Alanya part one
36 33.5 N 31 56.9 E
ALANYA 20th - 24th MAY
With an arrival slot in Alanya between 1700 and 1800 we decided to allow 12 hours for the 70 mile journey which meant an early start! Our instructions were to put on the navigation lights when we were ready to leave so the marina staff in the 'joker' boat (rib) could escort us to the entrance and ensure there were no 'traffic' incidents as this marina is quite small, especially with 65 boats all wanting to leave around the same time! We were duly under-way with the main hoisted by just after 0500 and proceeded to motor sail most of the way. We managed two hours in total of just sailing when a breeze filled in but it soon disappeared. Our arrival in Alanya was timed perfectly and we were allocated a good spot on the main inner harbour wall, stern in next to several of our 'yellow' group friends. (The fleet is divided up into groups according to size we are group 3 yellow with boats from 12.1 – 12.8 metres). Having settled in we had a look round the marina as we plan to stay here for the winter. The swimming pool and poolside bar were lovely and the shower and toilet facilities excellent. There is a lively 'live-aboard' group and people from these boats were able to give us plenty of local information. As we were going to Cappadocia (think Troglodytes) the following morning early for two days we had an early night.
A rather bleary eyed group of people met on the dock at 0345 to board our fleet of buses for the journey into central Anatolia – with the area known as Cappadocia as our destination. Most of us tried to sleep on the journey which began with a ride along the new duel-carriage way past countless large hotels that stretch west from Alanya along the coast (not particularly nice). We then turned inland and the scenery began to improve as we rose quickly into the Taurus mountain range.
The topography was a mixture of the Alps and the Dolomites with small villages nestling in the occasional upland valley and craggy hill tops covered in pine and other trees some with traces of snow! Our fist stop was made on the way down as the brakes on our bus were over heating and there was a distinct smell of burning rubber – fortunately the scheduled stop for breakfast at 0600 was nearby and we were soon in a lovely road side service station. We had a good breakfast ( a cold platter of meat, hard boiled eggs, cheese, olives and bread -though neither of us fancied the olives). Meanwhile an engineer had been called and while the brake problem was investigated we were able to have a look round the small bazaar inside the building and have a walk around outside. The air was fresh and smelt of the mountains and we could still see the tall snow capped crags of the tallest mountains in the distance. It took over an hour to fix the coach and then we set off across a rather flat landscape where agriculture is the prime feature. Fields interspersed with vine and olive plantations and occasional citrus groves. We were taken to most of the main 'sights' too many to go into detail but our overall impression was amazement at the contrast in life and scenery and the vastness of inland Turkey! Highlights were the underground and above ground 'caves' and the weird chimney like structures caused by erosion over thousands of years. All in all we were pleased to have made this trip but the time spent on the coach out weighed the time for sight-seeing and we felt that we would have preferred longer to see everything.