The hill, overnight buses and a couple more buses
Trip Start Mar 14, 2009
214Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
We had no choice we had to go up in the middle of the day. We gave ourselves plenty of time so we could stop in the shade so we didn't over heat, oh and to take in the last of the amazing view you get along the way. (We could have caught a jeep up, 5 minutes would cost 30TL each, no chance I would rather get a snake bite along the way and we still wouldn't pay that extortionate rate. In Dino's eyes this is a day in India or China.)
By the time we reached the top Dino was sweeting so much he was literally dripping with it, his shorts were so damp from sweet that they actually looked as if he had sat in a puddle. All in all we did good. The next person to arrive to the top was even more impressive than Dino, it looked as if he had crawled into a pool of his own sweet and than dragged himself the rest of the way up the hill.
Arriving in Fethiye we discovered Dino's planned route of escape was full and we had just missed the other direct bus to Antakya by 10 minutes. Dino ran up and down the full length of the bus terminal, in and out of each company looking for alternatives. The only option he found was to go to Antalya (near Olympos, where we had just left) and from there catch an overnight bus to Antakya and hope there was a connecting bus to Aleppo. The bus to Antalya departed at 4.45pm (the guy that sold us the ticket had said 4.30) and the bus from there to Antakya departed at 9pm. Shona was then reading that it takes at least 4hrs to get from Fethiye to Antalya, but the guy selling the tickets tried to reassure us that the bus should be there by 8.15pm leaving plenty of time.
As usual a pleasant journey with snacks, beverages and children throwing up.
8.15pm came and went and so did a sign saying 'Antalya 50' still to go. We started making a plan B when it was 8.45pm and we saw a sign saying still 30km more, however we turned a corner and there we were. Never have we enjoyed the sight of a bus station as much as at that moment. (Bus from Fethiye to Antakya 63TL each)
With time to spare we made our bus just in time for them to hand out ice cream. The passenger behind Dino asked him throughout the night if he needed any water. All in all a pleasant journey.
There is just one problem with the night buses in this country, they believe that know one is trying to sleep. Why else would they turn on all the lights at every single stop through out the night. Don't they realise that it is 1.30 in the morning and people are trying desperately to sleep.
An hour before we reached Antakya the bus assistant asked for our passports and asked if we were going to Aleppo. "Yes" (how did he know?). He would sort out our tickets for us and have someone meet us when we got off the bus.
Shona can't believe how much she loves the convenience of this country.
Antakya to Aleppo only cost us 15TL each, that was the price of a drink in the Bull Bar in Olympos.
We were soon shepherded onto our fourth bus for this trip and were soon off again at the boarder. There was no polite waiting in que here, if you didn't push you weren't getting your exit stamp. Our bus already one person down drove onto the Syrian boarder. (Some guy had a new passport with out the corrects stamps in it, and got left behind). Everyone had their visas for Syria so it didn't take to long. Off to customs were all the foreigners got let be and had a nice chat with a customs guy we are sure was allocated to talk nicely to foreigners, while the locals got their bags thoroughly search/ransacked tipped out and searched. Odd. It didn't take long for our driver to bribe them and off we went now on our 5th bus. God it was taking us a while to get to Aleppo.
Well it didn't take long once we were in Aleppo to discover how friendly the people really are, every time we pulled out our maps to find our way we had a crowd of people around us trying to help us. Kids just wanted a chat. People would slow down in their cars just to shout out 'Hello.' We heard they were friendly but we would never have thought. With all the help, some of it correct some of it not so much it didn't take long to find our hotel.