Published: August 24th 2011August 24th 2011
It's been a while. Time for us to send a massive update (and now that Ev and I are here together with a computer the updates should come more frequently).
I met Ev at the Istanbul airport, where we both hopped on the same flight to Izmir. It was great to see him again (though we had a bit of a scare because we couldn't find each other in the airport and ended up reuniting in the aisle on the plane... not exactly the best place for smooching). After the flight we got on a train, met Onur at the other end, then took a dolmush (van/bus) and a taxi to arrive at the summer house in Chandarli. Laurren had been cooking up a storm while we were on our way so we were greeted with hugs and food and hot showers. It was lovely. We spent the next ten days at the summer house. Our typical day involved sleeping in, eating, going to the beach, relaxing, eating more, and having a couple beers. We went to town a couple times (the summer house is an hour or so out of the main town, in a small development of
really cute little duplexes with gardens and trees and flowers everywhere) and otherwise not much happened. It was great, and Ev had a chance to decompress.
After the beach house, we went back to Ankara with Laurren and Onur for one night, got our stuff in order, and then headed to Goreme. We got here in the evening on the 22nd, booked into a cheap hostel, and went out to find dinner and a bottle of wine. A lot of restaurants here have low tables surrounded by cushions and carpets. It's the best way to eat. We found ourselves sharing a booth with an Italian couple, between two other booths inhabited by people who had brought their young children on vacation. It was an enjoyable meal, and we spent half our time playing peek-a-boo with a little girl next to us.
The next day went on a tour. It was great. Ev was really happy to be out of Saudi and to be off on adventures, and I had a great time last time I was here so I was excited to show Ev what I had seen. The first place we stopped on the tour was a
panorama of Goreme valley. We took a few pictures, stood around awestruck, and watched a hot air balloon fly overhear (brushing the treetops, much to the delight of the passengers) and land near us. We are considering going on a flight ourselves. It's time to add to our list of strange forms of transportation we have tried. The next stop was the underground city, where we scrambled around in the semi-darkness and snapped more photos. After that we went to Ihlara valley, which was formed by an earthquake which opened a huge crack in the otherwise fairly flat ground. Now the valley is nearly picture perfect. There is a stream running along the bottom, dozens of species of trees and flowers growing everywhere, and caves, churches, pigeon holes, and storage rooms carved into the valley walls. It was lovely. The walk was about 3km, but we took it at a gentle stroll so it took us 3 hours. Around the halfway point there is a campground/cafe, on the side of the stream. A couple dozen ducks call this place home, and we stopped to chase them and dip our toes in the water. At the end of the valley we
had lunch at a restaurant then headed off to Selime Monastery.
Selime is carved into a cliff and the surrounding fairy chimneys (tall tapered stone columns that look like anthills, and are often carved into multi-level dwellings). Selime is gorgeous, and we spent a happy hour or so scrambling over everything, looking out of high windows and admiring the view, and basically behaving like kids in an ancient playground. Then we all packed back into the van and headed back. We stopped at a panorama of pigeon valley, then at an onyx workshop (which is really a ploy to get everyone into the overpriced jewelry store upstairs and try to sell us stuff. It didn't work.) We g back to town at 7pm, having left at 9:30am. It was epic. We planned to meet these guys on our tour for dinner, went to our hostel for a shower, managed to score a double room with a hot shower for a very cheap price, had a very long shower, then headed to a cafe for the local specialty, clay pot kebab (they actually break open the clay pot in front of you) then headed to bed. I had been starting
to feel sick during the day (head cold) and was losing my voice by the time dinner finished, but a solid 9 hours of sleep in the nicest bed I've ever had at a hostel, followed by a large plate of menemen (eggs with veg and bread) have made me feel like a new person.
During the tour yesterday Ev and I GPS marked the locations of the city, valley, and monastery. We are going to buy a notebook and start keeping track of the locations and costs of the places we visit so that we could, should we ever come here with family (think about it guys, this place is great, and I know that Dad in particular really wants to see Cappadocia) we could just rent a car and find our way around. Between that and Google Maps (to find GPS coordinates) we should be able to find our way anywhere. In the next few days we will probably rent scooters and see some of the surrounding valleys, we may take a hot air balloon ride, maybe we will do a sunset horseback tour, or maybe we will just take our little tourist map of the area
and walk around.
We are trying to find a second hand cheap cell phone so that we can start couchsurfing (it's pretty difficult to coordinate otherwise), and we are going to hitchike our way south. At the moment we are thinking of going to Adana (famous kebab) then Antalya, Olympos (ruins and beaches and clear water anthe eternal flame), maybe Kash (hike the Lycian Way), then Fetiyeh (Butterfly Valley), then Selcuk (Ephesus) then Ankara for a wedding, Istanbul for the sights, then who knows? We are probably going to southeast Asia after Turkey (though we might hit another couple countries first - Georgia was cool but it is the opposite direction) but still, no guarantees.
We are also thinking of making our way home next summer, landing in the Maritimes, then hitchiking our way home across Canada. We shall see.....
We are very happy to be together again, the world is sunny and all is shiny and well. We are looking forward to many adventures, mayn stories, pictures, emails, and blog posts (we promise to be better about writing home).
Love to all,
Ash and Ev
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