2011
03.16

SYNOPSIS:

A long day, taking one bus after another to little Divrigi. Some Lonely Planet limits.  Nothing to report. Just noting it anyhow.

Nobody could tell me anything going even an inch beyond their own horizon at the various bus offices in Goreme, but it was like working with a bunch of gears which miraculously reached into one another and all together made this machine go around. I covered almost 500 kilometers today into the “hinterland” with four different buses, four different bus companies, and four transfers going to a town which according to the Lonely Planet and all the internet research I did, did not even have a hotel or a place to stay, and which according to the people at my starting destination did not even exist.

Yet, 10 hours later I arrived at that unknown town and found a lovely, clean, warm hotel, too. It’s a miracle! It goes to show at least two things. First, even without the big picture before you, the little pieces of the puzzle still can come together and second, there is more to local life than the Lonely Planet wants you to believe. I put trust into the pantheon and they came through for me once again. I was amazed though that I made it in the nick of time, 15 minutes before darkness and that it only took me 10 hours, not the 1.5 days or 16 hours I had anticipated.

I will spare you the details. Just that once again I wish we had anything like this in the US. Bus travel here, as in the rest of the Middle East, has been perfected to a system comparable to air travel. There are various competing companies, terminals, ticket counters, on-route food services, and bus attendants. Travel is dirt cheap in most of the Middle East and still very reasonable in Turkey. OK, I paid about $50 today to cover 500 km. In Syria or Iran this would have cost more like $5. But I am not complaining. Layover times were no more than 1.5 hours and usually less and the bus network seems to cover almost every corner of this country.

Divrigi is a tricky one. It is a “dead end/one way” street to due to its remote geographical location. Once you are here you are blocked by the mountains and have to go back almost 100 km before you can turn north-east again.   Getting out and onwards will be complicated. But this is as bad as it gets, I would assume. I might take this opportunity to take a train. Trains are nowhere nearly as developed as the bus system and much slower. But it will prevent me from going backwards and through numerous transfers and delays and it will provide me with a new train experience. I am hopeful. I have seen a few Turkish trains and they all had their windows and doors in place. After the disastrous train ride from Luxor to Edfu and Dendera in Egypt, I am cautious now. I don’t need another one of those…

If I had trusted the Lonely Planet, the nearest place to sleep would have been 85 km away! They don’t even mention the possibility of staying overnight in Divrigi. Yet, here is the lovely Divhan Otel. Yes, it is 4 km from the UNESCO site, the reason I came here, but that is a lot closer than 85! I was even given a choice of hotels when I asked in the bus. The other one, the Taj Mahal, just sounded much too expensive to me. But I might be wrong. This one is a perfectly fine mid-range place at $35 per night.

And after eating a microwaved Turkish soup at the downstairs market, I will call it a day.

Good night.

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