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Published: August 11th 2015
Getting to Cappadocia The Journey
Pretty close to the middle of Turkey
About 1000Klms from either Edirne on the Bulgarian / Greek Border or Igdir on the Armenian / Iranian border.
Getting there involved crossing vast plains of good agriculture, and then some pretty desolate country.
Much of the vast areas of Turkey that we traversed was flat plains surrounded by barren looking mountain ranges. The flat plains and undulating parts look productively worked - mostly for wheat, sunflower and then sorghum with some large tracts irrigated for fodder crops. In July they receive no rain and its super dry and hot hot hot.
In the last 200 to 300 klms we got so see a conservative side of Islamic Turkey. We had travelled down the Mediterranean coast for a bit - which is regarded as Christian ( meaning there are some Christians there).
Now striking inland we became more and more aware of life in this territory, Islam etc .
· Small towns with two or more mosques, more in larger towns. mosqes often within say 2 or so klms of another one
· Bellowing out through amplifiers of
the call to prayer 5 times a day
· older men sitting around outside the mosques most of the day seemingly with nothing to do
· Younger men staring and leering somewhat lustfully
· Women in full burqua with tribes of kids in tow
· Skinny hungry Dogs wandering aimlessly around the streets
· Cats prowling in search of a morsel
We did not loiter.
Then there were camps. I have asked about these but have not had an answer. At first I thought they were gipsy camps. Rough looking tents – much larger than westerners have for a camping holiday- with a lot of rubbish strewn around – washing and rugs out to dry or air- a few clapped out looking vehicles -9 usually larger panel vans. These are at intervals of say 5 or 10 klms and probably on public land near a road. It could be that these camps are of Syrian refugees or maybe they are Bedouins and part of normal life. I have not had an answer , but in talking with Turks it is quite clear that tourism numbers in this central
area are down on previous years due to the crisis at the Syrian border.
At Pamukkale we camped on some open ground overlooking the natural white limestone world heritage listed site. After setting up we strolled down to the village and saw a rather amusing wedding. It appears the Muslim brides discard the black and dress up in white just like our girls do. Well the limestone backdrop for the whole scent was glistening white, her dress was white, but the floor was standard Turkish dirty. With no bridesmaids willing to hold up her long white train, this bride swept the dirty floor as she walked. Maybe 2 or 3 inches of the bottom of her train was grey and brown going on black. Getting ready for a life of household chores I guess.
We camped by Lake Egidir. Quite a nice place inland and not so upmarket as some touristy places we visited. While relaxing at our campsite was in the sandy beach of this lake, we saw the second wedding party in two days.The wedding party of about 6 to 10 people proceeded along the not so sandy but pleasantly muddy
beach to near where we were camped and stopped for photographs. But this wedding party was the sadder of the two. The bride – quite an attractive blondish sheilla with fair skin and clearly well proportioned features – did not smile. Nor did the bride and groom touch each other - except when instructed to do so by the photographer. Poor bride looked as though she wished she was somewhere else. Groom ( a handsome young bloke) had that ho-hum look as if it was all a chore – something like taking out the garbage – when the bin is full I shall take it out – until then I shall have another cigarette while I wait. Lets move on - get it over with.
On a brighter side, an interesting and pleasant welcome was often extended to us. Often we were offered tea – at night when we sat outside the van. The tea is served in small glasses without a handle and most Turks add 2 or more cubes of sugar. They express surprise when we drink our tea without sugar. Other times they offer water melon or other fruits. At our camp these gestures were
made in a true spirit of muslim hospitality. Invariably they were curious about us as the overwhelming majority of visitors to these parts of Turkey are on package tours and stay at the numerous posh hotels. Thus the ordinary Turk does come face to face with foreigners. Often we were asked questions of how we must be enjoying Turkey in a tone which suggest their view of the world is limited to Turkey. But then again many Australians would ask a foreigner something along the lines of “ now that you are here, do you think that Oz is the best place in the world?”
One girl told us how the food in Turkey is the bin the world. Its a bit hard to inform her that its the most boring I have come across. Better to let her wallow in her misbelief.
The town of Sultanhani makes a statement of how Islam life takes the smile off people’s faces. Bored old men sitting around the numerous mosques. Men lurking around staring at the strangers in their midst. Rough roadways . No paint. Skinny dogs . Even skinnier cats – the rates wouldn’t even bite them. No smile anywhere. A campground operator who prefers to sell rugs than serve our needs and then can’t see that his target customers never bought the rugs because they simply don’t want rugs. Women cleaning by sloshing huge volumes of water everywhere and never drying the floors and other surfaces. Easy town to leave.
Throughout the region water seems plentifully supplied through springs or artesian wells.
All along the road there are water outlets usually a tap in a little stone grotto. these would be no less than a few klms apart.
Even inland many crops are irrigated - from creeks and bores.
Even though it is dry here in late July - no rain all month - and dusty we are able to get water for the Skippy tank ( 150 l) reasonably easily.
Tot: 2.786s; Tpl: 0.015s; cc: 14; qc: 27; dbt: 0.0162s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb