Olive fields by Noreen

Olive fields by Noreen
Mysterious, primordial world

Tuesday, 22 March 2016


I struggle with decision making, It does not matter if it's a small or big decision, I like to mull things over.  The more experience I have with a particular type of decision, I find the safer it is to go with my intuition, since the subconscious has a wealth of reliable information from which to draw.
On rare occasions,  I've been spontaneous and throw caution to the wind.
Let me tell you about a recent but not really important decision, still it took me most of a week waking at 4am  mulling it over. I had a gut feeling I'd made a wrong choice but I had made the decision and would have to run with it!
As we now live in Turkey, we would like to see as much of it as possible. As a traveller you are confronted with so much choice and I've always want to go to a city called Konya which is one of the oldest urban centres in the world. Excavations in Alâeddin Hill in the middle of the city indicate settlement dating from at least the 3rd millennium bce
I mentioned this one day to my ceramics teacher who organises bus trips for our class.  However,  I did not realise quite how far away it was and had automatically thought it would involve a short flight followed by a bus trip of an hour or two.   Two weeks later she rang me and asked if she would put our names down for a trip to Konya the following Friday!  On impulse,  I said YES!  My husband 'Mr. D'  said,  "yes somewhere new will be great".  Then I stated googling!  
Travelling all the way by bus with brief stops every two hours  would take 10 hours.   O my God!  what have I said yes to?  I have suffered from travel sickness all my life!  I'm fine on planes and trains but long distances on buses are not for me,  but this is my one chance of going to Konya with a group of Turkish people who have been there before and who know where to go, what to see and the best places to eat.  But I'll be miserable with nausea, a stomach like a balloon and a headache,  am I mad?  maybe I'm being a wimp,  maybe I'll be ok,  I'll see if I can buy motion sick tablets here and then I'll be fine.  But they do not always work and I've never travelled longer than five hours on a bus and I always got sick!  These were my thoughts for the next few days until I eventually rang my teacher and said "Sorry, I don't think we can go to Konya.  I explained why but she said "it's not a mini bus, it's a midi bus, very comfortable and I have your names written down, please, please come,  you will love Konya, it was your idea,  think of Rumi.  So I said ok,  yes we will go......
I tried really hard to be positive thinking about nothing else until the morning of our departure which was very early on that Friday morning.  We arrived at 2.45am for our 3.00am departure to find everyone already had their bags on their seats.  All that was left for us were two seats at the very back of the bus,  a MINIBUS!  On setting eyes on it , Mr. D, said "that can't be it!  there must be another bus!"  but I recognised our teacher so I knew at once that this was it!
I had taken my travel sick tablets so I was going to make the best of it.  The journey was broken every two hours by stops at petrol stations where we could use the toilets and if there was a shop or cafe we could buy ourselves some tea.  Most of the passengers were well used to long bus trips and promptly slept as soon as the bus moved off.  Even though we both had our travel pillows,  there was no way either of us got a wink of sleep.  The same went for the two other passengers who shared the back of the bus with us. Two rather large ladies and the lady beside me was kind enough to apologise on the occasions when she overflowed on to my seat!
At the petrol station stops, she was most anxious to get out of her seat as quickly as possible.  I would usually try to get up before her thus giving her more room.  She still managed to reach part of her body over to where Mr. D was sitting.  I got to hear some choice words as we drank our tea and again when he saw her get back into the bus.  
Getting out of the bus really helped me get through the morning of travelling.  I was able to stretch my arms and do a few back stretches.  Mr. D.'s hip was causing him a lot of pain due to being twisted in his seat.  There was not much room due to the lady in front having her seat reclined somewhat.  She was elderly and slept most of the journey.  He did not want to make her uncomfortable by insisting on her straightening her seat.  
I was amazed by the high standard of the road surface.  There was duel carriageway all the way to Konya.  There were a huge amount of trucks using the roads. As we went further inland away from Milas the land became very flat.  You could see for miles.  The scenery was beautiful. Sometimes we saw some distant hills and they were covered in snow even though the temperatures on the ground were a comfortable 18c.
There were little old houses similar to Irish country cottages scattered along the countryside. There were rows and rows of fruit trees with their beautiful pink flowers glowing in the spring sunshine against a backdrop of green and grey velvet.

I read every sign along the way and eventually saw a signpost for Konya.  We were almost there and I was ok. We arrived in the outskirts of the city around 2pm in the afternoon and arrived at our hotel at 2.20pm.  

Konya was the final home of Rumi (Mevlana), whose tomb we visited in the city on Friday afternoon.

In 1273, his followers in Konya established the Mevlevi Sufi order of Islam and became known as the Whirling Dervishes. We were delighted to eventually see them.

We visited the Mevlana museum, Mevlana cultural centre, Alaaddin mosque and the Ince Minare Medrese (Seminary of the Slender Minaret) which is among Konya's finest and most impressive Seljuk Turkish architectural masterpieces.
 Many of the women in Konya dress in black with black veils on their heads. Some younger women dress casually and fashion does not seem to matter.  However in the centre where the very big shops are,  there were plenty of women dresses the same as western women.

 Our teacher Zeynep who has been going to Konya for over 10 years recommended some very nice restaurants where we enjoyed  delicious meals.

    We also visited Sille. A  village outside Konya which has a landscape much like that of Cappadocia. You can read about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sille_%28village%29
 Sunday morning was a free day so we chose to walk around and found our way back to the mosque we had visited yesterday.  We stayed around that area and took more photos walking into side streets and finding some quaint shops selling unusual clothes.

The old doors and the buildings are a photographers dream. 
We found our way back to our hotel early. I wanted to get my travel tablets from my hold-all bag before we set off for our journey home.  I was in for a shock!  Our two drivers were waiting outside the back door of the bus and informed me that it could not be opened due to the amount of shopping which was packed in.  There was no way I could get to my bag, so it was to be a long trip home with no medication.  
 As you can imagine the trip home was a long one which seemed like it would never end.  Within an hour of setting out,  my stomach felt like a balloon and the usual symptoms followed.  On one of the breaks a kitten sought my company and did much to cheer me up.
 Eleven and a half hours after leaving Konya,  we eventually arrived back in Turgutreis.    I was dizzy and distraught but so glad to get off that bus.  While it was wonderful to see Konya,  long bus trips are not for me!    It will be quite a while before I get on a bus again even for a short trip.