West and Central Anatolia, lakes and caravanserais – 4 to 10 January 2023

We left the coast and headed inland after a disappointing trip to Decathlon in Antalya with our shopping list barely touched – probably not a bad thing!

Sultanhani kervansaray. One of the many we’ve seen.

On the map, along the route we were following, were a number of caravanserais (also kervansaray, han or hanı), basically lodgings built for travellers on the Silk Road and where they could resupply themselves and their animals. The caravanserais were built 30-40km apart which would have equated to about a day’s travel

Obruk Hani with a huge sink hole behind.

The buildings are in various states of repair and some now house museums, shops and cafes. The largest caravanserai in Anatolia is Sultanhani which was built in 1229 and reconstructed after a fire in 1278. The covered lodging area is now a carpet museum (not as boring as it sounds!).

Of course we came we had to visit some ruins; the Roman city of Sagalassos which are found at an altitude of 1500m in the Taurus Mountains. The site is one of the Mediterranean’s largest archaeological projects with lots of ongoing excavations. Something we were not expecting was to be handed the keys to the Neon Library which houses a 4th century mosaic. We thought this was one of the most stunning sites we have visited so far.


The Turkish Lake District is found in the mountains of western Anatolia. We had already visited Lake Salda so this time we stayed on the edge of Lake Egirdir, admiring the sunsets.

A beautiful view from the free park up at Lake Egirdir
Lake Egirdir

We also spent a night close to Lake Tuz, one of the world’s largest salt lakes. It’s often pink but only when it is warm and dry, and is slowly drying up as the water feeding it is diverted for towns or agricultural use.

The Mevlevi worship ceremony of the whirling dervishes.

In between the two lakes we spent a night in Konya. As it was a Saturday this meant we were able to catch the weekly sema, the Mevlevi worship ceremony of the whirling dervishes. You can turn up at the Mevlana Culture Centre about 30 minutes before the show and entry was tl50 (£2.15) each and the ceremony lasts about an hour. If you can time a visit to catch the mesmerising ceremony than we’d highly recommend it.

Mevlana Museum.

The nearby Mevlana and Panoramic Museums are also worth visiting. The former houses the tomb of Celaleddin Rumi, later known as Mevlana and who bought the whirling dervishes to the world. It is an old lodge of the whirling dervishes and one of the biggest pilgrimage centres in Turkey, attracting over 1.5 million visitors a year.

The Panoramic Museum

Campsites used:

Kervansaray Camping, Sultanhani: tl250 p/n including EHU. Small grassy campsite just across the road from Sultanhani Caravanserai. Probably quite cramped in the summer and wifi only really worked in the central building. Washing machine but it was out of order when we visited but the owner took my washing and returned it the following morning (I suspect his wife or mum did it for us!). Very friendly and helpful staff.

Other overnight stops:

Susuz Kervansaray: free parking to the rear of the building. The site is covered in litter and the local children were running around the van but they soon got bored when we ignored them. Bumpy, rock strewn ground but fine for an overnight stay. There was an old toilet block there but there was no water connected.

Egirdir: free parking on the peninsula. We parked on an the site of an old cafe which was flat and quiet. One of the other car parks had a couple of hole in the ground style toilets so we were able to empty the toilet cassette. No other facilities but water is plentiful from roadside public water fountains (we have a filter system on the van so are not unduly worried about where we get water).

Konya: large free car park behind the Panorama Museum and next to the Hilton Hotel. No services and a little noisy – it was Saturday night and locals have a habit of parking next to the van and playing loud music.

Lake Tuz: a track off the main road took us down towards the lake but not too close as the ground became very soft and muddy. Parked next to a farmer’s field so no services but spectacular views!

Blog: www.bobandjune.com

YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/bobclewley

Polar Steps: https://www.polarsteps.com/ClewleysOnTour/5755379-the-balkans-and-beyond?s=0A28668E-486F-4DEF-80BA

The Mediterranean Coast, Fethiye to Antalya – 27 Dec 2022 to 3 January 2023

We spent Christmas with our children, who had flown out from the UK, in an amazing villa up in the mountains just south of Fethiye.

Christmas at the AirBnB

If you are looking for somewhere away from it all and with spectacular views and sunsets then Villa Blueview is the place to be. We found it on AirBnB.

One of the fresh market stalls in Fethiye

After Christmas we headed back to Fethiye to join John and Kellie again to continue travelling along the south coast, exploring various beaches and more ruins. We had the best of everything here – places were quiet because it was out of season and the weather was perfect and warm enough to swim and paddle board in the sea.

New Year’s Eve on the water

We celebrated New Year in Kas joining the locals to watch the fireworks over the harbour as a DJ played in the main square. Earlier we’d had dinner with another couple, Simon and Lorraine of Silo Adventures, who we know via social media. This has been a great trip so far for meeting up with fellow travellers!

New Year’s Eve in Kas

Having given ourselves a day to recover from New Year (anything after 10pm is a late night for us!) we said goodbye, at least for the moment, to John and Kellie and followed the coast a little further towards Antalya.  

The coast road, D400, is a stunning road to drive and the Turquoise Coast lives up to its name.

Just beautiful

As it was on our way we visited the rock tombs and ruins of Myra. The rock graves date back to the 4th century BC and the ancient village has origins in the 5th century BC. The theatre is Roman, built over a smaller Hellenistic one, and was the largest in the region, seating over 10,000 people.


