal.  The friends gathered, the groom arrived at the appointed time and pops the question.  We’d seen a few proposals from a distance, but not know what we were looking at.  In this case, she said yes!

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1474:  Ephesus Museum

Monday 16th March 

We really cannot tell if it that the season is too early or if people are not here due to the virus.  The Museum was very quiet; just us and 2 other couples.  It was also pretty small  and we were through quite quickly … wonder if we’ve seen too much of similar artefacts.  We’ve used all the components of our combined ticket.

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Terracotta. AD1

After soup in Jez we drove a couple of hours to Pirene, another ancient site.  We parked up in the car park, arriving at about 5.00 p.m.  The toilet block was still open … I’d a bag full of laundry and having been told launderettes are few and far between … this was too good an opportunity.  The twin tub was deployed.  I sheltered from the wind, placing its waste pipe over the standy up loo and ran the power cable from Jez.  I was getting well into it, when a member of staff came to lock the toilet block.  Bugger .. caught!  But he was a sweetie and walked me up to the ticket office and showed me a tap.  Jez and twin tub were moved.  A washing line was strung up in a gazebo, and given the wind, the first items through were dry by the time I finished.  The wind didn’t abate and I can clearly state that who ever penned Rock a bye baby was an idiot.  I hardly slept.

And finally … here’s link all about Turkey Toilet customs!

http://www.thisisturkey.net/toilet.php