Westbound From Cappadocia – Thinking On Our Feet
“I’m not getting on an overnight bus.”
“I’m not getting on another plane.”
Andy and I don’t always agree on the details of traveling. I like to plan, he likes to be more spontaneous. As a sort of compromise for our trip to Turkey, we decided to book a hotel for Istanbul and Cappadocia ahead of time, as well as the two flights to get there, and the flight back to Istanbul at the end. The rest of the hotels and the transportation in the middle were left open so we could be a little flexible.
As our time in Cappadocia came to an end, we knew we needed to find a way to get to the town of Selcuk to see the ruins of Ephesus. We surveyed the row of bus companies set up in the center of Goreme, but they only had overnight buses to Selcuk. Due to a bad bed in Istanbul, and a few early mornings in Goreme, I hadn’t slept much in a week. I knew I wouldn’t sleep much on an overnight bus, so I refused to put myself through that. But our most recent flight was so bad we thought it might crash, so Andy refused to book a flight to Selcuk.
Even though the bus companies didn’t have information about routes from any other towns, we took a chance on finding a connection in the city of Konya four hours away. Somehow the bus arrived early, and we began looking at our options. We knew we might have to spend the night there, but we thought it was worth finding out the bus schedule.
The Konya Connection
A man who worked in the bus station saw us two Americans with backpacks wander in, looking around like we were lost. He came over with a smile and tried to find out what we needed, realized we spoke English and ushered us over to a counter where someone else did. After a couple minutes, he found a direct bus to Izmir that left 15 minutes later. Izmir is only an hour or so from Selcuk, so we looked at each other and quickly decided, yes we’ll take the bus. We’re not normally good at making quick decisions.
At this point we only had 10 minutes to find food. But wait, the guy who brought us to the counter is dragging us towards the bus! Since he didn’t speak English, we just went with him. Luckily I saw a doner stand near our bus, so after we put our bags under the bus, I went for the food and Andy went for drinks.
We met up again in front of the bus with five minutes to spare, prepared for the journey with a doner wrap and some water. Andy asked if I wanted to get on the bus or wait a few more minutes.
Half-jokingly I said, “we could see if there’s any WiFi around and try to book a hotel for tonight.”
We thought for about a second, and then jumped on our phones to see what we could accomplish in five minutes. A quick look through some hotels in Izmir and I found one with decent ratings, free WiFi and it was near a train station. We didn’t know if it was the right train station, but it seemed good so we booked it. Andy saved the hotel’s name and address just as our bus started pulling away and we lost the connection.
We felt like super heroes.
On the Bus
The next eight hours were spent watching the Turkish landscape go by. At a rest stop we talked to a passenger who offered to let us try his doner because it was a kind this particular city was known for. How kind that a complete stranger would let me take a bite of his food! We thanked him but declined and just bought our own since it looked good anyway.
We also spent four hours watching a weird version of Turkish Wheel of Fortune. Yes, FOUR hours where the scantily clad Vanna White type was the host and the man in the tuxedo was flipping the letters, and the contestants did song and dance routines in between rounds.
We arrived in Izmir exhausted but with renewed mental energy to take on the second half of our trip. And all because of a crazy bus journey and a hotel booked in less than five minutes using WiFi from another bus.
August 20, 2012 @ 10:37 AM
Turkish Wheel of Fortune sounds awesome!!!
August 20, 2012 @ 11:16 AM
It was ridiculous! But at least we had entertainment for a few hours!
August 20, 2012 @ 5:42 PM
I’m a planner too. I like to at least know how we’re getting from place to place and where we’ll stay when we get there. I don’t mind being spontaneous in what we do once we get there but there are some details I just like to know.
Tim has an item on our bucket list to hitchhike the ring road in Iceland. I’m sure I’ll be doing it someday but not sure how I feel about it!
August 20, 2012 @ 11:08 PM
I usually do some research to know if we need to book transportation ahead of time, and if we don’t, I’m ok with waiting. I’m not sure how I feel about hitchhiking, but I would love to take a trip that’s much more spontaneous.
August 21, 2012 @ 1:39 AM
That’s a pretty spontaneous trip by my standards. Being in a foreign country where English is not the first language, having to sort out transportation on the fly like that would have to be a daunting proposition for most people. I know that it would be for me. But then again you live in Germany and would probably have to deal with speaking in German all the time so you’re probably used to it all by now. I’m just glad that you got where you had to go or did you? The article says that you got within an hour of Ephesus.
August 21, 2012 @ 9:49 AM
Thanks Matthew! I think because we’ve both traveled so much, we’re used to having to figure things out as we go. And yeah, we’re both used to dealing with people who don’t speak much English. In touristy areas, most people you come in contact with speak at least basic English since they deal with tourists all the time. Izmir is about an hour from Ehpesus, so after spending a day in Izmir, we took a train to Selcuk, the town where Ephesus is located. Posts on both coming soon!
Cole @ Four Jandals
August 21, 2012 @ 9:16 AM
I hate last minute planning but looks like it just paid off for you guys this time!
August 21, 2012 @ 9:50 AM
I’m getting better at dealing with things last minute. It did work out pretty well for us this time!
August 21, 2012 @ 6:06 PM
I love how sometimes last minute planning can work out. I hope you got some sleep that night!
August 21, 2012 @ 9:54 PM
Thanks, if I remember correctly we did sleep enough that night once we got to Izmir. The hotel we booked in 3 minutes was decent enough.
Mary - Green Global Travel
October 23, 2012 @ 6:48 PM
Nice job with the quick thinking. I’m normally a planner too and like to look at all angles before making a decision. However, I’ve found that Bret’s go-with-his-instincts approach is better for us when traveling. We’ve learned to trade off on certain tasks depending on our natural strengths. Sometimes it’s a bit unnerving to just go without a plan, but somehow it always works out. Glad you had a good experience 🙂
October 24, 2012 @ 5:12 PM
Thanks Mary! The planning part is really fun for me, but I’m definitely seeing the benefits of just figuring it out as we go. Still makes me nervous too sometimes, but it’s also part of the fun!
December 1, 2013 @ 7:54 PM
Here is a website for planning transportation in Turkiye: http://www.ulasim.gov.tr/
It includes all types of transport like bus, train, plane, sea.
Have a nice day…
December 2, 2013 @ 11:53 AM
Definitely could be helpful! Thanks Kemal!