10.07.2017 - 10.07.2017 35 °C
Day 47 Monday July 10 2017
Nemrut Dagi to Elbistan / 205 Km plus detour to Levent
- We decide not to revisit Namrut Dagi at dawn. If you are a keen photographer it will probably be brilliant. The East terrace will be bathed in sunlight. And you should have the place almost to yourself. But the prospect of such an early start ( at this time of year 4 a.m. ) does not appeal, especially since we have one planned a few days later in Goreme.
- Breakfast at Gunes Motel is very simple and somewhat sparse. There is nothing to take for our picnic lunch. We will have to eat the yogurt, bananas and honey that we have as reserve in the truck.
- A quick mention about our accommodation - basic but clean & quiet. No aircon. However at night the temperatures drop, cooled to some extent by the nearby cascade of mountain water.
- SG discovers that she has lost her earplugs & eye blind. Or rather left behind in a hotel bedroom, probably in Elazig. Since she does the final room check, it is absolutely her responsibility. Still over 6 weeks into the trip and that is all that has been forgotten. Not bad really. But earplugs and eye blinds, although not valuable are really precious. Must remember to pack a spare set next time. Just in case!
- The message from people like Huseiyn, the motel owner is to please come to Turkey once more. Many areas that are dependent on tourism are suffering greatly from adverse publicity in the western media about risks of travel. See the photo of the map illustrating areas that are considered risky by the Foreign Office. It is a relatively small part of this vast country & that still leaves many regions that are trouble free, hospitable and desperate for the return of tourists.
- We retrace our route back to the Malatya main road. Encountering drama by the roadside - a truck of grain must have shed some of its load. The villagers are clearing up.
- Further down the road we stop to take a photo of roadside apricot trees, still heavily laden with fruit. From nowhere appear a couple of curious lads - they must have seen our truck pull up and decided to come and take a look. We are equally curious and follow them into the grove of trees, under which members of their family are sorting through the picked apricots.
- They dearly wish to give us a whole bucket of apricots to take with us. Can you get apricot poisoning?! We tactfully take as many as our hands can hold.
- Our only sightseeing today, after much deliberation with Huseiyn over the map, is Levent. A gorge famous for funambulism ( tight rope walking ) and a glass viewing platform, presumably to better watch the crazy skywalkers. It's a detour of some 13 km, into a valley of rock caves, which are no longer such an attraction after all we have seen in Georgia & Armenia. We never make it to the glass lookout ( navigator misses the turning!) but we get an idea of the rocky gorge scenery. It's ok, but it's not worth making it the highlight of your day unless there is a funambulist in action.
- We reach Elbistan mid afternoon. Entering a hotel which chooses to use power stations as its logo is a bit concerning! Apparently there is large power plant some 20 km outside of town. The manager says the hotel has 90% occupancy. It is full of business men. So something does go on in Elbistan after all.
- Having said that the surrounding scenery has been lovely - vast expanses of wheat fields, vegetable cultivation and swathes of sunflowers. The town may not be much to look at, but the countryside around is a pleasure to drive through.
- In the end the Elbistan Park Hotel proves to be a good choice - cool, quiet room ( SG changes only once ) a subterranean swimming pool which she has all to herself. and a great local restaurant just around the corner. The type we have been hoping to find in all of the obscure places we have visited in Turkey.
- The hotel manager recommends a local restaurant just round the corner. The type we have been looking for in all the obscure Turkish places so far visited: clean, friendly service, freshly prepared food and high turnover of clientèle. Elbistan is our first success.
- The restaurant has a great formula: standard appetiser dishes are brought immediately to the table, similarly so with bottles of water and a jug of chilled lassi ( a yogurt / milky type of liquid ). We then select our kebabs grilled freshly to order. It's delicious and not even 5£ a head. It is one of the rare occasions that we are able to eat more than enough.
- There may be no sightseeing in Elbistan but it ticks all the other boxes.