A long day's journey into night

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
Trip End Feb 03, 2008

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Friday, November 23, 2007

We left Urgup, saying goodbye to our cave and to Suha and prepared ourselves for a long drive. I had asked Suha for advice on a good caravanserai to visit on our way and he recommended Sultanhani, about an hour's drive on our journey. This was our first stop and as usual Suha's recommendation was impeccable. Sultanhani is the largest caravanserai in Turkey. The caravanserais were built as stopping places on the silk road, each one about a day's travel by camel from the previous one. The traders on the silk road would rest here, conduct their trade and refresh their stock. Sultanhani was built in 1229 and is a magnificent example. The buildings are largely intact and you can see the various functions that the building had, from the mosque and the hammam to the dining areas and indoor and outdoor sleeping areas.
We went to a nearby bakery and bought a half kilo of the most delectable baklava you could imagine, and it was just 3.50 lira. What a bargain! I tell you what is not a bargain here in Turkey though, and that's petrol. Our next stop was for lunch and for the first time I needed to fill up the car. Now, bear in mind that our car is just a car, not an oil tanker or jet aircraft. It took 177 lira (about $170 AUD today) to fill up the tank. Yep, more than $3 per litre. And you thought we had it bad. Right in the middle of all that oil and that's what they pay for petrol over here. Crazy eh?
The first part of our journey was fairly unimpressive, but straight after we left Konya we headed into the mountains and were soon travelling along valleys surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It was very beautiful. The girls settled in for the long drive and we were enjoying seeing new vistas. We even managed to find a radio station playing some new music, but sadly that only lasted for half an hour or so.
As we neared our destination the road travelled alongside Lake Egirdir and it made for some spectacular views. Jess tried to photograph it out of a moving vehicle, looking straight into the setting sun. The results may prove interesting. Rounding a bend, we saw Egirdir the town nestled next to the lake with the same name. Our home for the night was Ali's Pension, located on an island in the lake, now joined to the mainland by a causeway. I'd have to say that it is a very basic place, and we felt quite awkward there, as if we were interrupting their family.  It was way overpriced for what we got, too.
We rugged up and went for a walk around the island. It only took about 20 minutes, but we were blasted by gusts of wind coming straight off the surrounding snow covered mountains that loom over every side of the lake. Georgie was most excited when she spotted a crab crossing the road! By the time we found a suitable place for dinner we were half frozen. We ate a good Turkish dinner at a place right beside the lake. The television was on in the background and it was the 6 o'clock Turksih news on. About the third story in and I heard the word 'Australia' mentioned. I looked up and the story about the dodgy pamphlets in Lindsay electorate was on the news in Turkey! After our meal, we were given an after dinner treat. No, not an after dinner mint, but an after dinner piece of chewing gum. One for each of us. And the biggest surprise was the flavour - pine-o-clean. Yes, there's nothing like the taste of disinfectant to real cap off a nice meal. After about 5 chews each we discreetly put it back into its wrapper and left it as a present for the waiter.
We strolled home to play Uno for a while. The girls were amused when they opened the drawer in our room to find it had no bottom. Then we unzipped our sheets and manoeuvred ourselves into the sheeting tube that we each had been given and drifted off to sleep. Not my most enlightened choice of abode.
Needless to say there was no Internet so I am posting this late.
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