Entering Turkey was a bit with mixed feelings… I was a little sad and exhausted from the awesome week I had on Kalymnos (Greece) since I enjoyed some world class climbing there and spent the week with Belgian friends! From now I’m traveling back alone, set up camp and cook on my own…
Paying almost 100 euro for a 45min ferry from Greece to Bodrum, I finally arrived in Turkey!I was scouting for Baklava, typical ice cream shops, durum’s and kebab… Instead I got treated with a way more diverse country than I expected! After driving only a few kilometers I was already seeing a huge diversity of authentic food and shops, amazing nature, friendly people and great roads and trails.
Arriving in Pamukkale, which is a mineral rich thermal bath, I was amazed by the amount of Asian people trying to take the “perfect” selfie. Luckily, they closed a big part of the baths for tourists, but unfortunately the majority was already destroyed by mass tourism (when it was still allowed to walk into every pool).
I continued my journey towards Istanbul and crossed some great canyons, did some rock climbing, drove through picturesque villages and each time I refueled my bike, I was offered some Çay (Turkish tea), so nice!
I shipped my Iranian Visa and Passport from Belgium to Turkey and would pick it up in Istanbul. Easy peasy I thought… Suddenly my passport was lost between Belgium and Turkey and I needed to stay and wait in Istanbul for several days.
Eventually it took 17 days for it to be delivered, wherefrom I “waited” 8 days in Istanbul. But no worries, it has it all! Western, Asian and Turkish culture, good and bad coffee, skyscrapers and wooden (ottoman) houses, Baklava and kebab, Hamam, in other words: a really cool and intriguing city!
After receiving the Iranian visa, I continued towards the amazing Cappadocia (Göreme) and witnessed 1400 people going airborne.
Every day, when there is good weather, more than 70 hot air balloons take off to enjoy Cappadocia, each carrying around 20 passengers. Very spectacular to see!


 
The next day I went from 0 to 8: Suddenly I met 8 adventure motorcycle riders in two days. Before that, I never crossed one onto my trip… Really funny! We had some great dinner together with Discoveringtheworld, Zeeland to New Zealand and Simon & Daniel worldtour.
The fun part was that nobody really knew each other, but we were all somehow connected through relatives, stories and similar interests.
Jan, Simon, Daniel and I decided to drive for a few days together and do some high mountain passes in Aladağlar national Park. Unfortunately, we failed minutes before the top (3200m) since there was still too much snow. We needed to go all the way back and find a camping space late at night. Sadly, due to this tragedy, our group split up quickly afterwards. Naah, just kidding!
Jan went north towards Georgia, Simon and Daniel went south visiting a friend and I decided to go east and try to enter Iran. This will be a very challenging and maybe impossible thing since motorbikes higher than 250 are recently not allowed anymore into the country. Nonetheless I will try a very small border and try to talk my way through. You never know until you try…

South east Turkey (Kurdish region) was very interesting. There were really high mountains, amazing valleys, very friendly people and lots of sheep and goats. Furthermore, there were several military checkpoints, which hosted me every time for tea and cookies and thus felt more like a hospitable family rather than a military checkpoint for drugs, contraband or terrorists.
Going from a super hip and modern city (Istanbul) to high mountains, amazing landscapes, stunning historical buildings, down to earth people, the best baklava and too much kebab; I can say that Turkey is a very diverse land and has so much to offer!

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