Billy BOING Tripping with his best mates Andy & Alissa - Billy BOING Modeling a 'Wild Flamingo' Bracelet
As the glistening blue sea came into view Andy screamed louder than an excited kid on his first visit to the beach. Rational thought vanished and we ploughed straight into a sand dune … on road tyres. The rear wheel laughed and kicked gold dust everywhere, burying itself up to the panniers. And, just like with a kid, it took Andy and Alissa hours, three buckets of sweat and a lot of swearing to get the XT off the beach. There wasn’t much I could do… apart from getting the drinks in while I waited.
But we didn’t care. The sea was shining a turquoise tint, the sand hot to the touch and we couldn’t stop laughing (after they got the bike out of the sand). We were finally on Turkey’s Mediterranean coastline … and we loved it!
We knew things were looking up as we first joined the Aegean coast at Cannakele, two weeks before linking up with the Med. We latched onto the coastal road at Canakkale to visit the huge Trojan horse movie prop from the film ‘Troy’, the area where the Trojan wars took place and its settlements dating back to 3000BC. From Troy we got sucked into a week of historical exploration as we toured the western coast.
Turkey’s peppered with incredible ruins, but the most famous of all is Ephesus; an ancient city first belonging to the Greeks, then the invading Persians and Romans. It was first founded 1000BC and prospered to become one of the most important cities in the world. It peaked during the first and second centuries AD under Roman influence, with around 400,000 residents at its height. As a diverse and incredibly wealthy city it attracted thousands of pilgrims, merchants and people from all over Asia.
Despite only uncovering 15% of the city, it’s still astonishing; the Great Theatre seats 24,000 people, the terrace houses are as close to walking through archaeological finds as you can get and the details in the stone carvings on the temples and libraries are mesmerising. Sitting on the stone steps of a theatre, looking out onto an arena once filled over 2,000 years ago is incredible.
Our route detoured back inland to visit the cascading, terrace waterfalls of Pamukkale before heading back to the coast for the town of Dalyan. At the Dalayan river a little ferry appeared and waved us on. Not knowing where it was headed and with no other passengers on board we accepted and crossed the emerald green river. As the boat abandoned us on the shore and started to chug away, we shouted after the driver, asking how we get back – ‘yes’ was his reply. We rode underneath tombs carved into mountains, took a mud bath, made friends with tortoises crossing the road and relaxed, waiting for ferries to flit across the river.
The road turned from boring two-lane straights to a ribbon of pretty black tarmac, lacing its way along the seafront and wrapping around cliff faces until we ended up in a tree house in Cirali and spent days on its completely deserted beach. We hiked up a mountain to find the eternal flames of Yanartas. Burning continuously for over a thousand years the fires are steeped in legend and rumour – mainly about fire breathing monsters. After a quick Google search, turns out it’s most probably methane gas escaping from the rock. Either way, it’s pretty cool!
As much as we love the warm sand, blue sea, ruins and natural phenomenon we’ve now run out of precious coastline and have to start our ascent north again. Next stop is the magical kingdom of Cappadocia… and we cannot wait!
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