Cold Turkey 29/09/10-06/10/10

Posted: October 9, 2010 in 5.Turkey

Now where was I, had I told you about Istanbul? Megan, have I told them about Istanbul? What?! I know you’re getting changed in the tent but just tell me if we have told our endearing fans about Istanbul? Really? Oh ok, no I don’t know where your stripy pants are.

So it seems I have told you about Istanbul and a lot beside it. The 29th saw us drive towards the ‘picture post card village’ (as the Lonely Planet put it) of Olympos. The main reason to stay here is the tree houses you can stay in, unique to this part of Turkey. When I learnt about this I was very excited, as it is surely every boy’s aspiration to live in a tree house, and this would finally allow me to live out my Swiss Family Robinson fantasy… It wasn’t a tree house, it wasn’t even in a tree, a better description would have been a shed on stilts. So instead we plumped for an air conditioned hut for a couple of nights. Olympos is a bit of a backpackers’ haunt but I put my prejudices aside and really enjoyed the place. The highlight of Olympos must have been the home cooked food we got in the evening, which was included in the price and was simply delicious. Why can’t you cook this good Megan?

We also bumped into an overland group on their way to the Middle East. Ummm… as nice as the lorry was I don’t think I would like to spend 3 months with strangers in the confines of what is actually a container, but hey, it takes all sorts.

It was a short drive to Antalya, which was our next stop for a night, before the long push to Goreme. There seemed to be no camping in Antalya but after a long 3 day search on Google we found a night club that would let you camp (or so we thought with our limited Turkish). I was convinced that it would be a waste of time but Megan, bless her, said it wasn’t, and so we spent a little while searching the backstreets until we found it. Driving in the man at the gate said ok, we could use the car park to camp, the toilets and showers to wash, and the most amazing beach bar for free!  Needless to say the smugness emanating from Megan was overwhelming. Antalya turned out to be a nice little city and having spent the day relaxing and topping up the tan we wandered the pretty narrow streets that night.

Ever onward and we decided to break the trip up to Goreme with an overnight stop in Konya, which is the home of the Whirling Dervishes (Google it). Finding campsites in Turkey once away from the coast is very difficult so this time we thought we would just try our luck once we got there. As it happened it all worked out rather well. As we were driving into Konya we spotted a Dutch camper van in a car park and decided to investigate. Just a little note on the Dutch, it seems that there can be no one left in Holland, it’s mental, every camper van and caravan we have seen in the last 3 weeks has been Dutch, man they like to travel. So anyway we found our way down to the car park, met a nice security guard who informed us we could stay for free! There was even a toilet, water and power. Nice one. Konya itself was a little disappointing, maybe it was the fact that it was raining and we had to put on jeans for the first time in 6 weeks, as the weather had turned cold.

The final drive to Goreme was amazing. The landscape was stunning, it felt like we where driving across outer Mongolia and we both thought for the first time that we were true adventurers… until we were overtaken by a camper van sporting Dutch plates. Bastards.

Goreme Goreme Groreme, well I can guarantee that you have never seem anything like it. It’s quite a well known stop on the drive across Turkey, famous for the tall cave/chimneys that were hollowed out in olden times and used as churches. I’m aware that I think everything in Turkey is awesome but these really are.

We stayed in a campsite mentioned in lot of other travelers’ blogs, Kaya Camping, which was a good call because we met our first ever fellow Defender 130 drivers!

We have had an ongoing game since we left the UK; Land Rover Defender spotting. Don’t laugh, it’s become very competitive. I’m still ahead but Megan has clawed her way back by pulling a nice Dutch (of course) 130 out of the bag. It was owned by Joorst and Rene, who are perhaps the nicest people in the world- they cooked us dinner! The last night in Goreme was spent eating their food, sharing their traveling stories, and when a French family came over to join us it all got a little messy. The wine count reached 11 bottles by the time Megan and I crawled into bed. A great night and one of the reasons we decided to do this trip with an old Land Rover rather than take the easy flying option.

To update you on our future plans; Pakistan is a no unfortunately. It’s too difficult to get a visa, too many floods and bombs. So the plan now is to catch the ferry from Bandar Abbas in southern Iran to Dubai, stay there for a while with some family friends of Megan’s, and ship the car to Mumbai.

  1. robin welch says:

    Really enjoying your blog entries, makes me envious and feet a little itchy.

    Keep up the great work and enjoy yourselves!

    Best Wishes, robin

  2. Tim Parrott says:

    Hi just read your blog,its nice to see its sunny somewhere as here in portugal its p—–g down we have had about 30mm in 24hrs.our ducks love it but the chickens have taken to higher ground.hope all goes well with the next part of your trip.

  3. katy says:

    I must say your writing is getting very good. Is Megan editing you? Looks like so much fun and I’m exceedingly jealous, I do enjoy reading your blog. More pictures needed though!

  4. katy says:

    I meant more PEOPLE pictures – i.e. you two!

  5. Paul says:


    Looks like you are having a wale of a time of a time!, Tree-houses don’t look so impressive, but the campsite and beach front bar’s sound idyllic !

    How are you getting on with the Air Con ?, is it doing what you need it to do in the warmth of Turkey!?

    Also would you recommend the side and front bits of the Awning. I’ve got the Hannibal Awning and am considering them (another toy for the car!) as its an addition bit of space if needed ….

    Anyway keep the Diary coming, its sounds like you’re having a blast

    Paul and Cath (very jealous!)

  6. Caroline says:

    Amazing amazing Simon! I mean it all sounds amazing!! A real adventure and your blogs make me larrrf! Lots of love. Stay safe. xxx

  7. Hester says:


    I am a Dutch Exile living in Wales…. so yeah… we do travel 😉
    Another addition to the website could be a “defender count” tab?? 😀
    Seriously looks like you are having a great time.. Hopefully you will meet more locals… and less Dutchies!

  8. nicholas says:

    sorry i missed you at the weekend. will write soon promise.

    youre looking annoyingly brown.

    oh and amazing photos.


  9. Fredrik says:

    This looks great, both photos and text! Looking forward for further reports.
    Guess you will enjoy Iran, heard so much positive about the people there.

    Fredrik – 110

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