Turkey, Sarkisla to Goreme…Turkey’s Jewel !!!

Again we were well rested, fed and ready to ride the following morning, it was to be a tough day but it started well enough. We clocked up the first 50km fairly quickly and decided to make a small detour to see a caravanserais, it was only a couple of km of the road so not to bad. We were greeted by an old guy who took a few lira off us and then let us loose to wander round this incredible place. In days gone by when the camel trains used to criss cross the country there many such places to stop at for food, water, shelter and to rest the camels. This particular one has been quite well restored and is one of the largest, it really is an amazing place !!

Some of the glorious scenery from the first 50km of the days ride πŸ˜‰
Arriving at Sultanhani and the Caravanserais πŸ˜‰
The front entrance and central mosque.
One of the covered porticos, the bedrooms and washrooms are of to the right, this goes along three of the inner walls.
A window in one of the bedrooms, you can see how thick the walls are, despite it being the hottest part of the day it was still cool in here.
Inside the camels quarters, they were prized animals and were treated very well !
More covered porticos, they make great photos with the light coming through πŸ˜‰
Close up of the central mosque and a photo of it taken from the roof, incredible building which you can still get into, there is also an access stairway to the roof, and yes I did go up !!
Some photos up on the roof, the whole building has had some renovation, so pleased they saved it !
Back on the road we’d not gone far when a guy on a motorbike stopped us, he invited us to his home for drinks, how could we refuse. Again we were humbled by the sincerity and generosity, we met the family and tried to make conversation, then we were given the guided tour of his garden. He kept giving us fruit and vegetables as we made our way round, I’d forgotten how good fresh tomatoes taste…they were fantastic. With the tour over and photos taken we said our goodbyes and were back on our bikes, one more good climb then turn left for the run into Bunyan, 90km in total and a fair amount of climbing, oh and yes it was hot !!
More amazing scenery on the road after the Caravanserais.
Naomi and myself photographed with our friendly Turk in his well stocked garden πŸ˜‰

We were both relieved to have reached Bunyan but we were both very thirsty so we stopped at the first place we could find that sold drinks, it was a kebab shop. I took a litre of juice and a small water and Nao took a can of pop and a small water, we sat inside in the shade and quenched our thirst. Sated, we got up to pay but the guy wouldn’t take our money, he basically told us that the pleasure we’d bestowed on him by stopping at his shop was enough….I nearly burst into tears…what incredible people !!!

A few photos from the final run into Bunyan, note how black the road is, pretty much melted and was very sticky !!

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The hotel was clean, friendly and once again our bikes were untouched when morning came. For dinner we’d eaten well at the kebab shop next door as it belonged to the hotel owner and we were back again for breakfast, Chorba or soup is often eaten for breakfast here and my personal favorite is lentil soup with lots of lemon and chilli flakes, that and a few chunks of fresh bread are a great way to start a day !!

Having done 90km the day before we now had a very short day into Kayseri, most of it was also downhill, we were making such good progress that we had to stop a few times just to waste time. In the end I actually stopped for a haircut and a shave on the way into town as we still needed to waste time. The haircut was also required as we wanted to visit the Hilton Hotel roof bar and restaurant, it has the best views in town and I wanted to smarten up a bit.

Like I said a short ride in so not to many photos from the journey.

Thanks to my GPS unit we found our way into the town centre and the hotel without any difficulty, I hadn’t realised what a big place Kayseri is, we were on the outskirts of town 12km before we got to the centre. It’s a rich town with plenty of manufacturing and is noted for carpets, and pastrami amongst other things !!

The hotel was well located only a short walk from the central mosque, caravanserais (now an indoor market) and the citadel (sadly closed for building work). We had decided long before we went to Kayseri that we’d treat ourselves and have dinner at the Hilton, as I said the views are the best in town, we made our way there to make a reservation. We went to the 12th floor and did just that, asking for a table on the terrace if possible. While there we stopped for a couple of beers and sat outside, it was great to relax with a beer ( we’ve only had two since we arrived in Turkey ) and take in this magnificent view…

Photos of Kayseri from the roof of the Hilton Hotel….fabulous πŸ˜‰
Top photo is a close up of the caravanserais roof, now the bazaar, next one down is the clock tower and monument, next is Naomi relaxing on th hotel roof with a beer and finally the Hilton itself !

We went back to the hotel shorly after to relax and freshen up before heading back later for dinner, as expected the food was good if not cheap and the view at night was fabulous and our table was perfect…what a great night, and the views at night….wow !!

Self explanatory really !!

The following day was a day off and we spent it drifting round the markets, and taking in the sights from ground level, to be honest it looks better from the top of the hotel !!

Monument and clock house from ground level.
A fabulous tile mosaic covering the whole end wall of a multi level building, looks great !!
The central mosque and foot washing facilities, very important in Muslim religion !!
Part of the citadel wall, sadly closed to visitors due to building work !
We did however visit a carpet shop where after some ferocious bargaining Naomi came away with a piece she liked, it will be sent home by the shop and will be there when she gets home at Christmas, a nice gift to herself from Turkey πŸ˜‰
Top photo is inside the bazaar, the guy on the right is who Naomi bought her carpet off, the next photo is in his shop and just a small sample of his stock !
One of the many shopping streets and a little shabby chic !
And finally the ski resort in Kayseri is located here, unusual to see it this clearly in summer because of the heat haze !!

