After our little detour into the present on the last post, this post will continue with our trip to Cappadocia in late September…I am so far behind!!!
To recap our first day, we had met a wonderful dog, explored a hidden church and eaten food cooked in enclosed terracotta pots on day one in Capp. The next day we returned to the caves for more adventure. And we found it!
We began by wandering through and over and around the open spaces in the caves near the Open Air Museum, which are completely open to the public, although I heard that they perhaps are privately owned.
Unfortunately people leave trash behind in these spaces, which, perhaps, is why a lone Turkish man watched us as we climbed through the area…at least we hoped that was why… But some creepy guy wasn’t going to stop us from heading alone into Rose Valley, which we heard was an interesting walk/climb through the cliffs.
Rose Valley is so named due to the specific petal shape the cliffs have taken due to wind and rain erosion.
Along the way we passed an interesting hobbit-like dwelling with a unique tiled roof. We also saw a lot of dovecotes carved into the cliffs–the doves were cultivated for their droppings, which were used for fertilizer.
As we continued further it got a bit greener, but the valley began to narrow…
until it wasn’t a valley at all. After pushing through some trees we were faced with…
If we had not met someone the day before who had done it we may have turned back…but we pressed on!
Fortunately I was the only one with ridiculous shoes, and I didn’t mind climbing barefoot.
It was actually a lot of fun–I really love climbing–and the passage between the rocks was just beautiful, if a little difficult to negotiate.
After a few more scrambles we were back out into an open space–it’s amazing how unnerving it is not to be able to see around you (especially if you don’t know if some creepy guy is following you, which he wasn’t) and how much better it is when you finally can!
We wandered back out through the petals of Rose Valley, climbed up the ridge, and found ourselves on the main road to the next town, which had massive tour buses hurtling by every few seconds. We took a break in a small church next to the road and watched the world go by for a bit.
Afterwards we wandered home through the market next to the Open Air Museum, which is full of vendors selling all the same things you see in town. They are all aggressively friendly but it’s easy to flip it around and grill them about their lives. One young guy I talked to (it’s always men, there are almost no female waiters or shop assistants, especially in Cappadocia, but also in Istanbul) told me about the horse he owns, about starting the shop a few years ago when there were just a few stands (now it’s about 15) and about travelling to Europe–it’s easier for Turkish people if they own property/a business at home, so Germany, or wherever they are going, knows that they are not emigrating for work. He also talked about his family–the men work in the shop, of course, and his mother stays home, although this is changing more for women of our generation. A lot of young people live with their parents (also true in the city) and he “complained” about his mother’s good food, which was giving him too much “Turkish muscle” (potbelly).
We headed back to the hostel, and later Allison and I climbed the cliffs in town for a beautiful view of the sunset, and moonrise.
We then met Kelli in town for dinner and to wander around a bit, and met a university student (a very young Turkish James Franco) who told us about a bonfire party that night in a valley outside of town for the tourists (mmm, no thanks…) but we stopped to chat with him. He said he’d have to serve military duty for 6 mo. to a year once he is out of university and I asked him about where he might have to go. He thought probably to the eastern border. I asked if he was worried about it, but he said Turkish people are very proud of their country, and even if he is killed there, his parents will “cry for one week, and then be very proud”. He also thought he wouldn’t see much active duty since he’s not too “long” (tall) or strong.
His cousin took this photo and they both seemed a little confused as to why I wanted it, but “who does he/she remind me of?” is my favorite game…and the people I met here are really the most interesting part of the trip.
Although we weren’t up for a bonfire, we did want a night out on the town and ended up at “Flintstones”, which is a local bar in a cave (naturally). Unfortunately we arrived waaaay too early and were the only people there. But the dj had fun playing American music for us, and one of the owners/managers played dart with the only one they had left, until they invited Kelli to try and she threw it into the fire. Why someone would hang a dart board over an open fireplace, I don’t know, but it explains why they only had one left.
Thus ends Day II in Cappadocia! Next post: exploring an underground city…