I don't think it snowed overnight, but there was a very heavy frost because it was like driving through a winter wonderland on our way to the underground city of Kaymakli. There are eight levels of accommodation carved into the soft volcanic rock at Kaymakli and it is only one of 30 underground cities in this area. Kaymakli is the second largest of the underground cities all of which are said to be connected by underground tunnels. A few of the passages connecting sections of the city were a bit low and narrow which was a bit claustrophobic but, on the whole, it was surprisingly roomy and very well ventilated so it wasn't too unpleasant exploring it. Once again we had this amazing site to ourselves!
From Kaymakli we drove to a viewpoint overlooking the Three Beauties and Mount Erciyes which made for yet another picturesque panorama. Our next stop was a pottery factory where we were given a demonstration of potting on a foot driven wheel before being taken into the room where the pottery was being dried and decorated. Everything made at this factory is hand thrown and individually painted by hand. We weakened again and purchased one
very small decanter in a style that is typically of the region.
Our next visit was to a girls' high school in a town on the Red River, Turkey's longest river. Alex in particular was interested in this visit as she is a secondary school teacher in Brunswick. The girls take classes in history and English and then 'major' in textiles, child care, cooking/hospitality or computers. The school operates the town's creche so that the girls receive practical experience in child care not just theory. Likewise the girls studying hospitality work in local restaurants and hotels a couple of half days each week.
We had lunch in a restaurant in the same town before a quick photo op down by the river and then we were on the road again for a one hour drive to Kayseri Airport for our flight back to Istanbul. It was time to say goodbye to our excellent driver, Mr Erhan, when he dropped us at the airport after driving us safely all the way from Istanbul just eight days ago. We have seen so much that it is hard to believe that it has only been a little over a week.
After an uneventful flight back to Istanbul we were collected by another driver and taken back to the Amethyst Hotel. Since the weather in Istanbul was so much clearer than it was last week, Bernie and I unpacked our tripods and caught the tram in to Sultanahmet to take some night time photos of the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. The mosque looked really beautiful all lit up ... and we made sure that we included all six minarets. Yalçin has pointed out that the picture we have posted on the blog of the Blue Mosque in the snow is one minaret short!!
We were back at the hotel by seven to meet Meredith and Alex for dinner at Sait Iskender. Yalçin recommended this restaurant which was very near the Amethyst Hotel. It was certainly much nicer than the smoky, basement restaurant that we went to last week!
Steps for the day: 8,052 (5.49km)
Tot: 0.229s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 15; qc: 36; dbt: 0.0964s; 36; m:apollo w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 6.4mb