May 14th: Beysehir to Cappadocia: breakfast was taken on the senic terrace of the Ali Bilir Hotel with its wonderful view over the lake. However the tv screens in the hotel, and everywhere else we went that day, were full of the terrible mining disaster in Western Turkey. Also, the Turkish flag, which is flown everywhere: in towns, villages, houses, filling stations, shops and hotels, were all flying at half mast.
The first part of the drive from Beysehir to Konya, the regional capital, was along fertile valleys and hills; completely unlike the previous day's drive through the mountains. As we got nearer to Konya the terrain became more hilly and arid then, when we crested a hill, the city with a population of nearly 1.2 million was spread out on the plain below. Our route through the city and out on the D300 towards Cappadocia was easy to find and we were through to the other side of the city and out on to the vast Central Anatolian plain in less than half an hour. The roads in Turkey are really good: most of the main roads are motorway standard and even the country roads are generally better and
wider than the A class roads in the UK.
Around midday we stopped at a town called Sultanhani to visit a famous caravanserai. These caravanserais were built along the of the Silk Road at intervals that corresponded to a one day's journey by foot: about 30 kilometers. Then we returned to the highway and along the plain until the landscape changed slightly to become more undulating and fertile with vast fields of wheat or barley. Our arrival in Cappadocia was quite sudden after we exited a large, very clean and modern town called Nevsehir turned off on to a side road and after a couple of miles we saw this extraordinary pinnacle full of caves; and then the road turned down into a valley and we were amongst a whole lot of pinnacles and massive cone like rock formations. Further down the hill we arrived at Goreme, the main tourist town of Cappadocia, which is built in and amongst these strange pinnacles. As it's an ancient town the roads amongst the houses and pinnacles are very narrow and winding but, after just one wrong turn, we found our hotel which is built partly into the hillside and utilises some
of the ancient cave dwellings as guest rooms. All very spectacular and thanks to the excellent Turkish highway network we arrived in time for a late lunch.
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