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  • Polaris Overland

Cappadocia - Fairy Chimneys, Troglodytes and Blown Intercoolers

We arrived late afternoon early evening and found Kaya Camping almost my accident stumbling onto it as we headed into Goreme.

As we were to find out later the season had not really started so most places were at best in maintenance mode and worst a poor state of repair, as maintenance had not been started.

We decided on our pitch got ourselves set up and preceded into Goreme for dinner in a nice Turkish restaurant, which sadly did not serve alcohol. Not that either of us was too bothered as we were both tired so after eating we head back to camp and bed.

Next day we started out by visiting the Goreme Open Air Museum. It was a lovely warm day and we spent more than a few hours wandering around the caves and churches. Many churches still had the original paintings and mosaics to admire.

As we headed back to the Land Rover we were spotted by a young German couple Frederik and Charlotte. They too were overlanding but in the opposite direction taking a year heading to Singapore as their honeymoon. They, we were to soon see, had an impressively kitted out Land Rover Defender 110 and were travelling as silkroad-marriage.

After lunch we took the chance to drive out from Goreme and explore the surrounding area.

The following day we decided on a lazy morning before heading off to visit Ortihisar Castle.

Although not so much a castle in the true sense, more a hollowed out rock with passageways running up inside to hollowed out room but giving great views over the surrounding areas and Ortihisar Town itself. Around the base are small cafes and stalls selling dried fruit. We followed up Ortihisar Castle with visits to Zelve Open Air Museum, then Pasabag Pass full of fairy chimneys.

For us we preferred the quiet of Zelve Open Air Museum as opposed to Goreme however Zelve did lack the beautiful paintings and mosaics.

Pasabag Pass is where the best of the Fairy Chimneys are found and the strangest looking police station we have ever seen.

Frederik, Charlotte and ourselves were all meant to be going ballooning that morning but this was cancelled due to bad weather. We had hoped to catch them there to see if they would like to meet up for a meal and introduce ourselves properly. But to our surprise they contacted us on instagram and asked if we would like to go for a meal that evening which we readily accepted.

We met up in Gerome and went to a restaurant called Sultan, which served excellent food shared with good company. As they had already travelled where we were headed we had plenty to ask them and as always it’s great to talk Land Rovers. Frederik and Charlotte were staying in a Cave Hotel but for their final night would be camping. We mentioned our campsite they said they might join us tomorrow for a night camping which would be great.

The following day we drove up to Derinkyu and The Underground City. We found the underground city bought our tickets then followed the crowd into a door and down. They must have been tiny people as we were continually ducking down or crouching through narrow passages to get to rooms and different levels. Someone said the reason for building underground cities was to hide from enemies. An interesting visit but not for the very tall or the claustrophobic for sure.

On the drive back Dave boost pressure seemed low and Wilson was accelerating a bit sluggish. We knew before leaving Cyprus that the Intercooler might have a small leak so it looked like the mountains coming over from, Tasucu to Goreme had finally blown the intercooler. Dave sent a message to Liz at F&E 4x4 in Cyprus who confirmed that it was most likely the Intercooler.

Next Dave contacted Overland Anatolia who Dave had been speaking with online when planning the trip. They recommended Hakan in Ortihisar just a few miles from our campsite so we headed straight there to see if anything could be done.

Hakan proceeded to remove the intercooler sometimes using home made spanners and big hammers that had Dave worried but finally the intercooler was off and it was not looking pretty.

Hakan tried to get a replacement but initially nothing was available in Turkey. Dave was phoning his contacts in the UK to see how quick we could get one and at the same time Hakan tried a temporary repair. The temporary repair at least kept us mobile until a new intercooler could be found but this was not looking great until later that evening Hakan said he had found one in Istanbul and it would hopefully “inshallah” arrive Monday.

We headed back to the campsite resolved to extra days staying in Goreme to find Frederick and Charlotte had camped up next to us. It was great to have company and discuss the problems with Wilson. They showed us around their Defender and we showed our Trailer and Wilson getting ideas from each other on how we might improve things.

