Saturday 18th August (Train to Kayseri)
Wakened about 8am, having slept through Ankara which had seen our presence at about 5.30. Thought I'd check out this lack off a restaurant car business and stretch my legs at the same time. I got no further than the end of the carriage. It was locked! It would appear that the powers that be don't want us important people in the sleepers to come into contact with the plebs. Perhaps they're frightened we'll catch some sort of disease. Or maybe they think we're the ones with the disease!
Train travel in Turkey is slow. In fact most guide books tell you not to bother. If you want to get somewhere fast, take a bus. For example, the bus journey from Ankara to my hotel takes about 4 and a half hours. By train the journey is 9 hours. But as they say, I'm Scottish, I had the ticket anyway and I was in no rush.
|A Meandering Journey|
After Ankara, the train takes it time on mainly single track, meandering along pleasant countryside. It tends to keep to contours, rather than trying to get from A to B in a straight line. The story goes that when the Germans built the rail system in the 19th century, they were paid by the mile, so they took the longest way round.
We made several stops en route to Kayseri, and the train driver only made a token gesture on getting lined up with the platform. That didn't phase people, who got off anyway.
|Who Needs a Station?|
Arrived at Kayseri a little early, so I had about 15 minutes wait for my transport. Kayseri is a large town, situated in the middle of nowhere. There has been a settlement here since 3000 BC. It came to prominence as it was a crossroad on major trade routes. In Roman times it was known as Caesarea. In fact if the Romans had still been in charge, I expect it would have been known as Miltonius Keynsium. It's a sprawling city sitting in the shadow of Mount Erciyes, an extinct volcano standing at 12,700 feet. My driver says that the summit is covered in snow all year round, but not this year. Anybody mention global warming?
The drive to Goreme, where I'm staying took a little over 45 minutes. A quick call into the agency which Flightholiday had asked to take care of this part of my itinerary, then off to my hotel. In act it is a "pension". Disappointingly the room has no AC, no TV, no towels and no water. One thing it does have, however is WIFI in my room, so I can get up to date with emails etc. Towels were quickly sorted, and water promised in 15 minutes. At 1am I gave up and went to bed, not having washed or shaved for nearly 2 days. At least I was able to freshen up a little, thanks to my foresight in nicking these towel things they give you every time you fly on Cyprus Turkish Airlines.