Finally, on day 367, our African Overland Journey was underway as we left the bustling capital of Uganda, Kampala, joined by two of our fellow overlander’s who had arrived late, New Zealanders Craig and Michele along with our Kenyan guide Kanyo destined for Jinja, a town on the banks of the raging Nile River, to meet the rest of our group. Our anticipation was growing as we tackled the traffic and passed by lush green fields and forests of the Ugandan countryside, through ramshackle towns and onto the bumpy dirt roads to our peaceful camp overlooking the White Nile in Bujagali Falls.
Sometimes things just don’t go as planned. When traveling it is good to have a flexible itinerary so if things come up, or complications arise, you can just move on to somewhere else. Our entire trip we have just planned as we go, always with a good idea of what we want to see and do. Originally we had planned to visit Jersey and afterwards embark on an expedition through Eastern Europe, across Russia and into Mongolia and China on the Trans-Siberian Railway, a journey which is slightly more difficult without a little prior planning. This whole leg of the trip was becoming quite problematic, when eventually we decided to just change course all together and travel somewhere slightly more exotic, like Africa, our seventh and final continent of our superamble about the world!
If Turkey is spoiled with beaches then it is absolutely inundated with some of the world’s most historically important ancient Greek and Roman cities in the world. Hierapolis and Ephesus are just two such sites in a country brimming with archaeological gems, most of which are barely uncovered. Making a stop to at least one of these sights is crucial if you want to learn about Turkey’s vivid past. And if a surreal landscapes like the dazzling white Travertine’s at Pamukkale just happen to be on the way, then it’s vital to make at least a brief stopover.
Turkey is spoilt with some of the most remarkable coastline in the northern hemisphere. Sharp jagged cliffs meet white sand and brilliant sparkling blue water, with cute fishing villages and remote beaches along windy roads following the sea. They don’t call it the “Turquoise Coast” for no reason! Picturesque seaside villages like Kalkan, with its fusion of Eastern European and Turkish buildings adorned in colourful flowers, and stunning beaches such as Kaputaş and the Butterfly Valley with their glittering white sand and superb turquoise waters, help to feed this romantic vision of the Mediterranean. Then there are seedy towns like Hisarönü and its overcrowded beach Ölüdeniz, which remind you that not everywhere can be so perfect.
There is nothing that quite captures our imaginations like peculiar and extraordinary landscapes. We have been very fortunate on our adventure, plonking ourselves in some pretty bizarre and unreal places like the moonscapes of the Bolivian Salt Flats, the vast quiet of Patagonia, the pristine in Antarctica, the untamed in the Amazon, the loneliness of the Guajira Peninsula, and the surreal lava fields of Iceland. Landing in Cappadocia, off the overnight bus from Istanbul, we were thrilled to have landed ourselves in Turkey’s most enigmatic environment: the curious Cappadocia, where troglodytes inhabit strange rock formations, and underground ancient relics dot the voluptuous landscape, just waiting to be explored.
Travelling is all about learning and exploring places unlike your own. It is about experiencing the world from another perspective. When we were trying to decide where to go after France and Jersey we decided we wanted to go somewhere like we have never been before; somewhere culturally diverse, historically stimulating, architecturally captivating and gastronomically delectable. Turkey has all of these qualities and more; an epic history spanning many great Empires, breathtaking landscapes, spectacular beaches, a fascinating Muslim heritage, inspiring architecture and mouth watering food. We were quick to buy up last minute flights to Istanbul, the pulsating cultural capital of this massive country on route to the next leg of our superamble about the world.