Saturday, 17 October 2009

addicted to afyon

here writes caroline:
after our trouble getting an internet seat last sunday in kutahya because of the soldiers on their day out, we are again short of time because of filming for the evliya celebi documentary that will be made of our trip, and also feel enervated by the hamam e just had, with the best kese/scrub ever. we went to the imaret han, from bayezid II's time, after visiting the fabulous ulu camii from the 13th century, with 40 wooden columns, each with a different carved capital. the great richness of anatolian urban architecture is just one of the delights of this trip. here in afyon the old houses are now being done up with government support, and saved for posterity. afyon is famous for its castle that evliya climbed in 1671, with his skirts hoisted up, as he writes. he also talks of how the town bustled with trade-- a sea of men, 'adem deryası', so crowded that you cld barely find a placetostand on another's shoulders. he says that most went around on horses in the town and, sure enough, we saw a teenager on his rahvan/pacer going off to buy the bread. beats getting into the car, of having to lock your bike.
Evliya also writes of the wonderful saddlery here, and also that addiction to opium was rife: the men, he says, slept in the coffeehouses because with their women also enjoying the habit, two addıcts in one house would have been too much.
otherwise our trip continues with as much joy as ever.. every day is different, and each better than the last. continual change of landscape and of terrain. from kutahya we took a circuitous route out of the town to avoid the main kutahya-afyon road, up high into the mountain to the west, staying in recently harvested fields and threshing places. the plain between kutahya and afyon is like the bermuda triangle, the seytan ucgeni. we got lost here last year when checking
evliya's route by car, and finding our way from village to village on horseback was equally tricky in the mirage of the ever receding horizon.
but we are here, clean, and tomorrow continue circuitously towards usak. one night has been frosty but otherwise we have been blessed. i am still riding in two tshirts only. we have been rained on once, hard. andy byfield, formerly of dogal hayat koruma dernegı, and patricia daunt, formerly the british embassy, ankara, have joined us now--there is a long way still to go, but we are not tired, nor sore, nor wishing for a feather bed.
hayat biter, yol bitmez!


  1. great experience to share with all of you

  2. This is sheer poetry. It makes me wish I were riding with you.