Monday, April 10, 2006


In the morning I slogged the 40km from Bozava to Sanliurfa against a stiff headwind, the same I'd battled with the previous afternoon. The objective for reaching Sanliurfa was to catch a direct bus to Istanbul.

I arrived in the tumultuous centre feeling more than a little lost. I was undecided whether to stay the night or directly leave on a night bus. The matter was more or less directly decided when I was tackled by the owner of a pension. I don't normally allow this to happen but the guy seemed ok & I didn't feel like going to the bother of seeking out something myself. He also arranged a cheaper than normal (I saw the fare list) bus ticket to Istanbul.

I immediately liked the city. It had a dusty Middle-Eastern feeling to it, much more so than those I'd visited to the North & East. There was quite a mix of people on the streets, baggy trousered Kurds to pilgrims clothed in black from head to foot. There were Arab headscarves in all manner of colours. I saw men & women with henna dyed fingers & faces.

It had an impressive pilgrimage pedigree, being the birthplace of Abraham amongst others. The historical centre contained a wonderful complex of mosques & pools which symbolised a legend of the saviour of Abraham from death. Above this complex was the ruin of the ancient fortress.

There was a great bazaar which was a hive of activity, in forges farm implements were being made, metalworkers beat out sheets of tin into all sorts of shapes, shoe repairers & tailors did their stuff. Little boys ran around with slippers, offering to take shoes to be polished. Everyone was very friendly & I got offered çay at every turn. I sat down on a block by the road to eat my doner kebab that I'd bought down the road & someone came out of another restaurant with a glass of water for me to drink.

I cycled 49km in 4 hours & 2 minutes

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