2015 was the first time a OneLife expedition entered Asia and to get there we had to explore the north of Greece on the way. Hardly a hardship though, before we get to Istanbul and leave Europe behind as we explore Western Anatolia before getting to Bodrum and taking a small ferry to the island of Kos and then on to Piraeus to complete our 2500 mile circuit of the Aegean Sea.
Starting at Igoumenitsa we’ll head to the northern mountains and valleys of Macedonia following tracks along the Greece/Bulgarian border before enter Turkey at Ipsala. Skirting the Dardanelles we enter Istanbul to spend a day exploring this gateway city. A legacy of the Ottoman Empire, our problem will be deciding what to see, the great dome of the Aya Sofya will surely be on the list, then the Blue Mosque and the Topkapi Palace before we head deeper into rural Turkey.
Western Anatolia is described as the hidden heart of Turkey,a essentially rural, mountainous area, home to the cave dwelling Phrygians around 2000BC who cut monuments into rocks with the best example at Midas Sehri. We drive down the length of this valley heading south to explore the lakes near Egirdir. Swinging west towrd the Aegean we pass into the Pamukkale region renowned for its thermal springs and unique pools, shelves and stalactites that form in the mineral rich waters. These springs attracted both Greeks and Romans the site at Afrodisias is one of Turkey’s finest archaeological sites. From here we head back to Bodrum where we leave Turkey for the island of Kos where we pause for a night to enjoy cooked fish from the local taverns before catching our overnight ferry to Athens.
Once back on the Greek mainland we head west onto the Peloponessus to spend our last night camping in the mountains before returning to Patra and our boat back to Italy. We hope this will give you an idea of what we hope to achieve on this recce trip. The pace is brisk at around 100 miles a day but this will still allow us to explore, everyone on the trip will have an input to the actual route. One thing’s for sure - it will be another great OneLife adventure !