High Mountain Passes, More Rain and Tacky Tourist Shops!
After another cold final night in Cappadocia we were happy to get moving and hopefully heading to warmer climes. The drive to Konya through the high mountain passes and snowcapped mountains was a pleasure to drive. We had made the decision to try and avoid motorways and toll roads. We followed our map where we could and also selected eco routes on the Sat Nav. This worked out really good as we mostly ended up driving on country roads through very agricultural villages often greeted with stares and almost always followed by a smile or a wave.
Konya for us was just an overnight stop on the way to the Med Coast where we hoped the warmer weather and sunshine awaited. It was already a few degrees warmer in Konya than Cappadocia so it was all looking promising.
The campsite we used we had found on iOverlander. It’s is a rest camp which offered security, a free overnight stop and both electric hook up and water. It was well maintained had clean bathrooms and showers and was located alongside Sehir Park, a beautiful modern park that seemed mostly deserted except for the 100 or so workers. The downside was it was near a busy road and roundabout at which the lorry drivers loved to toot their horns as they approached to warn the many mopeds and cyclists. Not the best thing for a good nights sleep.
The next morning looked like rain so a 7am early start meant we were headed away before the rain really hit. Although our overnight destination was Alanya Dave wanted to visit Mamure Castle in Bazysazi. It was a bit of a long detour but the guidebooks had suggested it was well worth it and the drive through once again high mountain passes, lovely meadows and scenic villages was certainly worth it on its own.
We arrived at the castle late afternoon only to find it being refurbished and totally closed! You could not even park and walk around it. Dave was gutted but after a few minutes to get our bearings again we headed for Alanya.
After a long drive on very windy hilly coastal roads we arrived at our camp stop. Again we were relying on iOverlander for this stop however it was almost derelict with at best a mud patch for us so we moved on. The next camp had no access for cars and was just a beach campsite and our third choice we could not find in the dark. We decided to grab a bite to eat and get some shopping and set off again.
Finally we came across a campsite at about 21.00hrs. It was closed but after a little begging and looking for sympathy they allowed us to stay one night. No facilities whatsoever but still had to pay for the privilege. We parked up and set up in the dark before enjoying a glass of wine and bed. We had been travelling / driving for about 12 hours. We resolved to always try and be set up before it is dark as just finding a wild camp at night is difficult.
We awoke to rain. This was not in the plan when we left Cappadocia however it was indeed warmer. We packed up quickly to try and get moving to find another camp to use as a base for exploring Alanya and Antalya.
The first site we came across was very poor. It being off-season no one was really open or ready for campers and this was certainly the case here. We moved on!
Close by we found Mavi Cennet Pension and Camping a small family run site by the beach and with very friendly owners. For the few days we stayed initially the weather was poor so we sat inside the restaurant catching up on emails and watching UK TV.
They obviously took pity on us as we were well fed by them even though we had already eaten ourselves.
We used Mavi Cennet as a base for the next 4 days to go out and explore the local area, visiting Alanya Castle, Side followed by Aspendos and Selge. The TomTom was proving unreliable. Although it had brand new up to date maps it once again, at Aspendos, took us to completely the wrong place.
Alanya Castle, the views are amazing and don’t make the mistake of walking up. We saw people in bits from the walk up and were glad we drove up. The insides of the castle were disappointing and much better can be found just walking around outside in the village and at no charge.
Side was not so enjoyable not helped by the fact it pretty much rained all day. Side is a ruined coastal city but in amongst it are tourist shops and restaurants. It is nice to see the ruins but you have to walk passed the numerous bag, hat and on this day umbrella sellers. Why someone would go to an archealogical site to buy a bag still dumb founds us both but there they are shop after shop. And of course the obligatory T Shirt sellers and all calling you to come into their shops.
Next was Aspendos, this was quite nice but very busy so after walking around taking everything in we headed for lunch by the river where the TomTom had initially sent us to the wrong place. So after a nice lunch by the river we headed for Selge.
It’s a long drive up into the hills and we visited Oluk Kopausu a bridge and canyon on the way where a lot of people head rafting. From there it was a steep drive higher into the hills to Selge. Sadly as there was nowhere to park and the are was small we enjoyed a drive by viewing and headed back down the hills.
Our final day at Mavi Cennet we decided to have a more chilled day, as it was lovely sunshine so got some washing done, cleaning and tidying Wilson and journals, photos all caught up with.
We decided later to have a drive out to Seleukeia which turned out to be a lovely surprise with very natural environment, no tourist shops or people selling Bags, Hats or T-Shirts and just the ruins with nature. Both of us enjoyed the time there as well as the drive there and bag.
Our last night at Mavi Cennet was a BBQ as it was a lovely evening and spent the night chilling.
Tomorrow we would be leaving and heading inland again to visit the lakes around Egirdir and Isparta.