The Adventure Family’s route through Turkey is punctuated by outstanding hospitality, breathtaking scenery and a small delivery problem
SO FAR: The two couples and four children of the Adventure Family have travelled overland from Sweden through Germany, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania and Macedoina to Greece in their two well-equipped Defenders. Now, en route to Australia, the families are headed for Turkey... EARLY MORNING we packed our vehicles and set off for the border between Greece and Turkey. Our aim was to reach Istanbul in the morning of the following day. The border crossing was over in an hour and the only difficulty was that the UK insurance document for the 110 Defender wasn’t combined with a green card, something the issuing company

by Milan Harell Poznic
refused since the insurance paper on its own stated that Turkey was included in the policy. The Turks, on the other hand, were not interested in anything other than the green card. Eventually, 50 euros were wasted getting a Turkish one-month insurance policy. However, we knew that, except for the short transit through Albania, this was the start of the real adventure. We had not just crossed another border but also entered the country where west meets east and where churches are a rare sight. It was agreed that, from now on, we should choose the route following tips from locals and that our stay in Turkey shouldn’t extend to more than two weeks. In Istanbul we decided to stay at the Bauhaus Hostel located in a wonderful area on the European side of the Bosporus (Istanbul Strait). The two Land Rovers occupied most of the narrow cobbled street outside the hostel and during our three-day stay many locals curiously asked if we were taking part in the Camel Trophy. repeated many times during the following weeks. Even the charismatic owner of the hostel turned out to love what we are doing and, after a late night together in the bar, a route through Turkey was sketched out for us. This route would first take us south-west, to the Mediterranean sea, then inland, left and right, up and down. We realised that we might have to stretch our original time plan. But it was a very appealing route since the hostel owner promised us that it would not follow the normal charter-tourist destinations. After applying for Iranian visas (to be picked up in eastern Turkey) we left Istanbul by ferry to Jalova after which our first stop was Iznik. We were in Asia! Iznik is a small, historical town located next to a beautiful lake with the same name. We stopped at the tourist office to ask for a site on which to camp but we were redirected to the tourist police office a few blocks away. In the search for this we made a wrong turn into a small backyard full with mini buses and I realised that it would be difficult to get out of there – particularly because we soon were surrounded by people talking and shouting over each other. I got out of the car to find out what it was all about and realised that they were making space for us to park. Even though this wasn’t the purpose of our presence we
Above, from left: View over the Blue Mosque, Istanbul, from the Bahaus Hostel; Luka and Tuvalie chasing bugs in front of Aya Sofia Church, Iznik; The resort in Iznik where we were kindly hosted by the mayor. Below right: Richard climbing the hill in Pamukkale, carrying Oliver on his back.

guests of the mayor

reaching Asia

Above right: Tuvalie and Oliver at Lalezar camping in Dogobayazit. Main: Climbing some steep hills to reach our Ayvalik stopover.

To their disappointment I had to explain that the well-known competition does not exist any more and that we are nothing more than two families travelling around together. That made them even more excited. We were always given the thumbs-up and shown the great admiration the locals have for these vehicles. This reaction was

thought that it may be easier to park the cars there and walk to the police. Then a well-dressed, German-speaking gentleman, who turned out to be a tractor dealer, introduced himself offering his assistance. We explained what we were doing, he picked up his mobile and a few minutes later a police car with a policeman and another well-dressed gentleman appeared. The tractor dealer explained that they would show us a few good campsites and I jumped into the police car with our Germanspeaking friend. After driving along the lake and being shown a few places they asked whether we really must camp. I explained that that is the way we travel and also


UNESCO IS the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. It was founded on November 16, 1945. For this specialised United Nations agency, it is not enough to build

classrooms in devastated countries or to publish scientific breakthroughs. Education, social and natural science, culture and communication are the means to a far more ambitious goal: to build peace in the minds of men.

Richard and Lina Poskitt, Tuvalie (4), Oliver (2),

Milan and Pia Harell Poznic, Luka (4), Tanja (2),

48 December 2008 LAND ROVER monthly

LAND ROVER monthly December 2008 49


that our budget did not allow us to stay in too many hotels. They then stopped in front of a villa with its own bit of coast and a magnificent jetty and explained that we are welcome to stay there as long as we wanted for free and as guests of the mayor. It turned out that the other gent was the mayor’s assistant. Shortly after, we were back by the Land Rovers and escorted by the police to our free resort. Iznik was very nice and the people amazingly friendly. We stayed for a few days, after which we continued our journey and visited Ayvalik, by the Mediterranean Sea, the old city of Ephesus, Bergama and Pamukkale. Pamukkale, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, turned out to be the most enjoyable place for the kids this far into our journey. Above the village there is a hill

Above left: Tanja and Luka having fun around the natural pools in Pamukkale. Above right: The first view of Cappadocia. Inset: The Berlin camping in Göreme, Cappadocia. Main: On set at a Kurdish music video.

covered with calcium deposited by the mineral water flowing down from the hot water spring at the top. The calcium makes the entire hill white and full of small waterfalls and natural pools. Heaven for the little ones. That night we camped in the garden of a family-owned B&B and were accompanied by a Norwegian couple on their way to South Africa in their Land Cruiser.

houses from which one might expect the Fraggles to live in – I’ve never seen anything like it. Pia’s first reaction was to think of Star Wars and it turned out that parts of one of the movies have been filmed there. The first night we stayed in a cave hostel and for the following two nights we camped. We had now travelled for about five weeks and there had been a build up in tension between us.

