|We had our rental car delivered on Fri. the 22nd and took off wıth great anticipation to tackle the highways and byways of the western area of Cappadocia... We were expecting to have to cover between 800 and 1000 kms. ın 2 days. The first night we had covered a mere 332 kms. before stopping at Lake Egırdır, the temperature having dropped considerably. Stayed at a cosy little pension right on the lakeside. İ went for a swım ın the chilly waters as Neil sent some emails. He came out, got wet up to his calves and decided not to swim after noticing a dead fish floating by, along with other various bits of gunge in the water... I am expecting a bout of dysentry soon... We shoved off early the next a.m. and thiş time covered about 500+ kmş. The landscape is fantastic; dry, barren hılls and mountains followed by flat, dry apple-growing terrıtory... we saw more apples lyıng ın piles by the road waiting to be collected... they seemed to be ready to rot.
We saw more apples piled by the road than I could ever imagined to have existed in the world. Thousands and thousands of apples in big piles. Later we drove through sugar beet territory but there were fewer and smaller piles. Also saw cotton fields with lots of locals out there 'picking them cotton bolls'.
Robyn made an excellant suggestion to take a side trip 7kms. off the highway to Sagalossos, another amazing pile of ruins way up in the mountains. Similar to Ephasus but smaller and not as tidied up yet and definitely off the tourist track. We were the only 4 visitors. We spent a couple of hours walking around this wonderful site imagining the once full and vibrant city that once existed there. There was a great amphitheatre, a sofisticated water supply sysytem and and magnificent, restored mosaic floor in the reconstructed library. Fantastic!
We carried on from Sagalossos and stopped at the Sultanhani 'caravanserais', near Aksaray. Built in Seljuk and Ottoman eras, 13th C., they were storage depots and hostelries for the merchants travelling on the caravan routes across Anatolia. Spaced approx. 19 miles apart, as this was an average day's travel distance for the caravans. This one is one of the few remaining in good condition.
Next, after one small detour, we headed across the barren terrain to Guzelyurt to stay at a hotel overlooking a valley and ruins of a monastery. I think we were the only guests. From there we visited the Ihara Valley. A woderfully lush green gorge that is hidden from view on the upper level. We walked the river trail visiting the many churches that had been carved into the rok walls. Beautiful Christian frescoes, most of which had been desecrated by later muslim invaders and more recently by ignorant tourists or local fools. We had a momentous 'river crossing' event with three local kids that were playing around for fun with their donkeys. "One dollar, one donkey, one man". Neil had some difficulty actually getting on his donkey so his poor sap owner had to walk throught the river leading his donkey and Neil holding on for all he was worth. (No comment of what that might be). We had a little river side lunch and then back to Guzelyurt where we went out for dinner to the monastery turned hotel which John seemed interested in buying there and then.