10-31-2012, 12:11 PM
Joined: Dec 2009
Location: East Anglia
Day 14 Side to Pamakkule, Turkey
I had a great sleep; Al however said there was music thumping from the local pub until about 4 am. I must have just been knackered and just slept through it.
Today we headed West through Antalya and up the route 400 with a view of doing a big loop around the coast road and then heading to the 'salt' mountain at Pamakkule.
The road was described to us as the best road in Turkey by one of the locals we met at breakfast this morning; we would be the judge of that. Heading out of Side there are several shiny black grass topped roundabouts, one of which had just been watered. Al gave it a bit too much throttle on the way out of the corner and had a massive slide through his back wheel. He saved it, but it even slowed him up for a while.
We pulled over for a trip down the Tunisian memory lane and had a breakfast of cake and fizzy pop, lovely.
The route 400 is indeed a very pretty road. The scenery is stunning with the sea to your left and mountains to your right for a good hundred miles or so. I would however not say it was a good motorbike road at the moment. it is in the process of being re layered and the procedure for laying roads in Turkey seems to be spray loads of hot tar all over the road, chuck tonnes of gravel on top and then let the cars using the road push all the stones into the tar. The problem with this is the cars create piles of gravel in the parts of the roads that their wheels don’t touch causing several hair raising moments for a bike riding from the inside to the outside of their lane.
The strangest thing happened today. I had pulled over to take a picture of the huge Turkish flag you see below. All of a sudden I could hear voices behind me, I looked around and there was no one there. I then started to hear voices all around me and it freaked me out a bit so I chucked my camera into a pocket and shot off towards Al who you can just see by the flag….. more on this later.
The flag with Al sat just below it
We stopped for a proper lunch at Kalkan in a small restaurant called Kuru's place. I had a local dish called Kofti in yoghurt, while Al had some sort of meat stew. I was amazed to see that it was all cooked by a Turkish cookery class, who just happened to be 5 lads from England on a stag weekend. I don’t remember the last stag weekend I was on being like that, times are a changing.
When we arrived safely at Denizli and stopped for fuel we were again offered tea and again we graciously accepted. It had gotten quite cold and the tea was a godsend.
About 2 minutes after leaving the garage we were waved over to the side of the road by a policeman who informed us we were speeding. There is no way we were speeding as we were in a queue of traffic, but he said if we paid him 150 Turkish Lira he would let us of. His English was not great so we tried to pretend we did not understand him, then that we had no money on us. No luck and he sent us over to the police car where his boss was waiting to issue us a ticket. it was strange that the only cars waiting here for a ticket were all foreign cars and one guy in particular who drove a car with Bulgarian plates on was really going for the cops. We stood back with a smile on our faces and waited our turn.
The Bulgarian man came over and said in English "Don’t pay them, they are robbing Bast***s!" We had no intention of handing any money over to these 2 but I will be happy to pay if it saves me being arrested next time I am in Turkey.
The policeman who pulled us over came over to admire the bikes and said "I have Yamaha RD350. I ride fast everywhere, but I don’t get ticket. I Traffik". Police everywhere, all the same. (Cue police GSer now calling me a twat:) )
I still have the unpaid ticket as they did not tell us how to pay it, so it is a souvenir in with my insurance and spare keys.
When we pulled into Pamakkule which means ‘Cotton Castle’ in Turkish we practically fell into the salt mountain. Within seconds a nice bloke called Ondar came over and tried to get us to come and stay at his B&B. I was not having any of it but he said we could camp as well. It would be 30 TL for camping or we could have a nice room and breakfast for 40 TL. I took one look at Al "Comfy bed it is then".
We quickly changed into something lighter and took a walk up to the salt. It was at this point we found out it is not salt but a substance called travertine which is a sedimentary rock deposited by the hot springs. The hot springs are created by volcanic activity deep underground and it was an immensely pleasurable experience walking up the side of the site in the hot water.
There are pools everywhere which you can lay in but it was getting dark and pretty cold so we made a beeline for the top and sat there on our own with about a 1000 other tourists watching the sun go down.
This was when Al dropped the bombshell on me, remember I said I had heard voices in my head when I stopped to take the photos of the flag, well out of the blue Al says “you know when you stopped to take the photo of the flag I heard voices all around me and there was nobody there”. I am not a believer in ghost’s or the like and I am sure there is some logical solution but come on, that’s a bit weird…. Isn’t it?
We had enough of Kebabs by this time so it was omelette and chips for me washed down with some ice cold Coke.