Trip Start Oct 20, 2008
Trip End Jan 31, 2009

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Where I stayed

Flag of Turkey  ,
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The train ride from Istanbul to Konya was both comfortable and scenic. Worth more than the 63 YTL I paid for my ticket.

Hotel Ulusan is also worth more than it's nightly price: 30  YTL. It's cosy and very clean.

2 out of 3 women that I have seen in Konya wear headscarves. The islamic beard is also worn far above the national average.

The city is clean and very-well organized. Similar to Valiasr in Tehran, the Mevlana road cuts through a good portion of the city.

There are large factories near the train station and a few skyscrapers in the city center. One of the towers is the Dedeman Hotel; the second one used to belong to the Kombassan holding company and the last one is a mall and office space called Kulesite. Kulesite's interior is similar to the less expensive half of the Istinye Park mall in Istanbul. Kulesite has 42 floors (because of Konya's plate number) and there is a cafe at the top.

Konya is a true Seljuk Capital.

There is a wonderful park on Alaettin Tepesi. A park with so much green can only be found in Gülhane in Istanbul.

Many of the mosques, such as the Alaettin Mosque, lack domes and have perpendicular walls.

Konya is a better organized version of the Eminonu Municipality of Istanbul.

I like etliekmek (similar to Turkish pizza) and sacarasi. Dislike firin kebap (tandir) and hosmerim. (desert made with sesame seeds, honey and nuts)

Hulki Amca: this sweet 80-year-old took me to Catalhoyuk in his 1963 chevy. His wife has passed away. Has 2 daughters and a son. He claims that he is one of the first Turkish cab drivers. Very happy with the local AKP government. Wears Ray-Bans and lives alone.

Catalhoyuk is an incredible discovery. Some of the digs have been covered with earth at the end of the project, beacause earth preserves better than anything else. Ever since the dicovery of the hoyuk, the Brits have been the flagbearers. The main sponsors are Koc and Boeing. Omer Koc, a third generation member of the prominent Koc family, has taken special interest in Catalhoyuk. Also at Catalhoyulk, I met a guide book updater for Fodor's. A young woman who has graduated from Smith College, MA.

Traveling in the Southeast by train is tough. Bus is usually a more practical option.

The buses in Konya don't accept cash. You have to buy a card next to the bus stop.

The local dialect in Konya is similar to that in the Aegian region.

Sille is an old christian establishment, approximately 45 minutes from the city center. It has a lot of potential in terms of tourism. Unfortunately, I didn't see any traces of an attempt to unleash this potential. There is nothing but a single restaurant. Maybe it's better this way...

The ocra soup, a locak speciality, is more like the ocra stew that my Mom cooks.

The transporation system in Konya works very well. Both the tram and the public buses are very punctual and well-maintained. On the tram, there is an automated announcement at every stop.

In terms of city planning, Konya is equivalent to Izmir, Bursa and Ankara.
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