|Thursday 17th May - Turkey - Antakya
We had planned to go to Adana today, but were told that the road was very good and fast and so we thought we might just keep going. As it turned out the girls were happy in the car, it was a bit grey outside and the road was a big 6-lane toll-road which usually felt like our own personal motorway. There was virtually nobody on the motorway, so we made good progress and decided to push on to Antakya.
We arrived in Antakya in time for a visit to the playpark, followed by lunch. These playpark visits can actually be very interesting. It gives you a chance to just be among ordinary, local families and people are always very friendly. Naomi is a real novelty here because of her blonde hair. Shes had lots of impromptu kisses from complete strangers. Im sure shell miss the attention when she gets back home.
We went on to Samandag in search of a beach-side campsite, but the whole area seemed very run-down so we returned to Antakya and booked into a hotel. We are now thinking we may head to Syria tomorrow instead of Saturday.
On (probably) our last full day in Turkey, here are some of Andrews thoughts about the practicalities of our trip so far.
Landcruiser vehicle has been very reliable over the first 4000 kilometres. Layout is as good as it could be with 2 adults, 2 kids and the prospect of other adults joining the trip for 3 weeks.
The kitchen is on the big side although most of the space is used. Being made of plastic means that it sometimes bends and flexes too much and results in cutlery drawers falling out etc.
Principles If you can get something simpler - get it. If you can get something smaller get it. If you can get something lighter get it. If you can get something stronger get it.
Before we left it was all about preparation but once youve left its all about the adventure of travelling to the next place and experiencing it. Ok so I have opened the tool bag a couple of times but my previous preoccupation with doing more work on the vehicle stopped the day we left Scotland.
Routines take time to settle into. Tantrums are part of the settling in period, and sometimes we have several settling in periods. The kids sometimes have tantrums too.
Travelling with kids is so, so different to backpacking or overlanding with adults. Kids add a new dimension to logistical planning. Campsites are great for kids. It gives them wide open spaces to explore and use for their games. Games are mainly role playing where Keziah decides on the roles and rules and Naomi does her own thing. Whilst Keziah says she likes staying in hotels it is more the novelty that attracts her. Our conclusion so far is that hotels confine the kids and it is far more difficult for them to entertain themselves in a hotel a grass field is much better and a lot less expensive!
Set-up time and pack-away time is not too difficult. We can clothe the kids, have breakfast, wash the dishes, pack away all our stuff and the tent in 1-1/2 hours. Thats about the same time as takes to leave the house in a normal morning back home. However, saying all that I wish the Germans designed roof-top tents and I wish there was a family sized 4x4 camper van with the reliability and ground clearance of the Landcruiser (I guess the Uni-mog gets closest but life is full of compromises). I can see a number of ways to save 10 minutes set-up and pack-away time. If you then add up all these minutes over the duration of our trip it would be very significant.