It’s been a while since I took one of those long, 22 hour bus rides. After a month of soft living it was tough getting used to no sleep, no shower, no nothing except roadside food. And yet, I arrived. I’ll be bouncing around here in the south of Turkey for a few weeks. Anatolia was wild. I’m really looking forward to the return journey to Istanbul after what I saw. For about an hour last night the bus cruised along the shores of Tuz Gölü, a giant salt lake south of Ankara. Speaking of, Anakara is quite a new, modern and dare I say prosperous city? The bus station was immense. It was larger and more impressive by far than any of the Mexican bus stations I’ve seen. And Mexico has some very nice bus stations.
The Nicomedian foothills leading up to Anatolia were gorgeous. They were as colorful as fall in the North East, except it was spring and all the orchards were alive with red, yellow and white blossoms.
Aksaray was a dreary, windy, rain swept town. But after what I saw of Anatolia I understand what drew the nomadic tribes, the Seljuks, the Karamanids, the Ayyoqoyunlu and finally the Osmanli in the aftermath of Manzikert. Parts of Anatolia are just like the steppes of Central Asia, if greener, more fecund. Sheep were everywhere, although the last of the true Turkish nomads were settled a decade ago.
There are also some new photos up. I’m in Şanlıurfa now. The city is commonly known as Urfa, and is widely considered to be the same place as Ur of the Chaldees. It was also known as Edessa and was the first Crusader principality established after the capture of Antioch.
I’ll probably spend one more night here and then head down to Harran, which was also once known as Carrhae, where Crassus got his butt kicked by the Parthians. I’m going to try for the Syrian border there. We’ll see what happens.
If that doesn’t pan out then I am not sure what I will do. I’m of half of mind to go visit fellow Agonista Pembici along the Aegean, but I really want to head up into Anatolia and see Sivas as well.
Is it really May 2nd already? My how time flies. This time last year I was slaving away as a software salesmen back in Austin and now I am in a city that is quite possibly 4,000 years old? Remind me to count my blessings on a regular basis, please.