Not wanting to subject my poor mother [at that point] to a gruelling overnight bus to Cappadocia, we decided that we’d fly from Izmir to Kayseri. I’d booked flights online when we were in Selcuk – a lengthy process when we discovered that both of my debit cards and Mum’s credit card either required netcodes that would be sent via SMS [my phone doesn’t work, and Mum left hers at home] or a password that for the life of me I couldn’t remember. We went to a travel agent, who told us that there were only three seats left on the plane [which I knew was a blatant lie, as an hour earlier only about ten seats had been selected according to the airline’s website] and that the cost online had increased to 150TL and that was the lowest he could sell tickets for. At that point I thanked him for his time and we left, deciding to try online again. I remembered that I hadn’t tried my credit card – the thing I do my best to forget about – and luckily this worked. We paid the price I’d seen online previously, being 100TL each plus a 20TL booking fee. So by finding my credit card I saved us an unnecessary $50. I understand that travel agents have to make a commission, but an extra 50% was too much, and as he’d lied about the number of seats left I wasn’t interested.
Flying meant that we had to get a bus from Pamukkale to Denizli, Denizli to Izmir and from Izmir to the airport. Does it already sound like the overnight bus would have been less hassle?! The first parts were fine. I’d found that there was a regular bus going from the Izmir Otogar to the airport so I didn’t think that would be too much of a hassle. I’d forgotten, of course, that everyone at a bus station wants to ‘help’ you…while taking your money. When we arrived at the Otogar I asked around to try and find the official airport bus. Someone came over and told me that their bus went to the airport [in a mixture of English and Turkish, with many repetitions of ‘havalimani’, the word for airport] so stupidly we trusted him and got on his bus. After about forty-five minutes he pulled over on the side of the highway near a bunch of taxis and told us to take a taxi to the airport! Needless to say I was not particularly impressed with this. The taxi drivers of course claimed that the airport was 4KM away [a LIE, it was about 1KM as we found out going there] and refused to use the meter. The whole thing just felt like such a scam to me. But then maybe the bus driver thought he was doing us a favour – although he had to know that there was a proper airport bus that actually went to the airport, so I suspect he was more interested in our fare and getting a commission from the taxi driver. Neither Mum nor I were particularly impressed, and we were both rather cranky when we got to the airport, especially with the lying taxi driver who tried asking me for a tip after already ripping us off.
Still, it was at Izmir Airport that we began our tradition of Burger King at the airport. Security didn’t want to let us in with our umbrellas, but somehow we convinced them that they were simply umbrellas and not deadly weapons so they eventually let us take them. But only as carry-on, bizarrely!
The flight from Izmir to Kayseri was entirely uneventful until the rather bumpy landing. What was exciting though was that it was snowing as we disembarked from the plane. I’d organised a shuttle transfer to Shoestring Pension in Goreme, and we were the first to arrive so had to wait for about half an hour for the other passengers. I didn’t mind this – it was better than paying three times the price for a private transfer! We waited beside the minivan, despite the driver’s insistence that it was warmer inside. We were having fun in the snow. It looked so beautiful falling on the roof of the airport and the cars.
We had to take some pictures, of course, and Mum’s red umbrella looked gorgeous in the snow. So did Mother, of course, until I caught her trying to catch snowflakes in her mouth. Apparently 51 is not too old for such childish pursuits!
Doesn’t she look guilty, having been caught out?
We mucked around in the snow for a while, and soon I caught Mother in another act of vandalism – writing on someone’s snow-covered windscreen. In case you can’t make it out, it says ‘BH + SG’ in a heart…her initials and Dad’s.
The transfer to Goreme took longer than expected – about an hour and a half, as we were the very last to be dropped off and due to the roads we had to go via Nevsehir. We were very pleased to arrive at Shoestring Pension, at about 10pm, to be very kindly welcomed and shown to a beautiful cave room. The fact that they’d turned the heater on earlier to warm the room for us was so very much appreciated!
In a case of beauty before age, I claimed the big double bed. After all, I’ve been living in tiny singles and bunk beds for months while Mother would have the luxury of shortly going home to a reasonably sized bed! In fact we made a deal to share…I’d have the first two nights and she’d have the third.
When we asked Suleyman, the helpful gentleman at reception, whether there was anywhere nearby that we could eat at this late hour he took us to the Cappadocia Pide House around the corner. What a recommendation – the food was fantastic and the staff there so very, very friendly. We had a delicious meal – Mum with a beef guvec [casserole] and me with a chicken sach [a Bulgarian style casserole served on a heated metal plate], along with delicious freshly baked bread.
Baklava to top it off, we were well and truly ready for a good night’s sleep when we returned!