That night we had a bbq with Frederik and Charlotte, drank a few beers and glasses of wine and enjoying the beautiful sunset. It got very cold that evening. Frederick and Charlotte had the balloons booked for the following morning so it was an early start for them at 4.45. Through the night the wind was blowing and we expected the ballooning to be cancelled but it went ahead and the sun was shinning.

When they came back they were all very excited and full of stories about their adventure, persuading Angela she would be fine if and when we finally got our trip.

As we were stuck until the intercooler arrived we took the opportunity to get the washing all done and to re-organize all our clothes and boxes. Something that should have happened in the week in Cyprus before we left but due to mechanical problems with Wilson had never happened.

It was now very cold and wet, everything was cold and damp and the weather had certainly taken a turn for the worse.

After a cold night, frost in the morning, we watched the balloons with our coffee. We organised more boxes and hung the bedding out to air, as everything was damp.

Dave gave the students (Ebubeter and Neusat) we had met that were camping and had arrived the day before firelighters to start a fire. They booth looked frozen after a cold night for them in their tent but with the fire burning they soon warmed up.

They surprised us by making us a traditional Turkish breakfast of tomatoes, herbs, cheese that was very tasty with fresh buns and fully appreciated by us both. We made coffee and we all sat together drinking and chatting as best we could even with the language problems. We exchanged contact details and they said they would follow us so when we get to Istanbul we can meet up again for coffee.

In the afternoon we decided to head out for a drive and explore some more. We found Sari Han a caravanerserie near Avanos built in 1249. In the evening they have the whirling dervish dancers but we had been told it was best to see them in Konya or Istanbul. Following on from Sari Han we decided to carry on to Uchisar Castle. This was very good and the views were amazing. The snow had started and you could see more coming over the hills (very cold).

On way back to campsite we stopped in Gerome for an ice cream and to pass time in the warmth rather than sitting in cold in tent. Angela had deep-fried ice cream which she had never had before but which she enjoyed with cornflakes all around and ice cream in middle.

In the evening rather than sitting in cold tent we decided to go for Chinese meal and while there make decisions on where we were going next as Mount Nemrut would be colder and it was unclear online if we would get through pass.

We both decided that we weren’t enjoying the cold and have made decision to go to Med Coast looking for warmth and travel around there. We decided we could head along the Black Sea Coast from Istanbul if we both want to head that way.

Early start next day at 4.30am as we were being picked up by Voyager Balloons at 4.45am. We were picked up and taken for breakfast before flight. The day had arrived for Angela who is scared of heights but although apprehensive and nervous Angela was determined to do it as she might never get chance to do this again.

Transported to the site where lots of balloons awaited for passengers, the bus we were allocated was no 13 not a good omen but with approximately 16 people in our balloon all of various nationalities. We climbed in and were explained landing position if there was a problem. We were introduced to our Captain Cem who Dave thought sounded like Borat, which made him laugh whenever Cem spoke.

Soon we were airborne up and away over the fairy chimneys feeling like you could nearly touch them, the captain took us in the direction of Ortahisar Castle over the mountains and already Angela had forgotten her fear of heights marvelling at how beautiful the views were and you could see for miles. It was a bit chilly but we were both wrapped up warm.

We saw a silver fox running along the hills and a dog tried to follow our balloon until we went too high. We were in the air for approximately an hour but it passed very quickly, before we landed the basket onto the back of the trailer.

To end the flight we all enjoyed a glass of champagne and a toast to us all especially Angela for her bravery. We were dropped back at campsite about 8.00am for coffee, shower and some washing.

We decided to go into Gerome for lunch and to organize photos onto the computer. We took the opportunity to get caught up with Facebook, emails etc. then had a walk up to sunset point at top of the town and enjoyed the views.

Dave was awaiting a call from Hakan to say the intercooler had arrived and at approximately 3.00pm he was told to head up to get it fitted. 2 ½ hours later the intercooler changed and a few other adjustments everything was working great and Dave was finally happy. Finally all done, and grateful for Hakan’s help so we can carry on our adventure.

Our last night in Cappadocia, so we went and enjoyed our dinner in a little Turkish restaurant, which had a roaring fire and was very nice indeed. We headed back to camp and bed both exhausted from being up so early to do the balloons and we wanted to get started reasonably early as we headed for the sun.

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