Jude and Pete - Greek Sailing Adventure & Absolute Turkey 2011 travel blog

Up early this morning, packed, had breakfast and ready to leave at 7.30. We had a great time last night at the Turkish Nights, not Turkish Delights as I wrote yesterday. I was a little bit dubious about how authentic the dancing would be. We were served a glass of vodka and sour cherry juice on arrival...it was delicious and I decided far too dangerous to drink all night. Food, drinks and the floor show were included in the price so it could have been tempting. I also tried a glass of raki, a local drink made from all the left over grape bits, I think. Phew! It just about blows your head off. I have a sore throat so thought I'd gargle a bit to see if it would help...my throat feels much better today.

The traditional dancing was a real spectacle. There were five male and five female dancers and they performed about six numbers. They had a change of costume for each one. They are amazingly fit and performed some spectacular feats. They are so passionate in their dancing...I want to be a Turk. The show included a belly dancer and our tour guide told us belly dancing originated in Egypt, not Turkey however for so e reason it's become a bit of a tourist thing. We had a really intemrmestimg and enjoyable night...arrived home about 11.45 and headed for bed.

We set off to the Ihlara Valley, about 1.5 hours drive. Another valley! was the general consensus however this one was very different. It was created by an earthquake and has a river' the Melendiz, running through it and is very green. There are 105 churches along the valley...only 32 are still open for viewing. The Christians must have been very busy hiding from people in the days they used these monasteries and churches.

We started our walk by going down 400 steps. We looked a couple of the churches and I took a few photos. As long as you don't use a flash, you can take photos...we weren't allowed to at the other sites. Serdar told us the light from one flash is the equivalent of 100 days of sunshine so the images would fade very quickly. 

We stopped about half way along the walk for a cup of Turkish tea and sat  at tables on tiny islands in the river (lumps of dirt, really) while we drank. We were surrounded by ducks while we were stopped.

One thing we have notedon this trip is that you need to budget for loo stops. Most places it costs 1 lira to go to the loo...they are very clean so you don't begrudge the charge however it can add up over the trip.

On to Aksaray to see one of the buildings used by the caravans that travelled the Silk Road. It had some beautiful carvings on its internal and external doors. It wasn't hard to imagine the traders, their camels and exotic wares staying overnight on their way back from China.

Then on to Konya to see the mosque that is dedicated to Mevlana Rumi, the poet who founded the mystic Islamic sect known as the whirling dervishes. Unfortunately, most of the information was written in Turkish so we weren't able to read it however it was interesting watching the pilgrims come to pray.

It was then into the vehicle for the drive to our overnight accommodation. We are staying in Beysehir and the hotel is much nicer than I expected. We went upstairs to the restaurant and had a drink and watched the sun go down. 

One thing we learned today was that poplar trees are important in Turkey as from pre-historic times, houses were built from mud brick and poplar was used for the roof. We have noticed there are lots of poplars growing here.

Another thing I've noticed is that wherever we stop, there is always at least one drinks stall, souvenir stall and food outlet. Similar to Bali, the locals never let a chance go by.

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