March, April, May: Konya, Ankara, Kas
Trip Start Feb 08, 2008
154Trip End Sep 11, 2009
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I last left off in late March when I broke my travel routine, of moving south along the west coast of Turkey, to go in to Ankara. Two reasons: the main one was that my ATM card was expiring at the end of March and I needed to be in a location long enough to receive a new replacement. Also, of less importance, surely, the end of the quarter coincided with my birthday. Oh, and I also needed a stable place to work on my U.S. income taxes. (That, too, another story).
The replacement ATM card was sent to my niece in New Jersey, who, on March 11th sent it on to me in Ankara. It never arrived. Without it, of course, I couldn't obtain money or make charges for anything. So I contacted my banking institution for a second replacement to be sent. That took additional weeks, this process now being begun late in the first week in April when I finally gave up on hope for the mail route.
By the 20th of April the new card arrived by commercial delivery, and the PIN number similarly a couple of days later. I don't know why I took an additional week, but I made plans to depart Ankara on the 28th of April.
On Sunday the 26th my Ankara host fell and broke her right leg and sprained the ankle of the other foot. (And, that's a whole another story). How could I leave in the circumstance?
In Turkey, even when one is in a hospital, family take on a major burden of patient care. My host's Ankara residing family (two sisters and their families) all are employed. But, for the times that family and neighbors and friends could not attend, I was essentially providing light nursing duties.
However, by and by my time in Ankara became crowded by my need to exit the country as my visa was about to expire. So, with the weekend of May 16-17 approaching, when family would be free to take more of the responsibilities for G.'s care, I had to head for Kas, on the southwestern--Lycian--coast. Not only was Kas the nearest and most convenient location to get to a Greek island, but it is also located in the general direction that I needed to proceed to in getting back to my late March travel itinerary (having broken off after Bodrum/Milas). So, after an overnight stop in Konya it was on to Kas, with a two night stop at Olympos on the way. Coming down to the coast off the Anatolian plateau is always a trip through intriguing mountainous scenery.
Olympos is a backpackers' heaven. This visit was my third in the last seven years. It's first notoriety was for "treehouse" accommodations. I suppose you can find anything you want there. I mean, a real party place, if that's your inclination. My own wishes, however, are for the quiet and restrained. Thus I have stayed each time at the Saban Pansion (www.sabanpansion.com). My sleeping was in a quiet bungalow. The cost was 25TL (US$16), and that included two meals. Not only that, but the food is of the best I have had in Turkey. It's pretty unbeatable, anyway you come to view it.
Since this stop was early in the "season" it was pretty quiet. The weather good, but very little to none of the youth crowd that would show up later. So, I had the swimming pretty much to myself.
Then it was on to Kas. For a North American (U.S. citizen) to obtain a new 90-day visitor's visa it requires merely crossing the border into another country, turning around and reentering Turkey (with 15 euros). That's it.
The Greek island of Megisti (or Turkish Meis Adasi) is a daily boat run from Kas. It only takes about 30 minutes to make the crossing, and the price this day was 40TL (about US$25.50). The boat docks in the small town of Kastellorizo about 3 to 4 hours. Some folks go over for visa renewals, some for duty-free shopping (whatever that is), some just for the sights; and most for a lunch. The Turkish boat crew take passports and do all the rest of it.
I myself immediately headed up to the castle for the view, and then a walk around the back of the town for the view from there as well; then I went down to the quayside for a lunch, after which just enough time for a Greek iced coffee (delicious) before the boat cast off for the return to Turkey.
On the return trip (this was my second experience--on two different boats) red wine is served. And I was immensely amused that the captain played over a speaker system an album of Elvis Presley. These were the songs I used to listen to in my bed when I was fourteen years old! Too young to cruise the drive-ins.
(Final note: The mapping feature of this blogsite only allows for a single, continuous route line. The map will place a "pin" where ever there is a posting. I often make several trips over the same route. In this case I have eleminated any "on the road" postings for this necessary deviation to Ankara. So, Muğla was the point at which I left my regular travel plan for the diversion to Ankara to get the new ATM card, and Kas for the new visa run. Then it's back to Muğla to resume my "planned" itinerary.)
Now, a little more of Elvis: