Hotel Mavi Kösk, Konya
Mavi Kösk is on a sidestreet of Mevlana Caddesi, close to the Mevlana Museum. I had a very nice view over the museum and Selimiye Mosque from my window.
I paid 20 000 000 TL for a room with bathroom and TV. Breakfast is included in the price. They wanted to serve the breakfast in the room but I asked to have it downstairs, didn't want to sit alone in my room.
There are also cheaper rooms with shared bath for
12 000 000 TL.
Turkek portion of One year around the world
We will see Istambul, Avanos, Antalya, Kas, Marmaris, Pamukkale, and Bodrum. It was very cold in Febuary, so we did a quick tour of 3 weeks. We went back in October 1997 to have a better understanding of Turkey.
"3 WEEKS IN TURKEY"
Turkey in Febuary is a cold country. Even the south part, on the Mediteranee sea is cold at night. But the Turkish poeple are warm to compensate.
After a long flight, we go true customs and change money. We go out of the airport and Taxi drivers jumps on us... OUF! We just ran back inside. Then took time to prepare ourselves to face these arrogant taxi drivers. They are the same allover the world.(As a rule, we do not take taxis unless it is impossible to use public transportation. Always use the meter. If not have a price fixed before getting inside. When the ride is over, take off your backpack from the trunk before paying)
We look at our guide and now we know exactly which bus we want to take. We, with a smile, say no to the taxis and sit in the bus, after of course make sure it is going Downtown.
We deceide to take off when we see a few hotels. Walking around we choose Docktor Hotel. The price and the place is OK. 30CND$. We will realise after that 30$ is expensive and will change our range of hotels. Live and learn...
We spent 3 days in Istambul, visiting the popular tourist Mosques, Museum etc...( In this Travelogue I will not repeat what all tourist guides will tell you. I will concentrate on Our organisation, and our feelings.)
We discovered the roofs! In most of the countries we visited, poeple uses the roofs, for restaurant, sunbathing etc... This was all new for us. Here in Canada forget this, because of the snow most of the roofs are builded at an angle. Having breakfast on a rooftop restaurant, with the sunrising and the mueslim call is quite a feeling of being far from home.
Crossing the bridge to go to the ferry peer we discover new entrepreneurs. Young child with an old scale, for a few pennies you will make this young businessman smile.
We book a night train to Ankara on our way to Cappadoce.
The tramways in Istambul are very comfortable, and cheeps. We took them from one end of the route to the other, an easy and inexpensive city tour.
The night train is also our first experience in a sleeper. We were very happy, clean and comfortable it is a super way to travel and we will use it again.
The advantage of night trains is that you save on hotel, the disadvantage is that you cannot see as much as travelling daytime. The sunrising was wonderfull, in the crispy cold air.
Not much to say about Ankara. It was a stop on our way to Avanos. We went to the Bank and, beleive it or not, i changed 1000USD$ for Liras,at 17,346L for 1$... The bundle was so big we had to split it in 4... After 3 weeks I had to change back Liras to USD with an important loss... Live and learn :)After this lesson,in other countries, we exchange $1000 traveller cheque to 10X100$ at American Express (no charge).
In Turkey all the buss companies are at the same terminal. It is a good idea to check yourself at the counters on schedule. Some toots will push you to their companies pretending that their busses are the next bus to leave and it is not always true.
Talking about busses, what a nice thing they do ... The driver's helper will give you Cologne water every once in a while to keep you fresh. In counterpart the Turkish tobacco is strong and they smoke everywhere ...
At the end of the day we always purchase a few things for breakfast. Fruits, crackers etc... just in case we get hungry very early and restos are not open.Dont forget the bottle of water...
