The Grey Gappers’ motorhome adventure from Champagne (Reims, France) to Caviar (Baku, Azerbaijan) has ground to an unscheduled but enforced halt in Turkey, where the pair have battened down the hatches to self-isolate with their motorhome friends.
Thousands of miles from home, with borders closed and a return to the UK looking very unlikely, Karen and David have seized the opportunity to stay in the relative safety of Sundance Nature Camp, near Kemer.
This week, just like us in the UK, they have been trying to occupy their bodies and minds … but unlike our bricks and mortar confinement in the UK, our campers in Turkey have faced some unusual challenges!...
“What an exciting week this has been! We’ve been to ancient ruins, museums, took in a movie, bartered in the bazaars, ate in the most amazing restaurants, danced till dawn in Turkish nightclubs… Then we wake up, reality hits home and the days begin.
“What have we really done this week? Well, like most of you, we have found a variety of things to do and be done and amusement has been had at the same time, thankfully!
“We generally start the day with either Pilates or Yoga by the sea, led by Katherine or Anetta. I would say the beach but it’s way too rocky to call it that. Nevertheless, it’s outside and with a wonderful view to match, which always makes the stretching, posing and breathing so much easier.
“On alternate days there is the running club, led this time by seasoned runner James. I opt out of that due to strange knees and do my own form of exercise on the beach which is a cross between Pilates and Yoga - now named Yolates. All excellent ways to keep both your mind and body fit!
“Life in a motorhome is never quick anyway, waiting for kettles to boil on a hob, showers to warm up etc, so breakfast meanders between 10.30 and 11 am. Activities then vary according to the weather and how the mood takes us. At the moment the weather has been quite nice, turning to very changeable the last few days of this week and of an evening and morning it’s still cold, so our hot water bottle in still in use at night-time.
“Thankfully for us, there haven’t been any major issues with our motorhome (our Elddis Encore 250, named Buster) that we have needed to mend - just a few of our sticky hooks falling off occasionally and the usual toilet emptying and water filling. Obviously, I do my intensive housework each and every day in Buster, no slovenly habits for me on that front!
“The week has also been one full of wildlife adventure, beyond the chickens which we are now feeding our scraps to (they especially like the orange bits after the juicing, veggie peelings and of course the odd crust!) The downside of this is that they are always hovering around the vans and these creatures aren’t discerning about where they poo, so bare feet is not an option!
“We have seen tortoises again and David had to rescue one from the jaws of Brutus, the stray beach dog that seems to have unfortunately befriended us. Brutus, is a sheep dog minder and is like a small pony, but thankfully he seems to be a softy who just wants company. However, our lovely owners of Sundance Camping have six rescue dogs of their own and so Brutus has been banished quite a few times, and at this moment at the end of the week we aren’t entirely sure where the poor thing has been evicted to!
“The highlight, if that’s the correct word of the week, was the poisonous Viper snake, that appeared one sunny lunchtime. David and I were just lizard lounging in the sun, reading our books after a hard morning cleaning and polishing, when a snake slivered quickly under the chair between my feet and headed to the longer grass about ten yards away from us.
“We ran after it to see where it had gone, but could not see it in the grass and so sat back on our chairs debating what kind of snake it could be. We decided on adder. A few minutes later, I saw one of the camps many cats playing with something in the air and we both guessed immediately that the cat had found the snake and was playing with it, tormenting it with her claws and trying to bite it. The snake was having none of it and had wound itself up into a tight coil but its mouth was open and we could see its forked tongue ready to spit at the cat!
“We tried to call the cat away from the danger to no avail - she just continued to play her game with it, until eventually she either got bored or decided to come over to us to see what we were making all the fuss about. Either way the cat survived … but so did the snake.
“Our naivety of believing it was ‘just an adder’ was soon put to an end, when Ennis our camp owner became very intrigued by the photo and where exactly we had seen the snake. He confirmed that it was, in fact, a poisonous viper and should be avoided at all costs! Apparently, vipers are extremely territorial … and so somewhere we now call home, so does a viper!
“Saturday is market day in the nearby village and thankfully for the moment it’s still running, as the small local supermarkets don’t carry too much of a range. Unfortunately it was a very wet day and so everyone was in even damper spirits beyond the current situation. However, stallholders had a lovely seasonal array of veg and fruit, which unfortunately due to the new rules has to be packaged up, so you can’t just pick out what you want or the amount you need. We now have an awful lot of potatoes, tomatoes and bananas!
“Even with the rain it was fun to get out from camp and see other local people, even if communicating with them is difficult, but as usual our 'Turklish' and charades seemed to get us what we wanted - more or less. For next week’s menu I now realise I need to plan around what the market stalls have, rather than what I want. As you would imagine, there was a lovely arrangement of dried fruits - apricots, dates, figs and marvellous nuts.
“One big costly mistake was made, when trying to get peas. We could see none fresh, nor frozen but did spy some in a tin and jar. Not my first or second choice, but peas were needed as per the recipe (the clue is in its name) for Keema Peas. We opted for the jar, as they could then be sealed and keep better than the tin. The peas are untested as of yet, as that dish is for Wednesday, but given the price which I worked out whilst having a sleepless moment, we might well be framing them, or rationing them one teaspoon at a time, such was the cost. This not substantial jar cost the equivalent of two bottles of my current favourite wine, and wine here certainly isn’t an Asda BOGOF special. Ah well, mistakes will be made!
“Saturday, saw our first boules competition, played on very uneven ground and with very rusty boules, but it was fun and our cheers, jeers and laughter rang around the camp with Katherine currently at the top of the leader board. The win was deserved, not necessarily for her skill but the fact she had made strawberry shortcake for afters and so when our will power could hold out no longer, the game was won and a very delicious shortcake was devoured, made with fresh Turkish strawberries currently in season here.
“Our home comforts are depleted by the day. On Saturday we savoured the last of our bacon from the UK. Come to think of it, no wonder Brutus makes a beeline for Buster each day!
“The week ended with a wonderful communal Sunday chicken roast (not one of our pet chickens… yet anyway!!) with exceptional veggies sides made and hosted again by Katherine and James, attended and very much enjoyed by David, myself and Anetta and partner Joe.
“Good old UK traditions are being maintained here in Turkey and we even had torrential rain to make us feel even more at home!
So, our first week in isolation had passed fairly quickly, thankfully with no one having or showing any coronavirus symptoms. Many calls have been made to friends and family – and of course to Elddis - to ease everyone’s minds all round, and for updates on the situation. But with the borders still closed and travel in Turkey having just been restricted even more, Sundance Camping is where we remain.
“Could David and I have done this on our own? Probably not. For two it’s hard to have the imagination or motivation. Having other friends here, new and old has made it all much more do-able. There is always one person in a group who will take the lead and we are thankful for Katherine, our very own Mr(s) Motivator who will make this staycation possible and achievable, along with fellow captives - James, Anetta and Joe.
“Love to you all, wherever you are, and of course as you are now captive and bored please do follow our blog and keep in touch by ‘Subscribing’"