When you book a trip with Turkish travel agents you either get a full and comprehensive itinerary or an extra healthy sense of humour! One agent gets you from one town to another agents' area and the second agent gives you the tickets to get to the next town and see the sights in that area. Stress levels were high the other day when one girl didn't have a clue who, where, what or how she was getting to the next town at the end of the day. She got it sorted and had a bit of a laugh, a bit like I did when they lost my pack. I put it on the little bus that was taking me to the bus station and was told I had 20 minutes before it was leaving. So I went across the road for a kebab, as you do in Turkey, came back and jumped on the bus. While I was gone they took my pack out because they didn't have the room and put it on another bus going to the same place. I'm dialling out when I get to the bus station but these guys are saying "no no no sit down" the whole time. They knew what was going on, no one else does though!
I got to the Cappadocia area on the first morning of the overnight bus trips across Turkey and woke up to a white out. It's bloody snowing again! The three Aussies, the Canadian, Italian and other guys in the back two rows on the bus couldn't believe it. It wasn't all that heavy where we got out but it was still cold, and this is meant to be a sightseeing trip.
Millions of years ago the three volcanoes in the area did their thing and covered a lot of country in ash, as they do. The ash managed to pack down to fairly solid ground but where it was covering basalt rock it eroded a lot faster than the rock and formed what the locals now call Fairy Chimneys. Where the conical mounds had a wide enough base the Christians from 5th and 6th centuries dug into them to build houses and hide from the Romans and Arabs who seemed to make a habit of heading over their way looking for a fight. They managed to build whole cities underground that housed 200 000 people for long periods of time. We went through one underground city that was set up with stables, kitchen, sleeping areas and storage for all the food and materials they needed. They only had the one kitchen though so they could control the kitchen smoke and only cooked once a day. The one we went through was eight levels down and they had manged to dig a ventilation shaft to the lowest level and there was nothing wrong with the air in there either. We also went for a walk through the Red Valley which had a spring fed creek running down it and pigeon holes dug into the cliff walls. The locals used to, and some still do, climb up to the nests and collect the droppings and use them for fertiliser for their crops. After being dragged through all the pottery and onxy carving factories, and walked past souvenir stalls to get to the bus it was time to load for the overnight trip to Pammaluke.
I still haven't learnt to sleep on a bus!
At Pammaluke there is a spring that is very rich in calcium and has been used by the local people for a couple of thousand years. Where the water runs down over the face of the hill it has formed pools then over flowed and formed another pool down the hill. Even in the overcast conditions we had on the day our little group of six went out to have a look at it, it was really neat to see the blue water in white pools down the side of the hill. Of course the tourism thing is big there now and is one of the best known photo sights in the country. But apart from the ancient city ruins in the area, which are definitely worth checking out, there isn't a lot more going for it. Cue the next bus ride. Three hours to Selcuk. This is where Bec's patience started to run out be she got there and is laughing about it now. Aaron, her and I went out for a beer or three and water pipe with apple flavoured tobbaco and it's all good again.
This was the town that made me wish I hadn't spent history class snoring in the back row, well nearly. The ancient city of Ephesus is just outside of town and really was a sight to see. So far they have managed to uncover about 15% of the ruins of the 3000 year old city. A lot of it has been put back together with cemented pieces to join the marble that cant be found or has been taken away. The ancient library, baths and theatre are all there and tourists can walk through them and see how it was way back even before Moses played fullback for Jerusalem. A lot of the more culturally important or better preserved peices have been moved into town to a museum set up in there where you can see full sculptures and even gladiators tools and bones.
One more overnight bus trip. This time north to Cannakale and over the Dardennelles to Acerbat, then 20 km's to Anzac Cove. After a quick meal with the two kiwi nurses that work in Saudi Arabia, Aaron and Jimmy the carpet seeling hostel owner I raced down to the bus station only to sit and wait for a bus that was running two hours late. I got the sense of humour. And I made it to Gallipoli after waiting for another bus, this time three hours late. I was ready to walk the 20 k's. I just kept getting that 'no no no sit down'. Amazing people!!