Seeing Is Believing!

Yesterday was not a good day for things techno; I’ve forgotten my cable links between GPS and computer and the built-in card reader on this machine has decided to lead an independent life! I wasn’t prepared to go out to the car and get my other machine, even for you lot, loyal as you have been to posts past, so it had to be good old Google images to the rescue. Anyway, knowing you can sniff out a bulls*#^ter a mile away, I thought it best to make the effort and put up a few of my own from yesterday. (see below)

Today we continued our usual habit of wandering along windy country and mountain roads enjoying the fantastic vistas that are central Anatolia. Where are we tonight? Safranbolu. We’re in a charming restored konak that now pretends to be a ‘butik otel’. I say pretends because it is just like living in it as it was a hundred years ago – except for the toilet, which I will come to later. We are here to visit out Turkish ‘son’ and his wife who are currently working near here. He suggested this hotel, being one of the best in town, and the management seem to think that, with three laptops, we are special, undercover hotel inspectors for Lonely Planet and have offered us a huge discount on their usual rate! We’ll be here for a few days before wandering off to rummage around the area and further afield.

Anyway, back to the toilet! I don’t know about you but I need to feel at ease and comfortable when . . you know! Damn it! A picture is worth a thousand words, so I’m just going to pop in there with the camera – back shortly.

I mean, look at this; how can one relax with ones knees jammed into the wall tiles? If I wasn’t getting this place for a fraction of the normal rate I’d be demanding a rebate for the stress factor!

A & J

Afyon Kara Hisar (Opium Black Castle) in the first rays of the rising sun
zoomed a bit
Afyon side street
on top of the heap with all those helpful students
. . and she was only wearing sandals!
another of those interminable pictures of old houses

Health & Fitness

‘You’re ‘avin’ a larf!’ I said, ‘With respect!’ (it pays to hedge one’s bets). In my opinion, for what that is worth, J is taking things a bit far with our exercise regimen. There we were, miles from home after a leisurely start and a leisurely drive; in the middle of nowhere;  bombing along on some of the finest, smoothest, vehicle-free duel-carriageway roads you could wish for, when she insisted I pull over onto a farm track that had once been the original main road. “Come on, then’ she said, getting out of the car, ‘we’re going for our daily walk.’ I can’t begin to imagine what all those people on the road thought at the sight of us two pounding, first one way, and then the other – I couldn’t possibly tell you what I thought, either! Health and fitness? Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat is what I call it!

Anyway, duty done we set off again for our overnight stopping place here in Afyonkarahisar (Black Opium Castle). Because the roads have improved so much since we last came through we were here in really good time which was great because we’d be able to wander and explore at a nice, unhurried pace. Right? Wrong!

We started by ambling around the back streets of the old part of town which is a delight to the senses with beautiful old buildings (many are restored and lived in)
and food shops of every description. As I walked and photographed, J remarked that we were on Kale Street – ‘Ummm!’ I mumbled. This was followed by ‘Be a shame to come here and not go up to the top.’ My blood froze as I stopped and looked up. I mean, have you seen that thing? Afyon is already 1030mts above sea level – isn’t it enough that we drove here without climbing up there!

So it was that we set off up the 550 odd, erratically spaced steps that lead, eventually, to the point where you have to scramble the last few hundred metres to the inevitable giant flagpole complete with giant flag. We were passed by hoards of polite and helpful students heading for the summit who would look at me with great concern, gently take my elbow and offer help. What kept me going was the occasional ‘How’s it going, old man?’ from J. Bastard! Got me to the top though!

Was it worth it? Wellllll! Of course it was!

Coming down was much like going up – Jeez, my knees are sore! J says that if we lived here and ‘did’ the castle three times a week we’d be bloody fit. If we lived here I’d be pleading insanity!

This is a really nice town; it bustles with life and activity and I reckon the shops outshine anything I’ve seen anywhere in Mugla (sorry, no Turkish characters on this machine).  Another highlight was finding a wonderful delicatessen which means we’ll have to come back this way to stock up on some really naughty goodies.

A&J (who are not in Okcular)

ps apologies these are not my pics – problem transferring them to computer; should get it sorted soon.