Olimpos to Goreme, another big long day of driving, ~700km in the Urban Assault Vehicle. Stopped briefly in Antalya, and saw up close just how western and touristy it was. Went to a big mall, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, prices marked in both Euros and Lira, but still very turkish, with 8 of the top 10 cds being turkish. Anyway, not really our style, having to go through metal detectors to get into the mall and all that love. We continued on, turning north at Manavgat, heading inland, and overland.
What a contrast. Almost immediately after leaving the coast at Manavgat we were up in big mountains, scrubby pine trees, snow, and cool crisp air. Stopped to play in some snow, and run around gaily in the mountain meadow. Came down to Beyşehir for lunch, but didn't really find a nice cafe this time. Found an internet cafe, cunningly masking the late teens, early twenties, gay young mens lounge, and the old men's dominos and cards joint, and got some food in the end.
Beyşehir has a really big lake, with even bigger mountains lining the western end. It reminded me a lot of the sierra nevada, only with less exposed granite. Looks like a great place to go for long walks.
Most of the rest of the day we were driving north east through Konya towards Aksaray, a vast area of fertile farmland, which has been feeding Turkey for centuries.
Konya was unexpectedly large. We knew that it was the spiritual capital of the Sufi mystics, the old Selçuk capital, and indeed a place of pilgrimage for muslims worldwide (according to the rough guide at least), but we still didn't really expect it to be SO big, and SO flat and sprawling. Oh well :)
We drove through. Onwards and Onwards. More fields, blue skies, clouds, fields. Approaching Aksaray we knew we were reaching the edge of this vast plain. Hasan Daği and the mountains behind were a clear demarcation. Sunset was lighting up the fields and hillsides beautifully.
Finally, down into the navigational mess of major roadworks in an already cluttered part of the map, we managed to pull into Göreme. The haggling and bargaining squad, led by Agent Ben were deployed, and a large 6 bed room was obtained for 7 ytl per person per night. Bargain.
Oh yeah, Did I mention that our room was carved into the rock? Just like half the town. We had arrived in Cappadocia.