The group are given souvenir hoodies, with ANZAC Gallipoli 2011 on them. They are white, which isn’t the best colour choice for travel. We won’t be able to take them with us when we leave Turkey, there just isn’t the room and they won’t stay clean for long either. The larger sizes don’t fit well either, but they will still be very useful if it is cold at ANZAC cove.
We head along an old silk road towards Antalya on the Aegean coast. In Sultanhani we visit a caravanserai (serai means castle). These were built all along the road, placed roughly every 40km to provide safe shelter for the camel caravans. They are placed at 40 kilometres because the camels travel at about 5kph, and they allow 8 hours travel a day. The gates would be closed at night, and not reopened until all the travellers were awake and had the chance to check that their belongings had not been stolen. There is a tower in the centre of the courtyard, and Tony decides to have a crack. The stairs are steep, and there are no rails, but it is not too bad getting up. Once on the first floor there are more stairs up to the top, and Tony heads up there to find that the platform around the top is very narrow, and the wall is quite low. He finds the knees are shaking a bit, and he spends most of the time clinging on for dear life. He eventually stands up and moves to the corner where the others are, but the knees are still knocking. Cynthea goes to take a photo but her camera batteries die, so Tony sends his camera down with someone else.
We travelled to Konya where we visit the Mevlana Museum, the original Lodge of the Mevlana Whirling Dervishes. It contains the tomb and shrine of the Mevlana, or Rumi, which remains an important place of pilgrimage. It is very obvious how much this means to the Turks as many of them are in tears and some are wailing. No photos are allowed here, and again they are very strict on it.
We head over the mountain pass and as we leave Zirve there is snow on the ground. It is not cold out, and some of the group have not seen snow before. With chants of “snow fight, snow fight” the bus pulls over. We are asked not to cross the road, and we get to play in the snow like big kids, it was great fun. Beng cops a snowball to the back of the neck just as her photo was taken. Unfortunately for Tony the evidence was plain to see, and she sought her revenge later with a big handful down the back of his neck (could have been worse, could have gone down the pants!).
We arrive in Antalya near dark to stay at the Khan Hotel. The hotel is another good one, but the sauna is out of action (maintenance), the pool won’t open for a couple of months (it is not the season), and there is a phone in toilet (the first we have seen since leaving China). There is a mosque right next door, with bloody loud speakers on the spires pointed right at our rooms, bloody wonderful, not. It is a bit of a party town, on a cliff above stunning beaches and close to the mountains. It gets very hot here in the summer, and today it is about 24 degrees and humid. We are pleased not to be here in the heat of summer. This is the off season, so many of the night clubs are closed, not that we are worried about that. A group of us go for a short walk after tea, there are stunning views of a full moon over the marina. Phil and Tony head off to find a bar for a couple of quiets, and find one at a restaurant across from the hotel.