When they saw the Land Rovers and the blond kids getting out of them, they very quickly approached us and welcomed us to the palace.
The next day we continued to Cappadocia; it was a long drive but the first glance of the valley, uncovered very abruptly after a narrow bend, made at least me lose my breath. We were looking at boulders shaped as cones, which have been carved out to form cave This was not unexpected as we all knew that living together for considerable amount of time is not something we are used to – we all need our private space. So we decided to break up for some time and travel independently of each other.

Richard and Lina just needed to replace that rear ball joint that we did not have time to replace in Sweden before we left. We all went to a garage but, as the job was done – for very little money, there was a power cut and the car could not be lowered off the lift. So, on the same day that we decided to split up for a while we were all sitting in a small office waiting for electricity. It took such a long time that we decided to get into the 130 and do some sightseeing to an underground city. So, there we were, as close to each other as ever, sitting four kids and four adults in our car making jokes about the situation. We did have a great day and decided to continue together and maybe split up a bit later. Our next destination was further east, a city called Erzurum, to which we were expected to have a package from

our sponsors delivered. We were now getting into Kurdish populated areas which we had been warned about many times. The road to Erzurum involved some astonishing scenery as we drove through the Kop Pass at an altitude of 2,370 metres.

delivery problems...

Above, from left: The 110 on the lift in Cappadoccia; Tuvalie and Luka admiring the pretty ceramic tiles in Iznik; Tuvalie and Luka comparing stones outside Ishak Pasa. Below: The director in action.

We were amazed of the pulling power of the Tdis. Even with the load we are carrying there were no problems climbing these mountains and, surprisingly, the fuel consumption still does not exceed 10-litres in 100kms. Interestingly, the difference in consumption between the cars is never more than one litre in a tankful. However, as we had gone through the pass we were surprised by some very strong side winds and, at the same time, I could see the temperature gauge climbing towards the red but never

quite reaching it. As I had an Exhaust Gas Temperature Sensor installed I could see that the gas temperature was not too high. I therefore thought that I probably had a problem with a blown cylinder head gasket. I stopped the car to check whether there was a pressure build-up or bubbles in the expansion tank, but there wasn’t. I was relieved, although I knew that there may well have been a small, hard to spot, leak. It also crossed my mind that the strong side winds combined with the big extra lights and the condenser of the air conditioner in front of the radiator might be the cause. Just in case, I replaced the viscous fan, which didn’t feel as it had the resistance it should have, as well as the water pump and the thermostat. This was done on the street


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LAND ROVER monthly December 2008 51


outside the hotel where we were staying in Erzurum. These repairs seemed to at least partially solve the problem; the temperature didn’t increase as much – but then we didn’t drive through as strong side winds again in Turkey. Erzurum was not very appealing to stay in and we were hoping that the package sent from Sweden a week ago, using DHL express, would wait for us at the hotel. It didn’t and, according to the tracking system, it was on its way. Dealing with DHL in Turkey turned out to be a big, fruitless nightmare which cost a lot of money. To reduce our hotel costs we agreed with DHL that the package should be redirected to Dogobayazit, a Kurdish town and a PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan or Kurdistan Workers’ Party) stronghold a few kilometres from the Iranian border, where we could camp. We picked up our Iranian visas that we applied for in Istanbul and off we went. The camp, run by a Dutchman and a Kurd, is located below a Kurdish palace called Ishak Pasha and surrounded by magnificent scenery. There is also a big playground for the

Above left: Dancing in the sunset. Above right: Milan and Luka admiring the view in Acropolis, Turkey. Inset: Lina, Pia and the singer all dressed up in kurdish dress. Main: Oliver, Tuvalie and Tanja at the camp site in Lalezar, Turkey.

kids and, as we have discovered, camping is something they very much prefer to boring hotels. As soon as they were released from the Defenders they started their own exploration journey of the site and, simultaneously, we got the time for cleaning and enjoying the last alcoholic drinks before getting into Iran. Unfortunately, we still hadn’t got our package, by now it was more than two weeks since it was sent.

a magnificent sunset

As a change of environment we went to Diyadin, another small town – 40kms away, known to the local people for the hot springs and outdoor baths. We stayed there for an entire week and became friends with many locals. The hospitality of the Kurdish people is incredible. We were also invited by the police chief to a big party involving the offices of three big cities. However, the package still had not arrived and a description of all the phone calls and emails and bureaucracy is beyond the scope of this article. However, suffice it to say that it cost us 600 euros

plus hotel bills – and the package never got to us. We went back to the camping in Dogobayazit for a last day before crossing the border into Iran. As we still hadn’t visited the Ishak Pasha Palace we decided to drive there even if it was closed for visitors that day. As we arrived we could hear very loud Kurdish music and, to our surprise, there was a big group of people there. When they saw the Land Rovers and the blond kids getting out of them, they very quickly approached us and welcomed us to the palace. We had turned up in the middle of a Kurdish music video recording. Pia and Lina were dressed up in Kurdish national dress, filmed together with the beautiful Kurdish female singer with a stunning voice. The cameraman used the hood of the 130 as a camera stand and we were all dancing ring dance accompanied by Kurdish tunes and a magnificent sunset. The last day in Turkey will be remembered for the rest of my life… Next month, Adventure Family face some big LRM decisions in Iran.

52 December 2008 LAND ROVER monthly