About the snow-covered Hittite capital of Hattusa, lion gates, and a miracle which manifested transportation for me.

I only confirmed what I had been told in Safranbolu:  There is no way out of Bogazkale other than via the rare microbus (which only goes when it fills) and back to Ankara if I wanted to move on; or via a $100 taxi to the next big town from where I could move on more directly.  I watched the microbus all morning – none left even though my guide book said that mornings are the best time.  “It’s winter!” was the answer.  Does this mean nobody goes anywhere just because it’s winter?  I needed a miracle.

But I could not worry about this now.  I was here to see Hattusa, the ancient capital of the Hittite empire.  I knew the Hittites only from their engagement with the Egyptians.  After their battle of Kadesh, they signed one the earliest peace treaties recorded in human history.  But who were the Hittites?  No idea.  I have to admit that even after I saw what was left of their mighty capital, I have a hard time picturing exactly what they were like.  The archaeologists say what looks to me like a few piles of rocks, a few gates, a few mounds, and a few carvings were actually a 100-step pyramid, multiple temple complexes, seven cisterns and residential areas for 50,000!  Wow – once again, I have to hand it to the archaeologists – how they can reconstruct this is beyond me.  But the snow, a picture-perfect blue sky and a completely deserted site made it a wonderful day.  I hiked up into what’s left of the city, and in addition to the stone remains saw several hawks, a few other unusual birds, and a wolf – I swear it was a wolf!  Not a dog.  It was bigger than a cat with a white-black thick fur!

The core of the capital can be surrounded on a 6 km long path.  When I had reached about mid-point, a car pulled up with the only other visitors of the day:  Four young German guys in their twenties on their way east to Syria, Jordan, and ultimately Nepal. They traveled in a van and their next stop was Göreme – just where I needed to go but couldn’t!  Thanks, St. Christopher, thanks Ganesh!  This was the miracle I needed.  They manifested a car with nice people and most importantly space for me and my ridiculously large suitcase.  I could not believe it!

Matti, Mark, Chris, and Nico – we visited the rest of the site together, went astray on a beautiful and slippery walk searching for some rock carvings which we ultimately found – but only after giving up on our walk and taking the road up to a boring parking lot…  And then we drove on together to Cappadocia, one of the most unusual regions of Turkey which we reached after dark.

The guys are done with their studies and are taking a few months between university and their next jobs to explore the world.  For now they are traveling in this car, which they purchased for the trip and hope to sell again.  Then they will be trekking on with their backpacks.  A really nice bunch!

And so the day went!

In gratitude for their help, I took them out to lunch and bought two bottles of wine which we consumed at my next hotel in Gerome, the Kookaburra Pension.  The hotel was as boarded up as all the other hotels I had stayed in recently:  It’s winter, for god’s sake!  But after much calling and turning on lights in the beautifully decorated hallways, the owner Eson emerged.  My room had 3/40 degrees last night and warmed up to a whopping 8/46.  All night I lay in my bed as stiffly as I could in order not to hit any ice cold spots which I had not yet managed to warm up with my body heat…  This will take some getting used to. But the view from the terrace is unbeatable, and the city should be fun to explore for a few days.  The guys are heading out to Nemrut tomorrow – I could have gone with them.  But I need more time.  And I am sure things will work out from here on out just as much as they have worked out so far.

Thanks, guys!  And a wonderful further trip to you!

Good night!

2 comments so far

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  1. Hey Elısabeth,
    wır waren leıder nıcht mehr am Nemrut, weıl wır an ıhm vorbeıgefahren sınd und er so verschneıt ausgesehen hat, dass eın Ausflug dorthın nıcht moeglıch schıen. Stattdessen haben wır uns allerdıngs Göbeklı Tepe angeschaut. Es war leıder von Stacheldraht umgeben, so dass man nıcht sehr nah herankonnte, aber falls du sowıeso noch dort unten bıst, dann schau es dır ruhıg mal an 🙂
    Lıebe Grüsse und weıterhın eıne gute Reıse,
    Marc, Chrıs und Nıco (Mattı ıst schon wıeder zuhause)

  2. The people you meet on your travels make your journey all the more amazing and would be a fascinating book by itself. Miracles continue to find you and the glitches you encounter seem to work out for the best. We have always listed our favorite thing and our surprise at the close of each day when we travel and only wish that we had kept journals along the way. I have tried but found myself falling asleep while attempting to write so I really marvel at the wonderful writing you do when you surely must be bone tired. Thanks so much for sharing such an fascinating journey with us.