The old man (owner of the pension) prepared for us the traditional Turkish breakfast at the yard of the hotel. Around 9:15am, we prepare our things and departure for Konya, having as finally destination the territory of Cappadocia.
Before leaving the beautiful little island we visited the abandoned church of AYASTAFANOS. The interior does not resemble that of a church. The hagiographies were covered by white paint and graffiti a bad habit of the locals that we see everywhere not only to churches.
After making a stop at the town, we followed a course around the lake Egirdir Golu. A very beautiful and comfort ride without traffic. Following the signs to Konya, we drove into a provincial road to admire the site that was full of trees. We passed Beysehir and we started to climb to higher altitude. In one of our stops for water and rest, a local truck – driver offered us apricots. Very friendly people…
The first time that we saw Konya was from a higher altitude. We decided not to go into the centre of the town. We drive at the circuit – road. The neighbourhoods that we passed gave us the feeling of a very well-built town. We stopped to refuel and we became the centre of the interest…in a way that makes me believe that it was the first time for them to see a bike!
The road from Konya to Aksaray (145km) was crossing a huge area of steppes. The very long straight road made our ride boring. We stopped to Sultanahani. There we visited an impressing but the same time simple and small palace (ticket price: 3YTL/person). Impressing was the outside and the inside gate. At the entrance little kids were trying to sell us cards, they were asking for caramels and some of them for a ride with the bikes!
Reaching Aksaray we followed the signs to Goreme and little more further we turned right to Ihlara. A few km further we could see the entrance of the canyon. We passed some beautiful villages until the next cross-road, from where we followed the road to Selime. There we saw the first houses in the rocks that looked like catacombs. Some people are still leaving there and some other houses are transformed to warehouses and stockyards.
We stopped for some photos and to talk about where we were going to stay. A cute gang of children’s came to us. What happened next was unbelievable. Talking Turkish they were asking about the bikes and they wanted caramels and a ride. We stayed quite a lot time there having fun. For them we were like a nice break from the reality of their lives. Of course we could not leave until all of them pushed the horn and the gas of our bikes!!!
We decided to stay the night at Catlak Hotel (50YTL/double room & breakfast), at Selime. We preferred to eat in a restaurant that was next to a small river, at Yaprakhisar. Some of the tables were on the top of the rafts. The food was good. The only bad thing was the mosquitoes!
Then we met Umit. He was working at the restaurant and he was speaking English. He gave us information’s about the territory and he offered to show us around the canyon. His price was 30 euro so we preferred to go alone with the help of a book.
He also told us about an old hamam at Ilisu (around 10km). We decided to go there with Umit. We paid 15YTL/2 persons for one hour. It was built in the rocks and the water was falling through them. It was fantastic after all the heat and the tiredness of the day!
We went back in the hotel for a tea at the balcony. We had the chance to talk with Umit about many things that had to do with the territory, his family and his plans for the future.