Monday, July 13, 2009

Konya and Sultanhani

Today we covered a lot of ground, over 600km of it. Because of the distance, we left a bit earlier than usual and headed for Konya from our hotel in Denisli (nearest town to Pamukkale). En route, we passed through Aksehir that is famous as the birthplace of ancient humorist Horca. You can see many pictures or statues of him riding a donkey backwards. This area is also famous for its cherries and we tasted some during our break. But since it was not the cherry season, these came from outside the region. They still tasted good since they were free!

We arrived at Konya at lunchtime and our lunch was at a caravanserai that was converted into a restaurant. A caravanserai is an ancient traders hotel that catered to both the travellers and their caravan of animals such as camels. The environment is something different from the ordinary.

After lunch we made our way to the Mevlana Museum which is the original lodge of the Whirling Dervishes, a mystical Sufi Muslim group.

We continued our long journey and we had the next welcomed stop at the caravanserai at Sultanhani which is the largest and best restored caravanserai in the region.

Finally, we arrived in the region of Cappadocia and checked into the Peri Tower Hotel in Nevsehir. It had the best spread of buffet dinner so far. After dinner, we rushed off to an underground restaurant for our Turkish Night, a night of Turkish cultural dances including the Whirling Dervishes and the Belly Dance. For many in the tour the most interesting part of the evening was the free flow of drinks for the night, both soft and hard that included vodka.

After all the drinking, all of us had a sound night's sleep except those Manchester United fans since their team lost 2-0 to Barcelona in the Championship finals tonight. Tough luck.
(You can watch a video of two of the dances in my Vimeo link here.)
Ronald Kwok

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