We left Istanbul in the early morning at 6am. At this point in time I also met the complete group of people I’m travelling with for the next few weeks. We are a total of nine people: seven passengers and two Dragoman crew members. Mid of May more people will join us in Ashgabat where the number of passengers is expected to triple. Relating to nationalities we are from the UK, Australia, New Zealand and me from Germany. Our group also has a wide range of ages reaching from mid twenty to retirement age. Some of us will travel on this truck for six weeks, others for three to four months. Last but not least I met “Archie” which is the truck bringing us from Istanbul to Beijing.
Shortly after leaving the center of Istanbul we crossed the Bosphorus marking the boundary between Europe and Asia. It also makes Istanbul the only city in the world which is located on two continents. This gives Istanbul a very special atmosphere which you can feel when strolling through the streets of the city.
Since I went to bed pretty late last night I spent the morning having a snooze in the truck. I only got interrupted twice. The first interruption was breakfast. Our driver Sam had prepared lovely cheese sandwiches for us which we had in the truck while driving to save time. The second interruption was a stop of the truck because we were losing oil or so. Sam and Jason solved the issue quickly so we could continue our drive towards Göreme.
Around lunch time our leader Jason gave us a speech on how he expects us to behave while travelling on this truck. I was still sleepy but tried to pay attention. This was especially challenging because Jason tried to break the record of the longest introductory speech a Dragoman leader ever gave to his passengers. It lasted two hours or so and afterwards we knew every detail about where to find what in the truck, the jobs each of us needs to perform, how Jason plans to deal with relationship issues between passengers etc. I’m really wondering if everybody was able to absorb all this information. After the record-breaking speech we prepared lunch in the driving truck which was again cheese sandwiches.
We arrived in Göreme in the early evening. Göreme is a small town situated in the Cappadocia region of Turkey. The main attraction of the town is the Göreme National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can find the so called “fairy chimneys” which are tall, thin spires of volcanic tuff rock. Göreme itself is situated in the middle of this surreal landscape which makes it a very special place. We ended the day with a group dinner in the restaurant of our pension at which we had vegetable soup and a selection of local meat with rice.