Monday 21 May, Day 18 - Cappadocia, Turkey
Got up with the lark to get moving before the farmer turned up. I stopped at the first village to get some water and ended up having Chai with the locals. I enjoyed fantastic scenery all morning but I was running low on fuel, not quite on reserve, and in the middle of nowhere.
I pulled up to check the map and the moped behind me stopped to say hello. I asked him directions and was relieved to find I was on the right road and fuel was not far up ahead.
I found the garage, filled up, and made some coffee on the garage forecourt and finished the cake from last night. A young lad on the forecourt had shredded a tyre on his van and I helped him remove the wheel using my tools.The weather turned nasty with heavy rain so I stopped to dry off in a village. I was offered more Chai and eventually ended up having breakfast consisting of omelette with spicy sausage, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, leavened bread, followed by local honey. The waiters told me that Chelsea had won the Champions League. The young owner was a Fenerbahce fan and his side kick was Galatasaray. We joked about the famous Graeme Souness flag incident.
I arrived at Cappadocia about 1.30pm to find the most amazing looking place I have seen for a long time. The town is half buildings and half caves. I decided to stay for a while and found a camp site called Panorama. Booked 2 nights for 20 Lira a night. Good site with pool and free Wi-Fi.
Had my first ever encounter with a proper wild snake. It seems to be living behind the wash house and is about 4 foot long, green, and only ten yards from tent. There are also quite a lot of lizards roaming around.
Just met a Swiss couple staying on the site who have come here by bicycle and are on their way to Ulan Bator in Mongolia. Had a good chat about visas for Turkmenistan etc. These touring cyclists are something else. The mountains out here are tough on the Tiger never mind pedalling. I take my hat off to them.Tuesday 22 May, Day 19 - Cappadocia, Turkey
I was woken by the sound of hot air balloons inflating overhead and when I looked out of my tent I was amazed to see about 50 balloons hovering over the caves. The views from the camp site are fantastic. It is red hot and I can see a snow capped mountain in the distance.
I made some coffee and then went shopping to Nevsehir for 12mm hex keys to get my back wheel off in case the tyres pack up before I get them changed. Got two for 13 Lira. Absolute bargain! I have seen so many tyre fitting workshops in one place. There must have been fifty of them. No exaggeration!
Also got a new relay switch for my indicators for 5 Lira but managed to blow 2 main fuses before I realised it was wired up differently from the original switch, durrr!. I will have to take the wiring apart a little more to get it to fit but it should be ok.Went in to Uchisar to take a couple of photos of the caves. Amazing to think that at some point in history the whole population here lived in these caves. Some of them go seriously deep underground.
This afternoon I went for a swim in the camp site pool. Fantastically refreshing and probably the last luxury I will have for a while as I am leaving for Russia tomorrow. My facial hair is getting out of control and I am not sure I can put up with it much longer.Ran out of solid fuel for my stove so went to try and buy some fire lighters. No joy with these, but did manage to find some gas canisters that look like they will fit my gas stove. Bought 2 but when I got back I found they wouldn’t fit. Gutted! Had to boil water by making a proper fire. The smoke stank my tent out for hours.
I did some more research on the internet for my route over the next few days. I looked into going into Armenia but it looks impossible as the border with Turkey is closed. It looks as though I will have to settle for going straight into Georgia and on to Russia. I should make the Georgian border tomorrow. Later on I can go into either Kazakhstan or Mongolia, but not both.