We spend the beginning of October rescuing an odd but cute couple, you can read about that here.
At the 4th of October we drove back into Turkey at the Sarpi border. We did some shopping in Hopa and arranged to have internet in Turkey. From Hopa we drove inland to Cappadocia. We had visited this area in 2012 and remembered how beautiful and special it was. And also Kilian really wanted to go for a bike ride there. He did and you can read about that here. We found a great place to camp, between the rock formations but away from the tourist area’s. Binkie also loved it there as it had a tree and rocks to climb, bushes, grass and plenty of mice! We stayed there for 5 nights and went on hikes through the so called pigeon valley, the red valley and the rose valley. We had great weather and we also enjoyed visiting Göreme, although very touristic it is a lovely town with good food and lots to see.
Meanwhile Kilian had arranged for some major repairs to be done on our van. He had contacted Emre in Gölcük near Izmit, as he came recommended by other overlanders. So we drove to Gölcük. The van would be in the garage for at least 5 days so we found nice place to stay. A cabin which was very basic but had a big garden. Because keeping Binkie inside (a small hotel room) for 5 days would make him really unhappy and he would definitely make sure we’d suffer with him! So while Kilian worked in the garage, I played housewife, cleaning, doing lots of laundry and cooking. And of course taking Binkie for walks. We soon got a house guest, another kitten 😉 Fortunately she didn’t need rescuing although she could do with a home of her own. As she really loved to cuddle. But contrary to Nina and Georgie, she has some shelter and was obviously being fed. She and Binkie didn’t really like each other but they didn’t fight either and Binkie tolerated her inside.
With the van repaired we drove on to Uludag. A mountain area south of Bursa. The forest was beautiful with lots of fall colours, mixed with green pine trees. In the winter it is a popular skiing area. We camped in a pine forest for a few days. During the day we had nice weather, 20–25°C. But in the evening the temperature dropped to 3°C at night! Making us decide to go to the coast.
On the way to the coast we also visited Ulubey canyon. Not something we can recommend to be honest. Yes the canyon is nice. But a river flows through it with dark grey foaming water. Apparently the river is being used as an open sewer and it certainly smelled like that! We camped on top of the canyon, approximately 180m above the river. When we arrived a strong wind was blowing but after a while we started to smell the river. All the way up there! It was now dark so we stayed, hoping the stench would soon blow away. Well it didn’t and the next morning we left without breakfast, abandoning all plans to go hiking or ride a bike. We did quickly drive through a part of the canyon. So here are some stench-free photos for you to enjoy.
We arrived at lake Salda next and this beautiful, azure blue lake, more than made up for the smelly canyon. Salda lake is a crater lake and some of the material found here has also been found on Mars! There is a lot of hydromagnesite mineral in the water. The beaches around the lake are white, combined with the azure blue water the area looks tropical. The mountains around it are covered in pine forest and we found a quiet spot close to the lake with a nice view. Kilian went for a long bike ride. On the last day of October we went for a bike ride together to the visitor centre where you can see a lot of stromalite formations, which are formed by the bacteria in the lake. You can’t really go for a swim in the lake though, the ground is so soft and muddy that you are soon stuck in it up to your knees! Apparently the mud is good for the skin, so you can take your time getting out.