Goreme to Urfa
Last day in beautiful Kapadokya today and Kim is still feeling a bit yuck from a squelchy tummy. Jeff, on the other hand is full of beans and keen to get out and see more. This morning we had to pack up and vacate our room. We were able to leave our luggage in the heritage tours office. We fixed up our account with the hotel and they called a taxi to take Jeff to the start of the Rose Valley walk. Kim parked herself at one of the hotel's computers and spent a couple of hours putting a bit more detail to the blog, although couldn't add photos as Jeff had the camera. After catching up a couple of days of diary detail on the blog, Kim wandered down by the pool and reclined on a cushioned bench for a rest. It was a lovely spot with a view out over the valley.
In the meantime Jeff was loving his walk in the Rose Valley, which he rated as 11 out of 10!
After a taxi ride out to the head of the valley I started walking down with trekking poles by myself as Kim wasn't feeling up to a walk today. The valley was stunning with great views everywhere you looked. There was a fantastic feeling of solitude as I walked away from the main trails and climbed up the ridge walks to get stunning views of Red and Rose Valleys. After much exploration of the valleys and rock cut churches I walked to the village ofCavusin, had a cay and walked about a km towards Goreme in the broiling sun. Luckily for me a taxi came by and took me back to the Kelebek Cave Hotel.
Jeff got back about 2pm, so it was definitely lunch time. We wandered down to the town centre and found a shady spot at the Silk Road cafe, where we ordered a light lunch. Posted some postcards (it's so long since Jeff wrote a postcard that he forgot to leave space to put in the addresses). Then went in search of the hamam. Looks like a lovely place, but with no clean gear on us and Kim still not well we decided to give it a miss. Jeff was thinking of coming back later but ended up opting for the hamam at the hotel.
Spent the afternoon resting on a banana lounge by the pool. Jeff also had a hamam, which he rated very highly. Kim opted for just a shower. Chatted with a fellow traveller from New York and also phoned Mehmet for a chat. It is their busy season so we weren't able to catch up in person.
Finally 7:15 pm approached so we stationed ourselves near the tour office to await our shuttle bus. We were booked on the airport shuttle so when it arrived we gave him our luggage and jumped in. He seemed a bit confused when we said we were going to the otogar and went to ask the hotel manager. After some discussions and a call to someone else, it turned out there were two shuttle buses tonight and we were meant to be on the second one, so all our luggage was unloaded and reloaded into the other minibus that had arrived and away we went. The bus pulled up across the road from the otogar and we and a couple of others were unloaded. The otogar (bus station) at Kayseri is an impressive place. A huge terminal building with all the bus companies having their kiosks in a circle in the middle. We found Devran and exchanged our printout for a ticket. Another couple from our minibus were also traveling to Urfa but it seems their bus left half an hour later than ours. There were a couple of cafes at either side of the terminal. Jeff had some dinner, Kim had some sprite, and we chatted with Wendy and Terry, the Canadians who were also heading to Urfa. They were particularly keen to see Gobekli Tepe but had made no arrangements apart from accommodation I think. They went off for a walk around, we found a seat in the waiting area and watched fellow passengers. As usual, we were quite fascinating to them, with many staring at us and a few coming up to ask "where are you from?". Also made use of the facities (1 TL to enter at a turnstile) where they even had one sitting toilet along with several squat ones.
As 11:30 approached we made our way to Gate 4 to await our bus. There must have been 20 or 30 gates and even at this time of night lots of buses coming and going and people milling around. At Gate 4 there were lots of people with not only luggage but also piles of big sacks of produce. Our bus arrived and there was a surge to load everyone's gear into the massive holds under the bus. We were given luggage tags and a stub for each item and climbed on board. Turkey has a great bus system, with large, modern, air conditioned coaches. The TV screen once we got going was showing some sort of Turkish soapie. The attendant came down the aisle offering snacks and drinks. Thankfully a little later the lights were dimmed and Tv turned off and we were able to get some rest. Every so often the bus would stop in some town to drop off or pick up passengers. At about 3am we stopped at what must have been a larger place. Not as flash as Kayseri otogar but still buses coming and going and stalls open at this time of night. It looked pretty agricultural. The other bus was also there, having caught up to us somewhere along the way. This was a loo stop as well as changing over passengers. After a stop of about 20 minutes we headed off again on our journey. Continued to try and snooze. The seats reclined a bit so it wasn't too bad. A while later the sky started to lighten and we could see the countryside. Mainly pretty dry and barren , and variously hilly/rocky and long plains. When we got to Gaziantep, all the passengers for Urfa were told to change to the other bus, so we had to move all our luggage across and find seats again. Onward we went and eventually arrived at Sanliurfa, our destination.
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