It was very cold there in Febuary, there was traces of snow in the fields. We chose to stay in an hotel with heat. It was a bit more expensive ($20USD) but it worth the expense. The owner invited us for a tea in his jewellery store. I was suspicious, when will he start to push sales ? Shame on me ! We were in the backcountry and many if not most of the poeple just want to chat around a cup of hot tea. So there we are the owner, Marie Anne and myself sitting on a small plastic stool along the white wall and facing the jewels counters. He speaks good english and very good french. But he speaks verry little. We have plenty of time... Few sentences, then look in front of you and taste the tea. Enjoy life, we are on the road for the next year but we still feel like 2 weeks vacation tourists... It will change with time and our friend starts to help us. Hey... take the time to feel the time buddy... He is not that abrupt but he acts like this ... Never he tried to sell us something, in fact at one moment his daughter gave us some cakes with a wonderfull smile.
The following morning we go to Derenkuyu, to see the underground cities. The owner comes to the bus station with us and make sure with the driver that we will get there. In those bus we saw some kind of officers controling the papers and counting the passengers...By the nervous attitude of our driver, we tought that the controls are very tough.
Coming back Marie Anne will try her talents of potter. The advantage of being in this town in the middle of winter is that these artisants have nobody but us to talk and have fun with.
We then took a night bus to Antalya on the Mediteranée sea. The ride was terrible, cold hot, stops, we could not sleep at all.
After that terrible night, we needed a good rest. We were left in the middle of the bus terminal at 6 am.
In a cafe, a taxi driver offered to bring us to a friend's hotel... We were suspicious, but accepted under the condition that if we dont like we dont pay. He was sure enoug, and with reason. The hotel was Ok and the price also Uno Hotel on Lara beach.We spent 3 days there, mainly to benefit of the sun. The only bad experience we had there was our fish menu. In a nice restaurant on the beach we deceided to have fresh fish. They we live in an aquarium. they were deliciour but it cost us around $30USD. We got our lesson on fish... Allover the world fish can be very expensive and/or very cheep. Always ask for the price before. Some places sells by kilo...and you could end up with a very expensive meal...
We spent time in the market, on the peer, walked all around the town, sit at many cafes for hours just watching poeple living. We were still in the '2 weeks vacation' mood...
Since we were at 15 minute Dolmus (mini-bus) from the central area, we took the Dolmus often enough to be very at ease. I was even helping passing the money and the change from the new passengers to the driver. Hey !
The last morning in Antalya we woke up so early that the staff of the hotel was a bit desoriented. A good idea to tell them the day before if you wish to leave early. Live and learn... All of them (staff) was lining up at the door to shake end when we left. We were the only guest in the hotel :)
We travelled to Kas in a Dolmus.As a rule, we try to buy tickets ahead of time so we ask for seats 1-2, front of the bus and better view.In Kas, we visit a few rooms, we want heating, The first place we went had no heating, The owner gave us a cup of tea and a piece of cake,and then walked us to a bigger hotel with heating... This is Turkey.... and Turkish hospitality. This hotel is too nice for us, Marie Anne wants to know the prices before looking at the rooms.300,000 L, $15USD is still acceptable for our budget. We are just starting our trip, and will learn how to negociate further down the road.
The restaurants are not equiped for cold season. Some don't even close the doors.Very cold for an evening meal. In fact Turkey is the only ountry we were cold, the remaining 10 months of our trip was very very hot :)
We spent 2 daay there, walking allover the town, market, sea shore, open theater and cafes. We enjoy the sun it is getting warmer every day, good for our old bones.
It is so nice to be waken up by the call of the mueslim.Even if it is a bit early, we loved the ritual. Lay in bed for a few minutes, then go to the window ans see the village starting the day...
On our way from Kas to Marmaris, we forgot to take of for the bus transfert. As soon as the driver's helper realised the mistake, he stopped a Dolmus driving the opposite way and managed for us to be driven to the transfert terminal on time,and at no charge of course. Again Turkish hospitality.
In Marmaris, we walked on Attaturk Cadesi (each city have an Attaturk street) to find a nice hotel Mavi Hotel, on the front of the sea at a very good price. Now we have to find a way to go to Athena... Boat would be the cheeper one but it is not easy to travel from Turkey to a Greek Island in the low season.We spent time at the ferry terminals to discuss with the clerks. We will take a decision later.
