On Nov. 3, we left Cappadocia and drove to the city of Konya, driving through open farmland. Along the way we stopped to talk to some Kurdish farmers harvesting their sugar beet crop. They have a tough life since they are not accepted by the local people. They can not build their houses and they are definitely looked down upon. They were so gracious and sweet. Some of our group tried their hand at pulling the beets from the ground.
That is what I like so much about OAT trips - you get to interact with the local people in their environment.
Next we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant in the town of Sille. In this town is the oldest church in Asia Minor dating back to 327 AD. It is named after Helena, mother of Constantine (4 AD). It is beautifully restored.
We drove into Konya which is a very Muslem-conservative, large city. We visited the Mevlana Mouseloum ( Ottoman Empire 13 AD) from the mystical order of the Mevlevi. This sect, known as the "Whirling Dervishes" for their ritual dance, was founded by Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi - a 13th century lyrical poet who preached of tolerance, forgiveness, and enlightenment. We saw the tombs of Rumi, and many artifacts of this sect. The Mevlevi Dervish mystics are still held in high regard by many Turks.
Tomb of Rumi:
On the grounds of the museum we visited a felt craft shop where women were making beautiful scarfs, shawls, and other pieces using felt.
Tonight we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and had a pretty dismal meal in their restaurant. The best meals have been out of the hotels in the local villages.
Tomorrow we drive to the coastal town of Antalya on the Mediterranean.