Published: June 7th 2009June 4th 2009
Today we crossed the border from Syria into Turkey. We were warned that this could be a lengthy process with the Americans being the ones most scrutinized. The truth is that things went very smoothly for us Americans and everyone else but for May from Malta. No one at the border seemed to know what to do with a Maltese passport and it took time to locate the “special” stamp and to get a refund for money given for a visa. The border crossing included walking to several buildings to get a health check, pay departure tax, buy a visa and customs inspection. The entire process was only 2 hours. Rather short process according to our tour leader, Jess.
our first stop after entering Turkey was to view an ancient monastery and to see the beautiful wall paintings and the living area that was built into the rocks.
On to Antakya, Turkey where we spend the night. Antakya was founded in 300 BC and was the 3rd largest Roman city of the Roman Empire and one of its wealthiest cities. It was the capital of Syria at that time.
We enjoy a local dinner with
PRAYING THAT CROSSING INTO TURKEY GOES FAST
Spotted praying mantas at the Syrian Turkey Border.
foods that are very similar to Syria, with lamb and chicken being the staple meats. After dinner Angie tried the local ice cream, called Dondurma. It had the same creamy appearance of our ice cream but the texture was on the chewy side. It came and a variety of about 6 flavors and my cone had a little bit of all them. MMM...good!
The city sits in the foot hills of a beautiful mountain range and the view from our room is stunning.
The hotel was nice and clean and we had corner suite. We enjoyed a good night's sleep after a day of travel.
We are up and once again traveling on our way to Nidge, Turkey. We stop for a lunch break and have a couple of stops for bathroom breaks while our travel on the public bus. The bus is a very modern and comfortable bus.
After another long travel day we arrive in Nidge and go out for a typical Turkish dinner of vegetables and chicken. There are many shops still open and we do a little shopping. Francine buys a lavender Peace sign t-shirt, and Angie buys long flowing
Allepo's traditional food restaurant trying to look like a hamburger joint.
hot pink pants. Watch for them in the photos!
Along the way we stop at the Ihlara Valley to take a walk along the babbling brook that flows in the gorge. There are several hidden churches of the early Christians scattered throughout the gorge.
As we were walking this valley in the middle of nowhere appears this little area with tables and chairs and drinks, snacks and souvenirs for sale.
The valley is beautiful with many spring flowers in bloom. The water is inviting but we are warned that a serious gihardia outbreak was a concern the previous year, so no wading in it today. The frogs were croaking there little songs and the sound was so loud that you thought they were at your feet. But we only saw one small one in the water but we are told that they are very large frogs.
A second stop is at Derinkuyu Underground City. This is a totally self contained city located underground. It is a total of 8 floors underground with many ventilation shafts. The stone is a very porous rock that would absorb smoke from the fires for warmth and cooking. This
I'LL TAKE A PICTURE WITH ANYTHING
No idea what this is but looks funny. NO NOT ME!!
city was protected from invaders because the invaders would think that the inhabitant fled the area for safety, when all they did was roll the stone gates across the tunnels leading to the lower levels of the city. The food and water storage along with all the people and animals lived beneath the ground. Some of the ventilation shafts were disguised as water wells. They did come above ground to grow and gather food stuffs. We were able to go to the 7th floor , the 8th floor had caved in years ago.
When stopping for a panoramic view of the Goreme Valley we noticed this tree that appeared to be covered with tiny pieces of white cloth. We asked about the significence of this tree and was told that people would rip a piece of thier clothing and tie it to this tree and make a wish and in 30 days your wish would be granted. This was mainly used for women who wanted to get married or have a baby. Angie promply tore the shoe lace out of her shoe and tied it to the tree, but definatley wished for something far different. Francine took a piece
COUNTY SIDE ANTAKYA
A view from our room
of toilet paper out of her bag to tie onto the tree as so many others had done. She also wished for something other than marriage or a baby.
We finally arrive in Cappadoccia, we take a short orientation walk around the town and then off to dinner. This town has the resort feel, with many activities to partake in, such as biking, quad running, horseback riding, ballooning and various other things.
We make reservations for quad running and for ballooning.
Off to bed to get a good night's sleep.
CAPADOCCIA - GOREME
Cappadoccia (meaning land of well bred horses) was first settled around 1800BC. The area enjoyed 350 years of autonomy after Alexander the Great freed them from the Persians in 3338C. Later it was absorbed into the vast Roman province mentioned in the bible.
Christianity was introduced by the wandering St Paul. During the Christian persecution of the Roman and Bysantium era the region was a haven for refugees who literally dug in for cover. Early Christianity was nurtured here and most of today's underground cities and rock cut churches with exquisite frescoes date from these times.
The lunar landscape was
formed 30 million years ago when erupting volcanoes covered the area with volcanic ash and it solidified into what is know as Tuff ( the soft rock like substance). Erosion from water, wind and changes in temperature ware grooves into the Tuff which slowly forms peaks and canyons as time passes. The more durable minerals in the tuff are slower to erode and this allows for growth of new cones and shapes.
The outer shell is harder and the stone on the inside is soft allowing for the early inhabitants to make their homes and refuges.
In Goreme we still see donkeys pulling colourfully painted delivery carts and taxi carts for local traditionally covered women , chickens roaming the streets, grass spread out in the alley ways next to houses for the donkeys. As we wander town there are horse riding tours that wander along the roadway between the shops and restaurants.
There are more photos below