It was 7.00 am and only just light when we set off. There was no breakfast, although there were one or two cafés open as we passed them on the way to the truck. We have to cover the 200 kilometres to Siva where we should have stopped, before travelling on to Goreme in Cappadocia where we are to stay for three nights. It was still cold and damp on the truck.
Getting out of town was tricky because of the gear changing problem – apparently a part is required to solve the issue. Twice we stopped to allow further tinkering. One stop was near a bread shop which was helpful.
We drove out through the hills. The soil is noticeably richer than we have seen anywhere along the route. There was evidence of terracing and many of the fields looked freshly ploughed. A fish farm appeared on a lake to our left. It was quite a large enterprise. One more tweak stop occurred then we were out on an open road. Roadworks appeared and the road became a well made duel carriageway. Once the need for gears to be changed ceased, Penelope seemed to pick up her skirts and we were off at our normal pace. Fantastic! We all breathed a sigh of relief.
Gradually the landscape opened out – it had The Lake District look again – only with a two lane highway running through it. The truck was really cold. Some reached for sleeping bags – others made do with extra layers of clothing. We looked like a lot of chrysalis or Michelin men hunched up on our various seats. We talked of the days when we complained about the heat on the truck when it was too hot to move. All those years ago – or so it seems!
The day wore on. The sky became lighter. The landscape evened out and the hills became more distant. Some apartments appeared by the side of the highway with little infrastructure around them. A lake appeared in the distance with undulating hills behind. The truck continued to be cold, but the gears were behaving themselves. Occasionally the sky lightened and then the clouds rolled over again.
Towns appeared and disappeared again. Then the sun came out and I became aware that the grassy hills had gone and had been replaced by what looked like sandy scrubland. It was much flatter and then suddenly small peaks started to appear – we were entering the moon type landscape of Cappadocia. All around us was the sandy coloured volcanic debris of ancient times, that has been shaped over thousands of years by rain and river water. As we got closer to Goreme, towering phallic boulders appeared together little pointy hills that looked as they were erupting across the town in between the cluster of buildings. In actual fact it is erosion rather than eruption that has caused the bizarre effect with which we were confronted, but I do not know how else to describe it. Hopefully photographs will help….
We stopped in the centre of Goreme while Simon and Emma scouted around to find our hotel. It was odd to be back in the land of the tourist, with lots of gift shops and advertisements for balloon flights and horse riding treks. We understand that the acknowledged best way to truly appreciate the Cappadocian landscape is by hot air balloon and we have, with some trepidation, booked ourselves onto an early morning flight while we are here. The day is now very overcast and it is also quite chilly. We were pleased to get back on the truck. There then followed a demonstration of one of Simons most amazing feats of driving. We crawled along ever more narrow roads as we headed up towards the end of the town. We peered down on the anxious faces of the people below as they hurried to get out of the way. We could have easily touched the buildings on either side of the truck as we inched our way up to the Travellers Cave Pension where we were to stay.
The hotel, when we arrived, was a delight. Our little stone cave room is perfectly formed with the most precisely calculated bathroom we have ever come across – there is literally no more than two centimetres gap between the bathroom door and the shower door, but it all works tremendously well. It is also lovely and warm – perfect!
We were happy to hand over a bag full of washing to a smiling lady who looked as if we were doing her a favour by allowing her to wash our dirty socks – and settled down to a warm time with blogs and reading. Luxury!
We found a nice place to eat where the girls were well catered for and felt that a day that started with some trepidation as to whether we were going to make it to Goreme, had ended very satisfactorily.