We had some greats brochettes in a very cold restaurant. When I asked the owner to close the door, he smiled at me showing that al the windows on the top of the door had no glass... They were serving long pieces of bread (75cm.) covered with honey... great...
There also we spent time on the beach, in cafes, allover the town in markets and parks. We spent an afternoon on the peer, watching big sailboats being pampered. Lovely scenery... these guys acts like if they have the whole life in front of them. Slow and relaxed... Remember the noise of the cables and pulleys hitting the long aluminium mast... ding, dong...
Tomorrow we go to
We went to Pammukale by Dolmus, the ownner of those mini buss realy take good care of them. At some pipi stops, they wash it allover... We had to gr true a big snow storm in the mountains. We were effraid of what was waiting for us at destination.We change bus at Denezli (You should find hotel there and go to Pammukale the following morning) and in the new bus, we have been aproched by a toot. We accepted to see his hotel, because he told us it was heated... When we got there, the hotel was a rat hole, and no heat. We firmly refused to sleep there. The tout was upset and told us we were rich capitalist. (our first bad expérience with Turkish) We took a cab to Pammukale Hotel. Nice but expensive. TV in room, hot pool with pieces of Romain pillars in the water but independant heating system in each room.
We spent time at sunrise and sunset on the cotton falls. Out of this world, the colors, the feeling... hard to describe. This white sediments of rocks are very warm. EverY pot of water is hot. Smoke over the rocks, wonderfull view on the lands down under. It realy worth the trip. Don't miss this.
We have been told that there was more water on the falls a few years ago, before the big Hotel diverted the sources to fill their pools... Unbelieveble that the authorities let that go !
It was funny to see the poeple selling souvenirs jumping out of their cars 15/20 of them, each time a new tourist bus stopped on the site... Inconvienience of organises tours...
We also spent time in the big Romain Theater 200 years old, now under renovation by the Italian autorities.
This hotel had a Buffet breakfast... Nice place to abuse on Honey, which I did a lot.
We leave to MARMARIS, and went back to Mavi Hotel. They recognised us and gave us a room with vew on sea, at the same price.
We will need the next day to organise our trip to Rhodos Island, and change the Liras I have left for UDS. In the transaction I end up loosing $59USD. a fortune... Next time I will be a lot more carefull in changing money, really go for the minimum until I find the cost of living, then, change a bit more if the rate is good. Live and learn...We will leave tomorrow morning for Rhodos Island, but will end up at:
Early breakfast and we walk to the peer. Bang! The clerk tells us: No boat... The agency have our money, and our passeports! There we are 7 of us in the same situation... All mad, but what can we do? A young American girl tells us that there is a departure next monday from Bodrum. We go to the agency, thanks God it is open.After some embarassed apologies, they reimburse and give us back our passeports. They cannot confirm Bodrum's departure on Monday. After a short discussion we deceide to go to Bodrum, nothing to loose. It is a Dolmus drive for 4 hours. The only thing I remember is that the guy behind us must have eaten a ton of garlic in his life. I don't mind garlic, but there is a limit :). In the bus we make friends with Australian couple, they are on the road since one year, we just start our year on the road, so we will spend the next 3 days with them.
We split to find better and cheeper room. John finds one at 200,000L $ Mine is 300,000L. That is experience... We install our backpack in Albatros Hotel. Very nice little family owned place. We went back in 1995 and it is still a nice place to live.
We spent 3 days walkind around and discussing with the Ashley's. They gived us goose pimples, describing the countries that we will visit in the next few months.
John gave me a few lessons of bargainning. I was still new at that and even if I read a lot, a good live example was very helpfull and motivating. Thanks John.
On Monday as promised we can leave by ferry to Kos Island. We were followed for a good half hour by Daulphins. What a nice animal. They were really playing with the waved made by our boat. After this very nice ferry trip we finaly landed on:
KOS, GRECE :
TO CONTINUE OUR TRIP AROUND THE WORLD, PLEASE GO TO MY GREECE PAGE.