Our final stop along the coast was the “burning rocks” of Chimaera. Whilst ancient peoples attributed the flames to the breath of a monster, in reality the source of the flames is natural gases seeping through the rocks.

Marshmallows at Chimaera

We came equipped with marshmallows and sticks to toast over the flames!

Campsites used:

Kas Camping: tl450 (£19.50) per night including EHU. Tiered gravel campsite next to the sea and close to the town. Small pitches but plenty of room out of season. Washing machine was included. Relatively expensive for Turkey but paying for the location.

Other overnight spots:

Fethiye public car park: town centre car park right on the harbour and close to the shops and the old town. The car park is open 24 hours, access is through a security barrier and payment is charged by the hour. We paid tl220 (£9.50) for two nights, arriving late afternoon and departing after breakfast. A small amount of noise but to be expected from the location. No services.

Kalkan: free parking in an old quarry just outside the town. Rough ground but no issue with finding a flat area. No services.

Tekirova: Free. Small beachside carpark next to an old bar. No facilities.

Blog: www.bobandjune.com

YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/bobclewley

Polar Steps: https://www.polarsteps.com/ClewleysOnTour/5755379-the-balkans-and-beyond?s=0A28668E-486F-4DEF-80BA

Homeward bound

Overnight, as normal, we had a little rain but by the morning this had stopped and our journey home started.  There is no doubt in June or my minds we will be returning. In fact when the time is right for us to live this lifestyle permanently, about 2020, we will be bouncing from mountain range to mountain range.  We both love the rugged views and even more the rugged driving.

Even the pylons are painted green.
Even the pylons are painted green.


Our aim was to stop near Reims so we could Carrefour shop.  However we left picking an Aire too late.  We aimed for one we had used a couple of years ago on the return from Lac Annecy but it was full.  The handy app showed another nearby but when we could locate it and asked a local he shook his head saying there wasn’t one, despite there being a sign up on the wall of a house (put no parking places). We headed back to the motorway and picked a small Aire and slept well.

From there we moved on in the morning towards Calais for a bit of shopping.  We found the fuel at the Auchan in Avenue Roger Salengro at least 20 cents a litre cheaper than the motorways.  When you are filling up with over 80 litres that is more than enough for a #Clewleystopsforcoffee treat.

By the time we get home we will have travelled 3750 Kms, 2343 miles. Our 18 Overnight stops were around £360 (including 4 nights at campsites which accounted for about £230). The tolls were around £225 plus £23 for the Swiss Heavy Duty Tax as we are over 4 Tonnes). We used Tesco points towards the EuroTunnel and ended up paying about £30.

Update from the Motorhome parking at Citie Europe.

We have used the Motorhome parking here many times and today was the first time we have ever witnessed any suspicious activity.  While cooking June saw a guy trying to get into a Hymer parked behind us and against the wooded area. Fortunately the van was locked and occupied.  The guy ran off into the woods. Bob went to have a ‘look’ but he had long gone.  As always security should be taken seriously as you would at home.  We never leave the van unlocked or unalarmed. I have other security devices (including my big Maglite) fitted to the Motorhome and ways of monitoring it while we are away.  There is kit out there folks please find it and use it, but never stop living the dream.


A few of the photos we took on this trip.

[wppa type=”slide” album=”16″][/wppa]


What a difference a day makes

A cloudy start as we made our way to the office 25 yards from the campsite entrance  to grab 4 tickets for a return boat trip to Venice. At €13 each…. Not bad for a 20 minute trip each way but be sure to get to the jetty ahead of time – we took the 10am out and 16.30 back, both of which were pretty chaotic!  The boat takes you into Zattere where it is only a quick walk to the main points of interest.

A lived in face
A lived in face

As we walked towards the centre we passed a old chap with a violin.  His face was ‘lived in’ and I am sure he could tell a story or two, he looked a real character.

For June and I it was a return trip but as the day cleared and the sun shone down it became a different Venice to the spring time of our last trip.

A quick stop at the Ponte dell’Accademia for some Time Lapse photography (will be posted when we get home) and on to the Piazza St Marco.

One of the things to do on June’s list was a ride on a gondola.  So after lunch in a little square we made our way back to the outskirts of Piazza St Marco and paid our €80 for a 30 minute trip. It’s the same price for up to 6 passengers and the boats are owned by the gondolier.  It is a ‘got to do’ really and none of us had been on one before. There was no ‘just one cornetto’ sang to us but we did get a bit of history as we were gondoliered along.  Apparently you train with your father for a year, then go to college to study English, French and Spanish together with Venetian history.  You can then take a driving test. After all that you still have to take a swimming/life-saving test before you are qualified…. Or so our Marco Polo told us anyway.

A gondola ride for four
A gondola ride for four

 Back to the camp site for few domestic chores and planning where to go next.  We knew we wanted to go towards the lakes towards the second week and it now looks like we will be off to Lake Maggiore. We have been using an IPhone app called Parking by Campercontact an app by the Netherlands Camper Club. It has proved its worth as you can down load maps for the area you are looking to travel to.  There are other camping apps but they do not have the download option.  I have also saved the sites listed as POIs for TomTom.

Our next stop
Our next stop 

The other app I have found really useful is maps.me. This is £2.99 and again offers the option of downloading the areas you are travelling to.  The maps are really detailed showing Supermarkets cafés etc.