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Published: January 23rd 2010
We took the advice of Mr Kemal that traveling on small Dolmuş busses would be the cheaper and easiest way to get to Şanliurfa. Tages thought it would be smart to save money and head West to the Mediterranean where we could take it easy and relax for awhile since Turkey had been somewhat stressful for us, so far. However, I really wanted to travel to at least one more city in Eastern Turkey because I thought it was so beautiful and thought we could make it to Harran which is outside of Urfa and possibly stay in one of their famous bee hive hostels.
So, we followed Mr Kemal's advice and headed toward the Dolmuş bus area. It was only supposed to take about 3-4 hours to get to Urfa from Malatya. However, Mr Kemal's advice turned out to be not that great and we ended up on various Dolmuş's all day long. The driver's didn't speak English and our Turkish was strictly pointing to a map and pointing to where we were trying to go and saying "teşekkür ederim" or thank you. The Dolmuş busses were very small and they would pack people in so some would be sitting
on the floor. They would pick various people up in the mountains and then in the desert, many carrying armfuls of food and other items. The bus had to at least been 90 degrees or hotter inside. We were all cramped in and Tages and I had our fleeces on because we felt more comfortable being covered. I thought I would die of heat. We took a Dolmuş from Malatya to Adiyaman and then from Adiyaman to Kahta and then from Kahta back to Adiyaman and then from Adiyaman to Şanlıurfa. It was a disaster and ended up costing more money than we had expected. When we arrived in Urfa, the bus driver drove us to the bus station which was quite a ways from our hotel. He said he would not drive us to our hotel for any less than ?, i can't remember how much but it was expensive. It was dark outside, we weren't anywhere close to our hotel and we were feeling miserable. I begged him to please take us to our hostel for the price I gave him. We argued back and forth and finally we caved in. His bargaining skills are obviously way better
my fan broke..
it was SOOOO hot in Urfa and my fan that I bought in Budapest broke. dammit.
He dropped us off at Otel Dogu where the reception desk was basically one small table and a man sitting behind it. I tried bargaining again for a cheaper price but no go. We were so exhausted there was no way we were going anywhere else. We accepted and he had a younger boy carry our bags upstairs. We were relieved to have some privacy, our own bathroom and a place to rest. Tages sat on her bed and immediately it collapsed. We just looked at each other and started cracking up because we felt like it was just one more thing to add to our bad day and bad luck thus far. We couldn't do more than just laugh.
We spent two nights and 3 days in Urfa at Otel Dogu. I took the broken bed and slept without moving positions each night.
We didn't have enough money to get to Harran which was disappointing and there was something about Urfa that made us want to just be left alone and stay in our hotel. It was a really beautiful city but we were tired and just wanted to read Harry Potter together in our room. I
delicious food from a can
we found this amazing "on the go" food in Malatya which came in handy for hotel room eating in Urfa.
think it was in Urfa that we had really reached our breaking point. We were so tired of being stopped on the street and men wanting to know where we were from, if we wanted to buy their stuff and shake our hands. At first it seems harmless and no big deal but when it happens constantly and you can't walk 5 blocks with it happening on every block, it gets really old. It made us not want to explore or see the city. I struggled with this the entire time we were in Urfa because I felt like we weren't being adventurous and we should be out there exploring the city and seeing ruins and the bizarre. Our guidebook said the bizarre in Urfa is known for men groping women as they pass by. We decided to pass on it and just stay in. I think at that point we had to do what made us feel comfortable.
We found the recommended and english speaking travel agency in Urfa run by a very nice man named Özcan Aslan. He made sure we booked bus tickets to Anamur (our next stop) with their local bus company, Urfa Seyahat Bus Co.
with no transfers involved and also made sure we had seats number 1 and 2. He invited us over for dinner with him and his wife, who are also vegetarian, for a Turkish Vegetarian meal in their new bed and breakfast. We gladly accepted the offer and his wife made a DELICIOUS vegetarian meal and their bed and breakfast was gorgeous. If we ever go back to Urfa, we will definitely stay there.
Another highlight of Urfa is their famous Baklava. We ate at Baklavaci Badilli Dedeoglu and had their AMAZING Pistachio Baklava and çay (of course!). We splurged on multiple pieces because it was delicious.
We took a city bus to the bus station and boarded our luxury bus to Anamur at midnight on the 6th of October.
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