Tuesday, April 28, 2015

On the road to Cappadocia

There was a universal sigh last night when Barçin announced our wake-up time of 6am, and some good-natured heckling about this being a meant to be a holiday but, truly, this country is huge and today some 650km spun under the wheels of the coach as we drove into Cappadocia. Barçin had stories to entertain us along the way, though, the most unusual the account of his traditional circumcision at the unusually advanced age of nine. There were some stops, too: for yummy yoghurt with honey and poppy seeds, for yet another buffet lunch, for a bit of shopping. 
The farmers on the coach were fascinated by the lack of fences, the sheep and goat herds, the old old tractors; while the rest of us just thought, How picturesque, especially against a backdrop of snowy volcanoes. We didn't see any camels but did stop at a caravanserai (which I had only heard about thanks to my Alistair Maclean phase) near Konya, the home of Whirling Dervishes where their founder, Rumi, is entombed under a dome of beautiful calligraphy, with books of more of it in glass cases nearby. Also, his beard is in a box that you can sniff (it's scented, but more likely thanks to regular spraying rather than nine centuries of goodliness).
We went to watch them spin that night, four of them in white robes and gravestone hats under a dome in an old stone han. One was young and got into such a deep trance so quickly that some of us had grave fears he would topple over backwards; but though it was fascinating - especially how long and how fast they could spin without any signs of dizziness - and the light show afterwards was well done, the best bit for me was the initial chanting/singing, which really was mesmerising.

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