After a warm night at 1600 metres I woke to a 6am call to prayers. Some had been woken to an earlier call at 5.30! A lie in and gear sort until breakfast at 8 was in order. This is a holiday. A leisurely trip. No 'Alpine' starts are planned.
Breakfast of water melon, cheese salad, bread and the usual accompaniments, and sausage omelette (did I tell you the area is famous for its sausages), was washed down with copious tea and coffee by the assembled group, now fully recovered from its jet lag, early start, and misplaced baggage/passport/hotel.
Here's the cast:
Martin and Sue - the Timperley Travellers
Susan and Roy, fellow TGO Challengers, seeking refuge from Hurricane Irene's devastation in their home town of Glastonbury, Connecticut
Dave and Elizabeth (Lil) from Hexham
Dave and Joanna from Harlow
Jane 'Egg' seeking refuge from the rigours of a yacht on the Bosphorus, and an audience for her tales of 'storm and tempest on the TGO Challenge 2011'
Alan, erstwhile TGO Challenger and landlord of the Greyhound in Burston (Staffordshire)
Tessa from Bowdon, who works in Leeds but lives very close to us
Anne from Newcastle, a University worker
Breda, Karen and Ann, seeking refuge from the autumnal ambience of South Wales
Carey, assistant editor of TGO Magazine, our junior member, a member of the Paparazzi - seeking a cover shot for the magazine
Turan - our local leader on this KE Adventure Travel trip
Elif, Turan's assistant, a budding rock climber
Adam, our cook - by far the most important member of our team
Various other 'assistants' and their own assistants...
We left in the bus at around 9 o' clock and after 5-10 minutes were dropped off at the start of a walk that took us across dusty scrubland with prickly plants under a hot sun.
There was no path, but the going was easy. By and by we paused for elevenses in the shade of a large rock. Beyond here, Sue found a friend - a giant grasshopper that over the next 500 metres wandered nonchalantly all the way down from her hat to regain terra firma.
Whilst late in the season, there are still a fair number of plants in flower including Carline like thistles and a variety of mullein.
We continued over desert like scrub with fine mountain views. The scenery hereabouts is very 'Dolomitic', with steep rock faces towering above us. A rough descent into a deep gorge - Kazkali Bogazi - delivered us to a lunch spot near a bolted rock climb. "I've been up there" commented Elif, Turan's demure assistant, who was clearly contracted to act as 'sweeper' for our group. A small group of climbers studiously ignored our noisy group.
Moving off again, our 18 strong band took another good hour to reach our campsite by around 2.15.
Time for tea and biscuits.
It's a lovely spot. A formal campsite with facilities and several 'camping fields'. We have the best of these (pictured), with a huge mountain backdrop. There's a large open tent to the right of the photo in which our meals are served.
A relaxing afternoon and evening were enjoyed by all, featuring a lengthy meal and culminating in Turan's exposition of 'the sky at night'.
Mark and Alan - thanks for your respective comments. I have Will's book 'In View of Monte Viso', Mark - an Alpine classic.
Ken - only three of us went down to that crumbling brickwork - even Reg declined to do that! It's a shame, but there really does seem to be no current use for the fine viaduct.
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange