|We started off this morning to very strong winds. It really didn't have a great impact initiatlly as we only travelled about 20 minutes before we arrived at the pottery studio in Avanos. We had an opportunity to watch the masters at work making lovely pieces some of them worth thousands of dollars. They really were beautiful pieces. I was not as lucky today and although I didn't buy carpets, I did buy a couple of small pieces of pottery (from the cheap room). Being practical I am bringing home Turkish wine glasses! Well not that practical as now I have to haul them around but they are wrapped well.
Our tour guide,Barcin, is very knowledgable and can talk alot. He has been a guide for 12 years, has served in the Turkish army(mandatory) and has a degree in Greek History. He has provided us with so much information it is almost impossible to remember it all. I think I am finally getting a handle on the different cultures and timelines of groups. Today's lesson was on modern Turkish facts including medical, taxation, the army and the history of the flag.
We didn't have a lot of stops today as we drove to Konya and heading back to western Turkey. We visited the Caravanserai of Sultanhani which is a beautiful looking struture that was used in the 11th century as an Inn for the caravans of camels that would pass through doing trade. The inns were built every 25 miles as that was the maximum distance that camels could go in one day. It really was quite a lovely structure with an outdoor area, mosque and indoor sleeping areas.
The land was very desolate looking on today's trip. It was very flat and is apparently an area for farming, mostly grains and vegetables like potatoes. It was not the nicest countryside I've ever seen.
As we were driving in this area the dust/sand started to blow and blow harder and harder. We could see the wind almost ripping down the power lines. Several times our bus driver had to pull over and even stop as the visibility went down to zero. The road almost looked like it had snow on it. We drove in these conditions for quite awhile until we reached Konya. Driving into the city you could see litter everywhere. There were some large boxes on the roadside and we soon passed the truck that the boxes had come from. Since arriving in Konya we have found out that the storm system has hit Turkey hard. They had a tornado in Northern Turkey and they don't get tornados. Along the southern coast winds reached 125+km. The TV showed major damage in Istanbul and apparently at least 5 people have been killed including some in a small car on the road we had been travelling on. I think we were all glad to arrive. It is around 9:30 and the wind is still blowing hard.
We had one final stop in Konya before arriving at our hotel. That stop was visit to the tomb of the founder of the Whirling Dervish (Rumi) sect, Mevlana. This was quite an interesting complex with extraordinary decorations inside the building. We weren't allowed to take pictures but trust me it was quite lovely. There were many ancient books written in Arabic and with gold lettering. In addition there were some outstanding and ancient pray rugs, one 500 years old. The complex had other buildings were the Dervishes would stay and these areas were well developed into a museum. It was a bit different from some of the other tombs we had seen. I think we are now all in agreement that we have just about seen enough tombs and mosques. I think the sites now change for a few days to Roman ruins.