After leaving Randy and Toma we’d headed up to Gocek to get our Christec battery chargers removed and sent back to France for reprogramming, ready for when our newly ordered Victron Lithium (LIFePO4) batteries arrived to Sanli from Modayacht. The house batteries that Lagoon supplied weren’t very good and their days were rapidly coming to an end. The cunning plan was to get Sanli to remove the Christec units and send them off, whilst at the same time ordering all the parts from Victron, whilst we fill in the time waiting with a nice little roadtrip.
On the way to Gocek by boat, we had called into Kalkan and saw Peter, an American guy who we met in Kas and who lives in the hills behind Kalkan. He’s been a textile trader in Turkey and had lots of suggestions on where we should go. He also invited us to stay the night at his beautiful house just outside a little village with great views down to the coast near Kalkan. We swam in his lovely pool and got to know his dogs. He then cooked us a great meal whilst we enjoyed the view. Next day we took him out sailing – only for the day as he had some dog business to attend to – he’d been looking after some strays and the lady from the dog refuge was coming to see him.
Boats are a great way to see a country, but sometimes its great to get a hire car and check out what’s beyond the coast. As you can guess, we organized to leave La Mischief under the watchful eye of Smiley in Kas for the great bargain of 70TL a night. We had to go stern to the wall with our anchor right over the other side of the harbour, well away from the chain that ran down the middle of the harbour. In this case, the chain was a godsend as it allowed us to take a belts and braces approach and pay 100TL to a diver to attach a rope around this chain and back to the boat. La Mischief was going nowhere whilst we were away.
Smiley also organised our hire car for 90TL a day – another bargain. By the time we’d finished getting the diver organised, it was into the afternoon as we headed towards Kalkan.
With our map marked up with a combination of Peter’s suggestions, lonely planet recommendations and stuff off the net, we headed inland. It was a great drive through some interesting scenery. As it started to get towards dark, we found ourselves not far from Sagalassos. Lonely Planet describes it as “the very antithesis of the ‘Ephesus experience’, Sagalassos is rarely troubled by tour buses or crowds; sometimes the visiting archaeologists or sheep wandering the slopes outnumber tourists”. Sounded like a visit.
So off we headed hoping to find somewhere to stay on approach. We drove through one small town that didn’t have a hotel in sight. I was pessimistic as we drove through the countryside, but Dee as usual was upbeat and sure enough there was a sign that said “ Sagalassos Hotel and Spa – 200m ahead. Bingo – 5 star hotel for about $70 a night, which we nearly had all to ourselves.
After enjoying a bit of luxury, it was off up the top of the mountain to check out ancient Sagalassos, one of the Med’s largest archaeological projects. As promised, we pretty much had the place to ourselves as we wandered around some pretty impressive ancient ruins. It still had running water, which flowed through the ancient Roman water fountains in the square. Nice.
Back in the car we continued to head inland through the lakes district. Next stop was a town called Eğirdir on a lake called Eğirdir. It was on the must see list but after stopping and having a stroll around we decided we needed a new must see list. Nothing to write home about.
Next stop was one we would have never have got to if it hadn’t been for Peter suggesting we go there. It was the Hittite moment at Eflatunpınar, which means “lilac coloured spring”. The spring have been directed into a rectangular pond with a high wall of reliefs with the Storm God and the Sun Goddess with winged sun-disks above each. The most amazing thing about this is that it was built 3000 years ago, well before the Greek empire came into existence.
next stop – Beyşehir on lake Beyşehir was very impressive, mainly due to an extremely old wooden mosque. Dee got accosted by a lovely old lady who helped us cover up appropriately so we could go in and marvel at the wood work.
The last stop of the day was Konya, a religious centre and home of the whirling dervishes. We got there at 5pm and drove through the centre of the city, marveling at the very impressive Mevlâna Museum, which is the mausoleum of Mevlâna Jelaleddin Rumî. Rumi is one of the world’s most read poets. The Mevlâna Museum is Turkey’s second most-visited tourist attraction after the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul. Rumi was a mystic, a Sufi saint who loved all religions, and whose own religion was love.
Konya was the capital of the Seljuk Turkish Sultanate of Rum. The Seljuks built numerous caravansarays along the Silk Road between Cappadocia and Konya, and beyond. Seljuk architecture is outstanding, and the Mevlâna Museum was a very impressive example of this architecture.
Konya is also the place to get Tandoor Lamb, with a night view of the stunning Mevlâna Museum and joining Mosque. 13 hours of slow roasting produced the best lamb I have ever tasted. It was so good , we returned later on the way back from our road trip and pigged out on 300gms each.
As luck world have it, we rolled up on a Thursday, which is when the Whirling Dervishes put on a free display. These followers of Rumi lose themselves in trance and dance, spinning like tops for hours on end. There’s lots of tourist destinations throughout Turkey where you can go and see the Whirling Dervishes but Konya is where they come from and the best spot to see them by a country mile. The Sema ceremony, which they perform is really a prayer, totally memorising with 22 Dervishes whirling away under the direction of their leader, backed by a singer and an accompanying band of traditional musicians. The performance itself is the closest a tourist can get to watching a genuine Whirling Dervishes performance.
Next morning it was off North to Ankara.
For photos of the road trip click here.