Okay, arkadaşlar (friends), prepare yourself for a LONG entry and a LOT of pictures. This past weekend I had the awesome pleasure of going to Cappadocia (which is Kapadokya in Turkish) with a great group of new friends. I have more than 100 pictures and I am SO not posting them all here, just a few to wet your appetite and make you want to get on a place and come see me. If you are a facebook friend of mine, there will be a HUGE album there, but this is where you will get the journey in chronological order and perhaps with a story or two. My Chronically Single blog will also have an entry because my single self had some very amusing moments and I just can't let that not show up. :)
This was our lovely coach. We had the best driver, even when he was swerving and bouncing all over the road. The bus was really comfy and we were the only ones since we chartered it.
Brennan was our server... I think he just liked be up and about instead of sitting...
The sunset as we left the city and approached the Salt Lake.
My camera is a bit odd with the twilight setting (time for a new camera if you feel like buying it for me!! hehe). We were walking on a salt lake. Because it was the end of summer, the water had almost completely evaporated, leaving HUGE crystals of salt everywhere. It was pretty cool.
These were my roomies: Brennan and Edmund. We all ended up sharing a really huge and cool cave room. I got the caviest part of the room... thanks, guys!! ;)
A few on our tour got to go up in a balloon at sunrise. I was a little on the poor side, but after hearing their stories and seeing some of the pics, I am so going back and doing that!!! Wanna come?
Hahaha, I love this pic. This is Mehmet, our guide. He spoke flawless English and some Spanish as well. He was really good at sharing the history and some interesting stories with us as well.
This me, parked in the entrance of a cave home from back in the day. Apparently the area was originally settled by Hittites... each cave was carved out by hand, including the room at my hotel. So cool!!!
We climbed up a great big hill and this was our reward... look at that. Some of these places date back to BC times and some are from the 1st and 2nd century.... amazing!!
This was a church that had been carved into a wall. There had been a lot of damage done due to erosion and the fact that Kapadokya wasn't a UNESCO protected area until 1980... children and teens used to play and do goodness knows what in the caves and ancient churches. Some of them date as far back as the 4th century. For those of you interested in Biblical history, Kapadokya and Turkey is the PLACE to be!!
Another one of the old churches. Some of them had fresco paintings inside and others had wall paintings like this picture. We weren't allowed to take pictures of the frescoes because of the damage the flash would do to the paint that remains. Some of the frescoes were ruined when there was a population exchange (which happened more than once, apparently). So when Greeks and early Christians left the area, they took apart frescoes in order to have a relic etc. Many of these were retouched or painted later. Some still went missing during the Crusades etc because of people believing that these New Testament times pictures having power etc. Many of the eyes were scraped off because people believed that drinking a tea made with the paint from the saints eyes could heal mental illnesses etc. Very interesting!!
Me again... see, had to prove that I really went. This is me standing at the Open Air Museum where some of the oldest churches and monasteries are housed. The place was simply incredible and SUPER busy with people!!
Evil Eyes are super popular in Turkey and meant to ward off jealousy and bad things happening to the good things in your life. They are also just really beautiful. There was a vendor selling a huge table of them, must have been hundreds of thousands of them there.
CAMEL!!! Hahaha, at several places there were camels for you to sit on and have your picture taken with. This guy was nice enough to let me take a couple of pictures free of charge... one of the other vendors gave me the "this-is-a-business" speech.
The Fairy Chimneys. They are completely naturally formed from a couple of volcanic erruptions and wind/water erosion. They are pretty amazing to see and they blanket the area in several valleys.
The lamps... I loved these, but didn't pick any up this trip. But just you wait... gonna get me some, someday... SOON!!
This valley was called the Valley of Imagination because several of the fairy chimneys seem to take on shapes of animals etc. There is a very famous giant camel one (not pictured here) and the bird... can you see the bird?
On the Saturday night, we went to a dinner show... it was pretty good, even though the performance left something to be desired... the food and drink and company did not!!
On Sunday morning, we were taken to a carpet dealer's for brunch and some viewing of carpets and a little education. Brennan is suffering in the fore ground there... up a little too late, drinking a little too much with the locals!! haha Ali, the carpet dealer, is standing. He was phenomenal and if you are buying a carpet in Turkey, he is the MAN to see!!!
They die all the wool and silk and cotton for the carpets with natural pigments. Ali showed us the process. It was really interesting.
There is Ali, showing us how they use the loom to make the carpets. He told us what to look for in quality, style, materials and so on. He was really informative and entertaining. He joked a lot and loved to laugh at his own jokes!!
The floor was covered with carpets. There were about 4 or 5 different styles and about 4 or 5 different types of materials. It was amazing. They would unroll them, throw them in the air to catch the light and all the while, they told us jokes and kept us laughing and entertained. It was a great experience and I left the proud owner of a carpet (they even let me use a payment plan over the next couple of months).
So in short my friends, Kapadokya rocked the house and is a place to put on your traveling radar.