Burhan uses a system to speed up hotel check in on tour, and to keep track of us all. We are all given a number, and before the bus leaves we count off to make sure that no one is missing. Our luggage also carries that same number, so hotel porters just have to match it to the room. Every hotel must have a record of our passport details, and we have written these out on a list and that will save producing passports every night, like we did when we checked in here. The system, for the most part, worked brilliantly and sped up the check in process considerably.
We are up at 6am, pack and leave our gear at the door for the porters. We have a buffet breakfast and are on the road before 8am. We have a long drive today, some 780km through to the capital, Ankara, and then on to Cappadocia. The traffic is heavy, and there are a lot of delays. When we get to the Bosphorus bridge the road splits to eight lanes for a road toll, and there is a huge bottleneck as the toll lanes merge back to four lanes.
Once out of the city a six lane highway takes us to the capital, Ankara. We are climbing in altitude to over 1000m, and a new 3km long tunnel makes the trip through the pass a lot quicker. In Ankara we stop to visit the Ancient Civilisations Museum. The place is mind boggling, and we are all finding it too much to properly take in. We wander around for about an hour, and then relax in the sun for a few minutes before getting back on the road. Soon after leaving Ankara the road quality degrades, down to two lanes with much of it is being rebuilt, so it is pretty rough. The bus is weaving a bit to avoid the worst of it, and in a few places we are driving on the wrong side to get around the road works.
The landscape is now sparsely populated. Locals tend their herds of goats and sheep, and occasionally cattle. There are no fences or dogs to control the animals, just the farmer and a big stick. The land here is communal and local villagers have the use of it to farm or grow crops. In some areas there is snow on the ground and fresh snow in the trees, bugger, we didn’t think it would be this cold. We pass the huge Salt Lake that Burhan tells us that it is about 3 metres deep. In the summer it completely dries up, changing colour as it dries when plankton and algae in it die.
We travel on through the volcanic plateau under two majestic, snow covered volcanos, arriving in Nevsehir about 7pm. The Peri Tower Hotel looks like a fairytale castle, and each of the four towers holds a wing of rooms. It is bloody confusing as the wings are letters A, B, C, D and then the room number. We are on the 3rd floor, with D rooms to the left, C rooms and to the right. It is not easy to call another room, as you need to remember what tower block people are in, as well as the room number. We head down to the restaurant for a buffet meal and then to the bar for a couple of drinks, but it is a bit pricey here. Tomorrow we will go to the supermarket for some supplies. It has been a long day, and everyone is excited about the morning, so we head off to bed as we have a very early start.