Sunday, Nov. 11th
Hello from Cappadocia, Turkey. What an amazing place this is!
We flew from Istanbul this morning on a 10 am flight, the flight was a little more than an hour. Even though it was a short flight, Turkey Air gave us lunch, served in a cute little picnic basket.
The last part of the flight was pretty rough, lots of turbulence. We landed at the tiny Nevsehir airport, and soon were in the van taking us to our hotel in Goreme, about 45 minutes away. We are certainly out in the middle of nowhere!
At first the landscape was pretty bleak, looking a lot like eastern Oregon. But soon we started to see some interesting rock formations like these:
We paid our entrance fee and really enjoyed wandering around the area. A few views of the caves:
These caves and cave churches date to 11-12 century.
This was the first church we went into, and right at the entrance there were several tombs, complete with remains. I snapped a photo, not knowing photos were prohibited. I was quickly informed, though. Whoops!
Keyhole shaped doorway:
Interesting carvings above the door:
Upper level of a cave entrance:
Painted decoration at a church entrance:
Pretty view over the valley from inside a cave:
We hiked around this area for a couple of hours--lots of steep high steps and rough cobblestones--I'm sure my poor old knee will be paying for it tomorrow. Worth it, though!
We made a quick tour through the gift shop, didn't buy a thing. It was really pouring when we came out, and I told David that IF we saw a taxi, I'd sure rather pay than walk the loooong road back to the village! Sure enough, there was a taxi in the parking lot. We asked how much to town, only 10 Lira--about $5.50--a bargain! The river told us just a minute--then two of his friends pushed him out of his parking place and into the road! Dvid and I just looked at each other--do we really want to get into this taxi? But no worries--he coasted down the hill a few feet and his car started right up! He circled back to the parking lot, we got in--and off we went. Taxi-Turkish style!
We had him let us off in the village, and we walked around and poked into a few shops. The shops here have some beautiful Turkish handicrafts, and the prices are much less than Istanbul. I have my eye on a beautiful hand painted bowl, and an old child's circumcision overblouse--beautifully embroidered and decorated with buttons and silver. We'll see how my bargaining skills are! I did buy a little something for Jeanne, maybe in her favorite color!
We stopped to have a quick snack, a small bowl of red lentil soup and hot apple tea to warm us up. Just what we needed!
Interesting cave house in the village:
By now it was dusk, and several of the fairy chimneys and cave hotels were lit up:
After the ceremony we were served a religious tea--it was red, pomegranate I think, spicy and VERY sweet.
After the Whirling Dervish ceremony we had dinner reservations at a restaurant near our hotel. Owned by a friend of Mustafa's, of course. A nice young man from the hotel walked us over, so we wouldn't get lost in the dark winding village streets. We've had extraordinary service from Mustafa and staff at the Arch Palace Hotel.
Mustafa didn't steer us wrong--our dinner was wonderful, and the service was impeccable! It's a small family restaurant serving home cooked meals, the husband and wife cook, and their lovely teenaged daughter was our server. She was delightful, and her English was perfect.
The restaurant was in a cave, of course:
They even had a few low tables with floor cushions:
We started with a mezes plate, this one had about 12 different items, and they were all delicious. Our lovely server carefully explained each item:
It had been a long, wonderful day in Goreme. We are happy to be in this charming village, and are looking forward to our tour tomorrow. We'll be seeing lots of underground cities and churches, as well as walking some pretty valleys.
Early to bed again, we have a big day tomorrow!