And We Are Off !
Our first day, the start of #thebigtrip2017.
We said our goodbyes to our friends in Cyprus over the week we came back from UK, always sad to say goodbyes but we hoped an exciting adventure is ahead.
The week in Cyprus was supposed to give us time to get Wilson the Landy and Lara the Trailer all packed up and prepped but this had to be constrained into 2 days and no chance to give Wilson a good run after all the work that was completed.
And so it was that we checked out of the rented apartment in Limassol and headed on Wilson's first test run with the trailer to Kyrenia in North of Cyprus where we would catch our ferry to Turkey.
Crossing the border at Nicosia we were charged double insurance, one for the Land Rover and one for the trailer. Dave asked why it wasn't like that last year when we crossed into the North and they said it was a new rule, so we had to pay insurance for Wilson and also for Lara the trailer. The minimum insurance you can get is 1 month even though we would leave North Cyprus after only a few hours later that evening.
We killed some time in Kyrenia until we had to catch the ferry at 11.30pm, from Kyrenia to Tasucu, Turkey. We wanted to buy a SIM card for our phone that would work in Turkey to save us searching when we got off the ferry but we were told that a Northern Turkish sim card would still be charged roaming charges in Turkey.
The sim card was needed for the HGS Toll Road charges and breakdowns etc whilst in Turkey. So we had to wait until we got to the mainland.
We also decided to keep a UK SIM card in one of phones as an emergency number for our family and made sure it is topped up at all times.
After enjoying a stroll and then an evening meal in Kyrenia we headed to the Ferry Terminal. We had heard horror stories about the boarding process from "Ann and Cliffs Great Adventure" and also from Scott of "wearthefoxhat.com" . Officially we were told to arrive 2 hours before our departure but Dave being Dave we arrived 3 hours before.
Thanks to the info we had received above we knew exactly where to go to exchange our vouchers and then waited. As instructed Dave and Landy travelled to the boat as drive on and Angela had to walk on through the terminal.
At 21.30hrs 2 hours before departure the gates opened for Dave, he went through passport control and then customs with no problems before heading to await final boarding. Angela had to sit in the terminal for about ¾ hour being stared at which did not make her feel comfortable.
Dave was told to park up at the side of the Ferry and await instructions, where as Angela went through passport control and told to go through the door, but then no further instructions so she started walking to the Ferry. The Ferry was right round the harbour, it was a bit longer walk than expected and very dark but eventually she saw Dave and Wilson so jumped in and waited, it was now 22.15hrs. Whilst waiting Angela noticed that a bus was running walk on passengers to the Ferry so she could have avoided the long walk.
We sat in car expecting to be on ferry and sailed by 11.30pm but no, every lorry, pick-up, car carriers etc were loaded first. Eventually we were instructed to drive on about 1.45am and were told we were going on a lift to the upper car deck. The few cars first then us but they wanted Dave to reverse the Landy and Trailer through a tight spot between a lorry and the lift. No chance, so we drove straight onto the lift. The guy at the top was very good at directing Dave reversing the Landy and Trailer into position between lorries and cars. It took another hour before we sailed at approximately 3.00am and we were exhausted.
On the ferry everyone had positioned themselves for sleeping with blankets on the floor and guys grabbed any long couches for sleeping. As we were so late getting boarded all the decent seating was gone so we got normal seats with a table not easy to get comfy for sleeping and best we managed was maybe a few hours.
We arrived about 08.00hrs and the disembarking was a lot quicker, thank goodness. With the aid of the Tasucu Port layout from "Ann and Cliffs Great Adventure" we were able follow their lead and the first port of call was passport control with no problems, followed then by insurance which was €85 for 3 months and again no problems. Next was import control which turned into a bit of a problem. The Landy (Wilson) was given paperwork, but as the Trailer (Lara) was separately registered Dave mentioned it would need to be also imported. Then there was a problem as the computer couldn’t register it as a trailer, it could be a caravan etc but not a description for a trailer.
The girl was very helpful and asked us to wait until everyone else had gone so she could sort it out. Nearly 2 ½ hours later she managed to register it and it was imported too.
We thought that was it all done but the car control (customs) wanted to look into everything, I think they just wanted to check out the Landy and Trailer. Finally we got to leave and at the gate we had to pay another 25 TL for the trailer as they hadn’t charged us for that. Now our journey in Turkey begins.
Before we left Tasucu we had to find a Post Office (PTT) they called it to buy an HGS Toll Sticker for the windscreen which we put money onto so we could pass through tolls. Also we had to buy a Turkish SIM card to be able to buy the toll sticker so we could register it and get a balance sent whenever we passed a toll road.
So after all the running around by about 13.00hrs we were finally on our way to Cappadocia both exhausted and with an expected 6 hour drive.
From Tasucu we followed the coast road to Mersin before heading inland through snow covered mountains. Angela missed the roads to Mersin as she couldn't keep her eyes open. We were very surprised to be driving through valleys and with mountains above full of snow very picturesque. The highways were very good and not extremely busy.
We stopped for a late lunch break at a roadside service station where the food was vey good and revived us for carrying on our journey.
We arrived in Goreme about 18.00hrs where we found Kaya Camping. We were the only ones there as the season hasn't really started yet. It was clean, the showers were very good, hot water and very powerful. The shop wasn’t stocked or pool open but it was still too early in the year. Free electric hook up and good wifi.
We got ourselves organised and put the tent up then decided to go into Goreme for diner as we were exhausted, we found a restaurant and had a traditional food. I think we both fell asleep very quickly and slept very well until 8.30am and enjoyed some coffee admiring the scenery from our camp.