Trip Start Aug 12, 2009
80Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Should you or any of your nearest and dearest consider ever going to a Hammam, beware, there is nothing Mustafa and Fatima enjoy more than beating the living daylights out of foreigners! For those who are not familiar, following a sauna they scrape you senseless with a kind of scouring pad and subsequently re-invent the Karate kid all over your body. Why are we paying for this we wondered, but even though it hurt like hell, we did feel fabulous afterwards.
We left chilly Cappadocia and headed to Nemrut Dagi via what turned out to be under water Malatya. Having avoided the flooding elsewhere, we were somewhat alarmed to find Malatya under about one foot of water whilst we were on a dilapidated and overcrowded bus with no lights or windscreen wipers. Having found a cheap hotel on the 3rd floor, our newly discovered siege mentality intact, a group of us, an Aussie, German, Kiwi and three Slovenians headed in search of mucho solace otherwise known as a doner kebab
The following day we made it to Nemrut Dagi, an extremely cold mountain, 2,100 metres high on which can be found some rather odd stone heads - a little like Easter Island perhaps? Amazing site and so isolated - definitely worth the trek to get there.
Heading south towards the Syrian border we arrived in Sanliurfa (Glorious Urfa) where we were an instant hit with at the local restaurant, they invited us in for tea during the afternoon then when we returned for dinner we got more free tea, grapes and salads - if only we'd known we wouldn't have bothered ordering anything and would have saved our Lira.
We moved on to Gaziantep where as luck would have it we discovered there was a football match that evening. Having made friends with the fans and local press we bought two tickets for just eight pounds for a "Premier League" game - Gaziantepspor v Ankaraspor.
Match Report: We witnessed four goals (sadly we only scored one of them), lots of drums, flares and a small riot! Luckily the flying seats did not venture in our direction. The following day was far more sedate as we saw some of the most incredible mosaics.
And finally on to Antakya, our border crossing into Syria. Turkey has truly exceeded all of our expectations and while we are excited to be moving on, we are also a little bit sad. See our Turkish Delights for a summary of our main highlights.