Homer's Travels: 2022 Fall Travels, Part Two - Turkey - Cappadocia (Kapadokya)

Monday, November 14, 2022

2022 Fall Travels, Part Two - Turkey - Cappadocia (Kapadokya)

 While Istanbul is a fascinatingly city full of history, the Cappadocia region of Turkey was my favorite part of Turkey.  We left Istanbul and flew to Kayseri.  There we met our wonderful local guide.

Fairy Chimneys.
Our first stop was the Pasabag and Devrent valleys.  Here we saw our first Fairy Chimneys - large rock and tuff cone formations.  Tuff is relatively easy to carve and some of the cones and fairy chimneys had homes carved in them.

We stopped at a restaurant in an historic house and, once again, were over fed.  While travelling in Turkey, eating is just as important as seeing the amazing sights.

A church carved into the rock.
In the afternoon we visited the Goreme Open-Air museum.  Here we toured cave churches with incredible painted walls.  Unfortunately photography was not allowed in the churches.  The churches are nearly one thousands years old.  Unfortunately it was both hot and crowded the afternoon we were there and it took longer to see things.

One of the views from our hotel.
We checked into our very cool hotel, the Argos, where the rooms are carved into the cliff walls.  The restaurant offered beautiful vistas overlooking a canyon.

The sunrise and a balloon or two.
The second day in Cappadocia was an early one.  We got up before the sunrise and took a short drive to where we would be taking an hot air balloon ride.  The Wife and I had already ridden a balloon in Kenya so we knew what to expect.  Our tour mates had never done it and were a bit nervous about the whole thing.  They had nothing to worry about and had a great time.

Balloons everywhere!
When we did our Kenya balloon trip there were two balloons.  As we slowly rose over the landscape you could see dozens of balloons everywhere.  Our pilot said there were one hundred and fifty balloons scheduled to be aloft this morning.  It was amazing.  The view of the fairy chimneys from above was cool and we came amazingly close to a few missing them by only a foot or two.

The balloons added to the amazing landscape.
Along with the incredible landscape there were people, mostly women, having photoshoots with the balloons in the background.  You could also see a few couples getting their engagement pictures taken as well.  Several balloons, including ours, buzzed the photoshoots to give them a chance for a thrilling shot.

Our pilot landed on the trail just like this one did.
When it was time to land (our Kenyan balloon landing had been … interesting) we saw trucks pulling trailers.  I'd seen the baskets being transported on those trailers during our drive to the launch site.  I figured we would land on a field and a group of handlers would wrestle it onto the trailer.  Nope.  Our pilot put the basket done onto the trailer.  The truck driver then slowly drove to an area that was safe to deflate the balloon.  At one point, while the truck was still moving, the driver stepped out, grabbed some dead grass, and tossed it in the air to gauge the wind before getting back into the moving truck.  I think he'd done this before.

Our host's home.
After returning to our hotel for breakfast we went to visit a family in their carved house.  We were offered apple tea which, to my surprise since I am not fond of tea, I found to be delicious.  We asked questions about their home and the rugs on the floor (we'd been to a rug factory earlier).  Some of the rugs were quite old, passed down generation to generation.  There was an abandoned church in the top of the house and the owner let us look at it.  He knew it was something special and was doing his best to preserve the paintings there.

The tile I bought.
We visited a pottery factory which has some truly beautiful pieces - works of art really.  We saw a demonstration by a skilled potter and we had a chance to peruse their store.  I was the only one who bought anything - a red and turquois painted tile of a dervish.

Next we visited and the Kaymakli underground city.  Early Christians carved these cities to avoid the Romans.  This particular city was eight levels deep though only four levels are excavated and open to the public.  It was interesting but I came out with an aching back and a sore head … some of the corridors were a bit cramped.

We ate another huge meal at a family owned restaurant where everyone in the family was either a chef or training to be one.  The food was amazing (I know … I'm using 'amazing' way too much but it was.).

One of the longer corridors in
the underground city.
We were really tired at this point (most lunches were not only very long but also late) and we debated asking our guide to skip the next couple of things.  We decided to trust our guide and, sure enough, it was worth it.

Our first after lunch stop was a coffee shop located high up the side of a valley with beautiful views of the carved buildings.  There was shade, refreshments, and ice cream.  It was completely relaxing and we had a nice time talking about what we'd seen so far in Turkey.  The second stop was the workshop of a local artisan.  What she does is hard to explain but basically paint is floated on a thickened water bath.  Paper, canvas, or cloth is then carefully laid on the surface where it picks up the paint.  The effect is unique, beautiful, and interesting.  We bought several things from her including a paining of Mary on a old Iranian text … also hard to explain.

The Dervishes.
(Picture taken by the Wife.)
Our last stop in Cappadocia was at a dance ceremony of the Mevlevis … what most people think of as the Whirling Dervish.  The ceremony is a lot more serious than I expected.  It is a serious religious ceremony where everything has a deeper meaning.  Very interesting.  While photography was not permitted during the ceremony, they did permit photography at the end which caught me by surprise so my pictures of the dancing are limited.

The next day we would be leaving the wonderful Cappadocia region and heading to the Aegean Sea coast.

Photos can be found in my Turkey 2022-09 Google Photos album.

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