Antalya to Mersin

On the road early this morning heading to Antalya on the coast. This is one of the largest Turkish towns on the Mediterranean sea. There is lots to see here but that is true of many towns in Turkey. Trying to see all the ruins and historic buildings of Turkey would be a life's work, so much to some passenger's annoyance, they only have limited time to see the city. Fred and I made our way down through the old bazaar to the harbour and whiled away our time drinking coffee, while the others raced around trying to see everything. I don't make a good tourist even though I may never come this way again. I prefer to soak in the atmosphere rather than tick off a list of must see. Visiting an old building or a ruin is very interesting and sometimes the effect is very emotional, but I would prefer to spend time at one ruin and get the feel of it, rather than have a quick visit to many. When the passengers come back they reel off all the places they have seen, just listening to them makes me feel tired.

Antalta southern Turkey


We take the coast heading west through Manavgat where we stop to pick up food and supplies for the evening meal. Our overnight stop is just short of Alanya were we pull off the road and drive down on to the beach out of sight of the road. Just as we turn off,Fred notices a small shack near the road. It's made of timber and has a small shade at the front covered with palm leaves. It's deserted but looks like it may have been a restaurant at sometime. After everyone is settled Geoff and I walk back up to the road to checkout the shack and find boxes at the door with bread and vegetables in them? A few minutes later a car pulls up and drops off an old man, who obviously owns the shack. It turns out it is a restaurant and he will be cooking tea tonight, so we let him know with our best sign language to keep us a table. It's still early so we lay on the beach listening to the local radio which is partly in English. There is a very strange announcement "Greek Cypriots lay down your arms or Turkish MIG jets will bomb Nicosia". Geoff noticed it first and had us all listen till it came on again, he was right that's what they said. This time they said it would happen in 20 minutes. We all thought it must be some sort of a joke.

Beach near Alanya

Everyone went back to catching the last rays of sun before it slipped out of sight. Suddenly there was a tremendous noise as a jet fighter roared overhead only 100 meters above the ground, followed by 4 or 5 more and in an instance they were gone. We all sat there open mouthed, realising that they were on their way to bomb Cyprus. Not more than 15 minutes later we heard them coming back, this time they were higher up so less noisy. We still couldn't believe it was real until the radio announcer said that "Turkish MIG fighter have just bomb Nicosia" . So this problem with the Greeks had got to open warfare, was this going to effect us?, Could we still complete our trip?. That evening we had some of the best fish I have ever tasted in probably the most primitive restaurant I have ever eaten in. There were a few Turks there and the conversation was all about Cyprus. It was heated at times and they were suspicious of foreigners. Some of our girls had met a couple of "really nice Turkish guys" who were going to take them to a club in Alanya. We tried to talk them out of it saying "there is no such thing as a nice Turkish man where single girls are concerned" but they weren't listening and off they went.

Turkish tea shop

The girls didn't get back till late when they were dropped up by the road. They didn't appear happy and were non-committal when asked about their evening. As expected, the guys hassled them for sex and to this day I don't know what happened, but they didn't wander off again so the lesson was learnt by all the girls. Muslim men have very little opportunity to mix with women and they see our more relaxed attitude as an indication that sex is readily available from western women. From now on the girls will need to be much more careful with their dress if they are to avoid unwanted attention. In the early hours of the morning car head lights swept across our campsite, there was two vehicles and at first I thought it was the "really nice Turkish guys" back for some more of our women. It turned out to be police who wanted to know who we were and what we were doing on a beach directly opposite Cyprus. They checked out the bus and took great note of the tape player and sound system till they were convinced we were not Greek spies, then apologized for the interruption and left.
We are slow to get started today, as this will be our last day by the sea. When we turn inland just before Adana, we say goodbye to the sea for the rest of this trip. Our trip down the coast takes us through Alanya, Gazipasa, Bozyazi, Silifke and Mersin, where we leave the coast and head inland. The first stop is Alanya. In every town we have a fight with the troops over how much time they can have to look round. At the rate we are going, we will never get to Kathmandu, we are destined to die in Turkey!. To save time we run them to the best of the sights, but they still want more time. At last we are on the road again and heading to Silifke, our next stop before Mersin. We still have problems with the bus overheating and brake cooling stops are part of our day, particularly on this coastal road that is up and down all the way. The overheating is not serious and providing we have a stop on long climbs its not causing us too much grief. I have learnt to drive so as not to make it worse. On up hill climbs if you keep the throttle hard down, it makes the engine overheat faster. I've found that if I ease back on the throttle and hold it just at the point where the engine is still pulling hard but does not cut back on fuel, it takes longer to overheat. Holding it at full throttle over fuels the engine and makes it run hot.
Mercin is our last stop on the Mediterranean coast where we stock up on supplies for the next day, as we will be heading inland towards Nevsehir to visit Goreme (Cappodocia). We plan to camp about 100kms inland near Pozanti in the Daglari mountains, providing the engine doesn't overheat too much on the way up. The climb was slow but the views were very good, so no one complained about the frequent stops. We finally decided to pull over about 2kms short of Pozanti. As usual the crew got the first cup of tea once the billy had boiled, and as had become my custom, I drank mine while lying under the bus looking to see if everything was OK. Oh no I've spotted something. The radiator is at the front of the bus, but the engine is mounted lying on its side about half way along with a shaft reaching from the front of the engine, forward to drive the fan that cools the radiator. This shaft runs through an aluminium bracket which has a large crack in it.
The trip continued Map of trip so far
An overland journey to India following the India overland trail through Belgium, Germany, Austria Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, & Nepal. Visting sites of Dubrovnic, Split, Kotor, Athens, Kerimoti, Istanbul, Galipolli, Troy, Delphi, Efes, Goreme, Nemrut, Tehran, Esphan, Persepolis, Shiraz, Kerman, Bam, Quetta, Kandahar, Kabul, Bamian Valley, Kyhber Pass, Indus river, Lahore, Punjab, Amritsar, Kashmir, Delhi, Agra, Taj Mahal, Vanaris, Patna, Raj Path, Kathmandu, Himalyas. All this undertaken in a 20 year old Asian Greyhound, Swagman Tours, LS Bristol bus. This Indiaoverland company was held together by Norm Harris an expatriate Aussie living in Windsor. With drivers like Bob Ashford, Geoff Lawrence, Clive Parker, Dave Watt, Ronnie Martin, John Witchard, Ken Mcdonald, Derek Amey & couriers Fred Fisher, Jos Livingstone, Peter Swift, Kieren Smith & mechanics Gordon Hammond, Graham Libby, Pomme John & Rastas just to name a few.