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The Republic of Turkey is an unitary parliamentary constitutional republic, covering 783.356 square kilometres, mainly in Asia. It is the home of 79.814.871 citizens, of which 96,5% are Muslims, 3,2% have no religion and 0,9% are Christians.
The currency is Turkish Lira, worth 1,87 Danish Krone and €0,25. The GDP is US$861 billion.
Due to the altitudes and two coast lines, the climate diverse from cold semi-arid, warm Mediterranean, humid subtropical, temperate continental and even a bit of alpine.
The biodiversity is extensive, due to the diverse climate and the location in both Europe and Asia. Among the more interesting larger mammals are the European jackal (Canis aureus moreotica), Wildcat (Felis silvestris), Jungle cat (Felis chau), Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx), Golden jackal (Canis aureus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Eurasian badger (Meles meles), European otter (Lutra lutra), quite some deer, Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), Asiatic cheetah Acinonyx jubatus venaticus, Caucasian wildcat Felis silvestris caucasica, Caucasian lynx Lynx lynx dinniki, Asiatic lion Panthera leo persica, Persian leopard Panthera pardus ciscaucasica, Caspian tiger Panthera tigris virgata, Striped hyena Hyaena hyaena, Steppe wolf Canis lupus campestris, Eurasian wolf Canis lupus lupus, Syrian brown bear Ursus arctos syriacus, Moose Alces alces, Goitered gazelle Gazella subgutturosa, Wild goat Capra aegagrus, West Caucasian Tur Capra caucasica, East Caucasian Tur Capra cylindricornis, Argali Ovis ammon, Chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, Indian porcupine (Hystrix indica) and Caracal (Caracal caracal).
The flora is even more extensive with 9.300 species of vascular plants, of which 30% are estimated to be endemic. However, I will not be looking for any particular.
Getting into Turkey turns out to be a real slow process. Considering I have 400 kilometres to my first sight - or camp, I get a bit impatience. I fail to understand why it is this slow, as the process at the counter is quite fast. It have started raining real heavy, and that continues the first 200 kilometres or so. It is the western Turkey.
It is pretty much the same landscape as Bulgaria: Gentle hills with farming, hardly any farms and harvest season. The road is most of the way a smooth four lane highway - except for all the crossing traffic, where the speed limit is down to 50 - and the horse wagons.
It clears up, and the landscape turns more flat. If it wasn't for the sunflowers and rice, it could be Denmark. Well, not the towns, which are way more depressing. On a few fields, some diary cattle are pushed around by herdsmen, and so are larger herds of goats. I only see one group of sheep.
I reach the sea, and turn into a narrow peninsular. It is significantly dryer down along the sea, but many fields are artificially irrigated. I stop at one beach, but besides from hand sized rocks, here are hardly anything to find. I finally come up with two shells and a conk, that is all. Well, I find a small kneeling mantis, but fail to get a sharp photo.
Here are several shipyards and ferry lines. I head all the way down to the Eceabat - Canakkale ferry. €10 for the four kilometre, 20 minutes fair. Here are ATMs, and I stock some Liras. The modern ferries sail with ten minutes interval, and I only get to look for food, not eat - as I didn't find any vegetarian anyway.
We pass I the large coastal Kiltbahir Fortress, and on the other side, Canakkale Fortress watch the narrow sea. I am now on the Asian Continent with my car - but not much have changed. Canakkale is a big town, but here are tractors and huge palms in the streets. A bit further down the road, I pass Troy, which explains all the odd-looking wooden horses I see.
The countryside is just as dry, or even more. Here are olive trees, pines and goats on the meadows. I follow the coast for 65 kilometres, till I reach the Biga Peninsula. Here are some real interesting coastal hills, which despite their dry appearance, is getting a lot of rain right now.
On my way to the camp, I pass another, and have a look. A bit too rural for sure. Then it turns out the one I actually was looking for, only have wooden bungalows at an ridiculous high price. A bit further down the beach, I see another camp. €9 give a tent with madras. What I assumed was internet and showers is neither- and assumptions is the mother of all fuck-ups. Here are no internet, and no wall or curtain in the showers. Or hot water for that matter. But they face the hotel or apartments, ten metres away. I will treat myself better in the morning!
eat some of my still fresh letish and pepper fruits, along with a couple of
eggs. Then I head over the road to the beach, but unless you are going to
swim or sun bath, here are nothing interesting. I do a long walk, and only
come up with three broken snail encasings. The pebble is a bit more
interesting; so many different types of marble. Some are real nice polished.
Back at camp, a strange looking beetle drops from the olive tree, I parked
under. I've seen some alike in Namibia, but here, the name is
Mediterranean Flathead Woodborer; Capnodis tenebrionis.
