According to an old journal, fifteen years ago today I was in Turkey…
I’m in seat 34 and already seven minutes late. I’m on the night bus to Cappadocia and I’m settling in for a ten-hour ride into the heart of Turkey. The old woman ahead of me is getting feisty, pounding on the window and demanding to leave, loudly. This little drama is all in Turkish, of course, but it’s hard to misunderstand this kind of impatience. Most of the country seems to travel by bus and this is the largest terminal I’ve ever seen. The station is huge, complete with hotel and shopping complex, mosque, 200,000 lira WCs, and plenty of air guns to keep the kids occupied.
Today was busy. I decided to see Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys, and an underground city carved from solid rock.
Then it was off to make reservations, pay more than expected, and recover from sticker shock with a quick lunch at the Backpacker’s Bar. Greek salad again, a bargain with bread at 750,000 lira ($1.20), plus tea and cake.
After checking out of the hotel at noon I sought cool haven at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The Museum had a number of interesting exhibits, including the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus. Actually the resting place of a king from Sinon, I think, the stone has finely detailed carvings of Alexander the Great in battle.
The museum’s dim lighting preserved the displays, while making the charging horses, valiant men, and straining muscles seem one step short of alive.