15.05.2011 - 15.05.2011 18 °C
So to continue our day which began extra early for some who went hot air ballooning, we were off to explore Cappadocia and the surrounding area. I must tell you that we saw SO MUCH we are having a difficult time remembering everything we have seen.
Here is a run-down of some of it. I will try and post some photos to help with the descriptions.
Our first stop was at the Underground Cities, located 55 meters below ground (four stories). This city is where Christians lived underground for up to four months at a time. They lived underground to stay safe from enemies. They survived with dried foods and a winery or two or three! We only saw 10% of the area and saw two wineries. For some of the group it was a little claustrophobic but everyone passed with flying colors.
It was on to Pigeon Valley for a photo op with lots and lots of pigeons and a tree with hundreds and hundreds of evil eyes. The views were spectacular. Our guide, Omer, tried to curb the purchasing at the photo stop but that was a challenge. Perhaps it was the euphoria of the hot air balloon that led us to buy so much today! That is our story and we are sticking to it.
The next stop was for another photo opportunity at Uchisar Castle. This really isn’t a castle but another rock formation on the top of a hill which gives it the name of a castle. This is where the shopping kicked into high gear. It is amazing how much a group of 25 can buy in 30 minutes. One of the necessary purchases for many will be another suitcase. Some of also fortified our early morning with a nice Iced Coffee – one of the best I have tasted!
Today our lunch was at a ‘cave’ restaurant. I believe the name was Biz Café – if you are coming to Turkey let me know. I have a card! It was the best lunch we have had to date. My favorite was the beef and veggies cooked in a clay pot. Today was a special day as we celebrated a birthday with a beautiful heart shaped cake! Happy birthday Jodi! What a place to celebrate a birthday.
In every country you visit there are always opportunities to learn about the local arts and crafts. We had two of these chances today. First was a pottery demonstration where we learned about the red clay (from the Red River) and white clay. Melissa and Justin showed their pottery skills – it was pretty evident that this wasn’t the first time they had thrown a pot! Showing true hospitality we were plied with wine and tea, a method used to encourage us to buy more pottery. I know that there were some credit card purchases – all which will be greatly treasured when we get back to Canada, right Carla?????
The sun finally came out today and so it was off to the Goreme Open Air Museum. We visited three Orthodox churches carved into the rock formations, all with original frescos showing the stories of Jesus. We visited thereof the churches; The Apple Church, the Dark Church and the Sandal Church.
The coolest thing about this area is the variety of rock formations. You feel that you are on another planet. We saw Fairy Chimneys and Mushroom formations that looked more like something from a Smurf cartoon!
It was on to Imagination Valley where we used our imagination to conger images of Jabba the Hut, a camel and a seahorse. Picture the last Star Wars movie and you will have an idea of what we saw today. I am not sure it is the lack of sleep but we were certainly were imaginative.
And if this wasn’t enough for one day our last stop of the day was at a carpet demonstration. We watched artisans worked at breakneck pace to create intricate, beautiful silk tapestries. We were shown how the silk is harvested from the silk worms. It was on to the large display room where we were shown an array of carpets; silk, wool and cotton (and enticed with more wine). While we didn’t buy as much as at the pottery place there was one or two purchases.
We are hearing the call to pray – which for us tonight is ‘call to dinner’. It will be a challenge to write such interesting things tomorrow as we have a 9 hour drive back to Istanbul. I will try my best……….
More pictures tomorrow as we are back in Istanbul. The Internet is not working well here and I need to sleep! Please check this blog entry tomorrow for more photos!