The next day we drove from Beysehir to Guzelyurt, passing through wildly differing landscapes.
We stopped for photos at Altınapa barajı (dam). We had to negotiate our way across Konya, population over 1 million (and home to the whirling dervishes). C remarked that it looked very affluent and then we saw a woman with a small child in a sling on her back begging at the traffic lights. There were lots of mosques there. A story is told about Ataturk that when his official car drove him through Konya he would draw the curtains because the fundamental nature of the city offended him! It is worth pointing out that he was responsible for dragging Turkey kicking and screaming out of the Middle Ages and that he wanted to create a secular state. He succeeded for a long time but unfortunately that situations seems to be going into reverse, much to the chagrin of the more educated Turks who would like to see it remain secular and tolerant. After Konya the landscape was flat as a pancake and really uninteresting; it looked as if lots of buildings here had been demolished and the land was dotted with factories and hardly any trees. We couldn’t decide if it was desert or had been planted with some sort of arable crop. We drove through many villages where the cottages were either made of mud or were completely tumbledown. It was obvious that life was pretty hard there.
We stopped at Aksaray to visit the Sultanhanı caravansarai for picnic lunch. We opted to have lunch first and visit the caravansarai afterwards thus managing to time our arrivial to coincide with coach loads of tourists
We passed more sugar beet factories with long lines of trucks queued up to offload the beets
We arrived Guzelyurt mid-afternoon. The hotel we were staying in, the Ihlara Konak, was made of up eight or nine old Greek houses which had been/were in the process of being refurbished.
Some of the rooms had vaulted ceilings, like ours, and some were cave rooms but we didn’t manage to see any of these.
After settling in we set off to explore the town. I asked a man with a kitten sitting on his lap if I could take his photo and he replied in Turkish that I couldn’t really understand – because he appeared to have some sort of speech impediment – that it was OK. Then he gave me a bunch of grapes from the bag in his hand. He tried to press more on me but he had already given me a good sized bunch – such is the generosity of strangers
Further on I asked a group of women sitting making gözleme (a sort of flat pancake) which would be cooked in the communal over, if I could take their photo and they agreed although one or two stood aside so that they weren’t in the picture.
We visited a pottery shop where I was allowed to take photos and the woman explained that the council allows them to use the kiln there so that they can have their own little business.
The others returned fairly soon to the hotel but I kept exploring.
part of the Hittite konak section of the hotel with cave rooms and balconies overlooking the valley
The cave sections painted white are used as pigeon lofts and the white paint makes it easier for the pigeons to find their way home.
I looked into the Taş Mahal (I liked the play on words here) winery where they make wine in a traditional way but there wasn’t anyone around.
Walking through the narrow streets (definitely no cars here) I came across a group of women sitting chatting and asked if I could take their photo. 3 agreed but the 4th hid her face and then they asked me to take more photos of them and 2 little boys and send them the photos so one of the women wrote down the address and I have posted the photos to them.
I found the view of the Manastır vadısı we’d seen on one of the posters but I was not sure if it was possible to get down there by car.