After leaving the Balkans behind we entered Turkey and we tackled it immediately, at first spending a night in a freecamping near Edirne and then diving into the crazy traffic in Istanbul We spent two intense days in the Turkish capital: worn out by heavy traffic jams and having hit some snag, we came out quite jittery. But it took little to recover: we carried on driving southward, guiding the wheels of our motorcycles to Bergama.
With the Odyssey on the nightstand, and filled with curiosity, we visited the archaeological site of Pergamon, before jumping back in the saddle and discover another even more majestic site.
At Ephesus we went roaming in the ruins of the city with eyes full of wonder: the bikes were outside the fence of the site, but it was amazing that they could bring us up there, in the heart of history.
We were only 200 km away from our next destination: again we arrived rather early, but the site had already been besieged by swarms of tourists on buses. Sitting in the shade we waited for a while as we were enjoying the colours reflected on the travertines. Upon sunset, when the tanks were emptied, the water was golden and we could enjoy long, relaxing moments, completely outsiders to the crowd and the noise from a few hours earlier.
In Fethiye we found refuge in a small guest-house near the sea, enjoying the adventure that was there for us the following day: at 10, in fact, we set sail from the harbour and spent the day aboard a sailboat that allowed us to explore the archipelago of “twelve Islands”.
With the memory of beautiful emotions trying to ride the waves, a few kilometres off the shore from the island of Rhodes, the next day we carried on along our route. The bikes were waiting for a journey to happen through a country to be discovered, and within hours we arrived at the Butterfly Valley. At the bottom of a steep trail, and immersed in a lush valley, the beach and the valley were a natural jewel worth the visit.
The arrival in Cappadocia was the crowning glory of this second, extraordinary stage of our journey to the East: after the first day exploring the valleys surrounding Göreme, along the many trails to explore on foot, on the second day we were awakened by the noise of a hot air balloon that was passing just a few steps from our tent. The dawn, in the heart of the most authentic Cappadocia, is a breath-taking show: we remained seated to observe the ballons until that the sun was high, and the same routine the other days, too, until we dismantled our tent and got back to the bikes.
On the top of the Nemrut Dagi, as the crow flies opposite to Syria, and in the green fields of the ancient city of Ani, we waved goodbye to Turkey, with a smile and the power of memories that, in the twenty days in this Country, we learnt to gather.
Our journey goes on to the Caucasus: Georgia is just around the corner, just beyond the border.