Finding our way out of Kayseri was easy enough but the roads were very busy and there wasn’t a shoulder, 10km of this and my nerves were beginning to fray, the traffic really don’t give you much room and are continually on the horns !!

At about 10km the road we wanted was straight on but there seemed to be a no entry sign, cars were going that way so in the end we followed. Three km later we had to turn back as the road was actually closed…bugger ! This small roadworks cost us a 15km diversion, well that and the hotel address being wrong !!

Still it was a good ride and although we ended up doing 85km rather that 69km we still managd to get to the hotel in good time.

Packed up and ready to leave the hotel in Kayseri, great hotel and wonderful, helpful staff !!
General photos of our ride into Avanos, note how the landscape is changing as we approach Capadoccia !

We’d booked the Stone Concept Hotel in Avanos because it had a pool and we felt like a bit of a relaxing afternoon, sitting in the shade with a beer by a pool πŸ˜‰

Hmm, the hotel had all the charm of a shoe box, the pool bar was like a greenhouse, the pool area looked like a building site and the tables and loungers were broken and had no cushions, there were no towels and no shade…anywhere !!

Not impressed, the only thing that was good about the hotel was the food, buffet dinner and breakfast which was included in the room rate and both were fantastic !! Other than that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone !!

Needless to say neither of us was to upset to be leaving in the morning. We’d planned a 25km route to get us to Urgup and our next nights accomodation. Our route took us through the Zelve valley and we stopped to look around the open air museum, it’s a large village built almost entirely into the rock, it even had it’s own winery. Although originally a monastic retreat it remained occupied in some parts until 1952 when now deemed unsafe the villagers were resettled in Aktepe. Great place to look around and as you’ll see it gives great photo opportunities !!

Riding into the Zelve valley !
Some photos from the Zelve Valley open air museum, it’s like walking into a fairytale landscape, nothing quite repairs you for it, fabulous place !!
From the Zelve valley into Goreme !

From here we road into Goreme for lunch, we didn’t look around to much as we have three days here later. Next stop Urgup but to get there we had to cycle out of the valley. I can say with my hand on heart that this road, covered in square cut black stone blocks was horrible even when flat but the hill out was also paved in them and it was so steep that just for once Nao actually walked up one of the bends (this is a first, I’ve never seen her beaten before) !! I got a round of applause from a car full of people as I rounded the last bend onto a slightly flatter bit of road, my poor little legs were spinning just to keep my balance !!

Note, this photo taken the following day on the way back down, it shows how bloody steep it was !!
Starting the hill on the block paved road, the ridge we need to cross visible in the distance !!
And some views from it !

Well after that bit of extreme hill climbing we enjoyed the ride into Urgup and found our pension in the old part of town quite easily. A friendly welcome, a cup of coffe with no charge, a large room with ensuite, made a welcome change from our previous nights hotel !!

The views from the top of the hill before riding into Urgup !

We showered and then took a walk into town, a quick stop for drinks and ice cream then we headed up the hill to find a restaurant with a view and boy did we score !!

A few photos from around Urgup, lovely place if you like hills πŸ˜‰
Naomi enjoying an Efes dark….mmmm πŸ˜‰
As I said the views from the restaurant were pretty good !
And as darkness fell over Urgup, it just got even better πŸ˜‰

It wasn’t cheap eating at Dimrit Cafe and Restaurant but we were made to feel very welcome, we enjoyed the banter with the waiters, we very much enjoyed the Efes dark and the food was fantastic. Added to this that we were also sitting at the table with the best views and you’ll understand why we had such a great night !!

When we arrived back at the pension, we stayed up chatting to the owner, lovely guy, he’d spent a few years in Germany in his early life and has taught German in schools until recently. More coffee and tea was offered and accepted, a pleasant way to end a lovely day.

Morning started with more tea, your never far from a teapot in Turkey and it’s generally given free or at least very cheaply !

Our ride into Goreme was even shorter than the day before, a mere 10km, most of up it uphill or so it felt. Not to many photos taken on such a short ride but now were settled in our hotel for four nights well certainly be out doing tourist things, tomorrow is a photo safari, very much looking forward to that.

This wasn’t the only photo taken on our ride back to Goreme, but for now it’s the only one that matters. More to come in the next blog !!

We’ve travelled almost a 1,000km in Turkey and enjoyed it immensely, the landscapes, hospitality and general feeling of warmth in this country is fantastic.

Suffice to say that Turkey’s biggest asset, it’s real jewel isn’t Cappadoccia or Pammukale or any other tourist location, it’s not the landscapes, the coast, the turquoise seas or the brilliant blue skies…..no, Turkey’s real jewel is it’s people, there generosity is like none I’ve ever encountered, there humour, passion and honesty is to be admired, I for one am humbled by them and am thoroughly enjoying my time in there country.

If you’ve never been, then all I can say is your missing out !!

Keep reading and look out for the Cappadoccia photo blog.

Take care

JC

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About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
This entry was posted in Avanos, Bunyan, Caravanserai, Cycling, Goreme, Hospitality, Kayseri, Sarkisla, Tashan, Turkey, Urgup, world cycle tour, Zelve and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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