We had put off the climb out of Kas for a day, our pension faced the climb and it looked steep. We decided to head back on the main road as it didn’t look quite so bad. After 10km and over 600 meters we had made it to the top. It was a bit cooler here but already in the mid twenties. It felt as if we had hit summer already, but it was only early April. There was a beautiful smell of orange blossom everywhere. The mediterranean coast was much more barren than the Aegean with the mountains coming right down to the sea. There were fewer sea birds around. The towns were very different as well. Kas was pretty and touristy others such as Demre were modern working towns. In Fethiye we came across areas that had been taken over by expats and enjoyed a curry and some fish and chips for a change.
There were still Greek and roman ruins scattered along the coast.The tourist season was coming and everywhere restaurants were being cleaned out and renovated. Hotels were beginning to open. As we got nearer to Antalya huge leisure complexes appeared surrounded by walls and protected by security guards. Already busloads of holidaymakers were arriving.
The roads were good and until we got near to Antalya the traffic sparse. We went through some beautiful national parks in the mountains, the tallest of which still had some snow on top. The warmer weather must have cut short the ski season though.
Antalya was a surprise, a modern city with a pretty old town area that was cycle friendly? It had cycle routes that followed the tram lines, we were a bit dubious at first but the system worked well and the trams were not very frequent.
All the hills had taken their toll and we needed a break, We had 5 weeks left on our visa and Turkey is huge. We decided to catch the coach to Cappadocia and spend a few days walking. The coaches in Turkey are excellent. They connect the big cities through out of town big coach stations. We bought tickets stressing that we had 2 bikes to carry and with some trepidation cycled out of Antalya. We needn’t have worried, I took the pedals off and dropped the saddles and turned the handlebars around. The bikes fitted in standing up with no problem. The coach was comfortable and we were served tea and snacks during the 9 hr trip. After the climb through the mountainsa lot of the countryside was flat steppe and featureless.
The coach took us to Goreme a small village in the centre of the national park. The rock formations were amazing and they spread out along numerous valleys which cut into the sandy terrain. There were countless rock houses and we stayed in a cave hotel cut into the hillside. We explored the many walking trails through fantastic scenery. The rocks varied in colour from white to pink to red and yellow. They had been formed after volcanic activity finished tens of thousands of years ago. We walked along love vally so called because the rocks looked like giant phalluses. Rose valley, red valley and dove valley. It was very quiet and we only saw a few people despite walking for hours.
We indulged ourselves in a balloon ride, after an early start we clambered into a balloon with 12 others for an amazing flight. We flew with Butterfly balloons who were very slick. The ride took us up to a 1000 meteres and right down to nearly ground level through some of the valleys. The pilot landed the balloon back on the trailor and we all celibrated with a glass of champagne.