24/6. At five, I am so freezing, I give up sleeping. I could sleep in the car, but I have a long g drive ahead of me, and I rather heat up, using the cars heater. Within long, it is nice and warm in the car, and I eat my breakfast, then make a stroll in the coastal hills. A dash of sun would have been nice, but it is too early.
Then it is in a huge V along the coast in quite familiar landscape. Here are a lot of olive plantations, and at a bay, I spot a flock of flamingos. The yellow fields have round pine trees, and some column tax. A few endless fields are with potatoes.
I reach Bergama, and the first I see is the huge Red Hall, a ancient temple for the Egyptian goods. Next to it is the remains of a huge cathedral. I find some narrow copplestone alleys, leading up to the ruins of Acropolis. It is a huge area with Greek and Roman ruins, among them the large and rather impressive Pergamon amphitheatre.
Where most ruins tend to look alike, this one have an impressive collection of slim, white marble columns. Besides from the piles of hand shaped rocks, here are some great views and both black, round beetles and some really shy Starred Agama; Laudakia stellio. I see it all before the first (other Asians) get here by the cable car.
I now have 350 kilometres to next sight, and chooses the bigger roads, as I have a feeling of, I will regret the "straight" mountain road. I pass small villages with bungalows and larger cities with blocks. Here are mainly farmland and nature, and I see several stork's nests. One is on the huge gas station sign.
Despite the car have run more than 350.000 kilometres, and have a busted back wheel bearing, it manages to do 33 km/l on last tank, and 32,25 on this. In Turkey, it have to run on Motorin. It so much deserve to be spoiled by a good mechanic! But I haven't seen a single Lupo here in Turkey, and spare parts will not be available.
The last 50 kilometres, the landscape finally changes. Now, it is gentle yellow hills with dry grass. The narrow valleys have been harvested. Bigger hills - or small mountains are seen in front, but I turn into the little town of Pamukkale.
Here are a mountainside covered in the bright white deposit of calcite. And I consider this to be the main Turkish sight, as the calcite forms shelves or travertines, which are filled with blue water. Well, they do in the wet season. Now, there are apparently only water enough for the swimming pools. Never the less, it is still a real special natural sight, and I get to walk a lot in the area. As it is Sunday, here are a lot locals and some Asians too.
Above the calcite, another ancient towns ruins are found. It is Hierapolis, and I see most of it too. Here are shy Agamas as well. When I have seen it all, I head down to Pamukkale, and find a restaurant with falafel. The host offers me a cup of tea afterwards, and we watch the election results together.
Then I find a little hotel. He want 100 Lira, but I am only willing to pay 50 - and that is all right. I do a short walk around town, and are fascinated by the storks on the mosque. The chicks are fly-training by now. Then it is back to work, and again, it is passed midnight before I'm done. Coast road, Acropolis, Pamukkale Calsite and Hierapolis.Konya
25/6. I had an odd though yesterday morning: "This is the bed to fall out off": Madras on the soft ground in the tent. Can't recall ever falling out of a bed, but this morning, I wake up, when my eyebrow meet the floor, falling out of a real tall bed. Wrong place to do a stunt like that!
I botanise a bit outside town, but fail to find anything new. Then I follow a boulevard with a endless line of palms, leading to a flamboyant city. The rest of the 225 kilometres to Egirdir does not really offer much new. I pass some overloaded trucks, bringing hay back from the fields.
first of the huge lakes turns up, and it does look like the sea. A herdsman
have his little cottage and herd of sheep at the lake side, but most flat
land around here is already harvested wheat.
It does have an old ruin, but also a lot of rather new ones. The peninsular have its share of empty restaurants and the rest is more or less un-charming ruins. The rain does not help, and I find a open restaurant and get some lunch. It takes them for ever to make a small bowl of vegetables, despite I'm the only customer, and the market is right out on the street.
Despite the time I spend at the restaurant, the rain continues, and so do I. Another stint of 225 kilometres to Konya, which accordingly to a friend, should have some interesting nature. The last 25 kilometres is small mountains with mainly pine, but the rain prevents me from enjoying them. The rest is the usual yellow farmland.
It is five o'clock, and I have a hostel lined up. But Konya is a massive city, the rain heavy, the traffic intense and the GPS neglect the fact boulevards have a fence in the middle and most streets are one-way. On top of that, parking is real expensive, and after a hour, I give up.
Next sight is 250 kilometres further east,
and I hope to find a camp, hostel or hotel on the way. The "nature" on the
other side of Konya is an endless plain with agriculture. The rain stops
outside town, and the harvesters are busy.
head next door at a big restaurant, and ask for vegetarian. I end up with
some beaked beans, rice and a small salad. And the price is real high!
Should have eaten what I had in the car. Due to the rather dull and rainy
day, the work is at least over before midnight.
Egirdir and Konya.