Saturday – a rainy day in Turkey and a poorly Penelope

When we woke up the rain had stopped and all that could be heard was the water rushing over the rocks in the river below. We had a good breakfast and set off for the interim stop en route for Goreme. It should have been a bush camp but the rather heavy rain we have experienced led to a request, supported by all, that we should try and get a hotel instead. Happily Emma had been successful in her mission so no more camping. Good news! We settled down for a nine hour drive.

Our route down out of the valley took us back through Macke where new apartment buildings were in progress on the hillside. We passed the mosque and stopped at the bakers for lunch supplies. Although not raining it was dulling heavily. At the end of the valley we reached the large city of Trabzon where unexpectedly (well I didn’t expect it anyway) we were back at the Black Sea. Larger fishing trawlers were out in the bay. A watery sun came out and went again.

We followed the coast road for a couple of hours. It was totally urbanised with apartments, houses, restaurants and small hotels fringing the road on our left as the Black Sea continued to our right. We then left the water and turned inland again. By now the rain was back. It was a true mountain pass similar to those in the Lake District. The river ran through the valley bottom and hills. The surfaced road came and went and reappeared again.

We had lunch at the top of a ravine. Few vehicles passed us. We then set off again and the valley broadened out again. Bedraggled sheep. Wandered the hill with even more bedraggled shepherds following behind looking the picture of misery. Occasionally there were cattle grazing. After that our. viewing was limited as the windows steamed up and water began to trickle in through Penelope’s weak points.

As the afternoon wore on we became aware that the intermittent gear problems that have occurred on several points along the way had returned with a vengeance. In the end we were moving very slowly. With another 200 kilometres to go to our overnight stop we lurched into a town and ground to a halt. Thank goodness it had not happened on the isolated. mountain road!

It was still pouring and very cold and damp in the truck, but we waited while Emma and Simon set off to find an hotel for the night while they tried to resolve the gearbox dilemma.

We were in a town called Sebinkarahisar. It seemed just an ordinary town in the middle of the hills and an unlikely spot for tourists. Nevertheless a very nice little hotel was found tucked behind a tractor show room. We tramped off the truck with enough belongings for a couple of days as we did not know what was to happen next or when we were likely to be reunited with Penelope.

We really came up trumps with the hotel. It was clean, warm and generally of a higher standard than a lot of the hotels we have stayed in to date. So we adjourned, found the largest bedroom and cracked open a bottle of Georgian red wine. Such is the stuff of which overland stories are made!

We even did well with supper. It was still raining heavily when we set out to find food. We found it in a small cafe just across from the hotel and upstairs. No-one spoke English, but with a lot of pointing and much goodwill we were all happily fed and watered. Perfect.

On the way back we met a very wet Emma and Simon who gave us the news that we should be ready to board the truck at 7.00 for a very, very long day as we had to make up the hours lost.

We recommended our supper venue.

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