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June 8th 2009
Published: June 8th 2009
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DAY 54

This is the most unusual place in the world. The valley is filled with dome like towers that command the landscape. We take an early morning walk through Love Valley. You will see in the pictures the reason for the name. However the locals have a more descriptive name for this valley. There are abandoned cave homes throughout the area. The valley is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most people have been relocated to more modern homes. But there are still about 3 families that still live and farm in this valley and in their cave homes although they have strict guidelines to follow due to it being a heritage site.

On the way back into town, we stopped at the local market for fruit and Francine bought some special tea that had a berry flavor and looked like a flower bud. We bought some bananas and cherries to munch on. When you see a fruit market you make the most of it. Fruit is not usually served with breakfast and usually fruit is only sold in the local areas not the tourist hot spots.

In the afternoon we went to a local Tribal Carpet shop owned and run by a local man and an Australian woman named Ruth. We had a “carpet educational” talk to find out about carpets and the difference in old vs. new, various designs from different regions, and how to judge quality. It was very informative and we were able to see the differences.

Needless to say Francine walked away with two purchases one large carpet and one wall hanging. The large carpet is new and hand woven where many are now mass produced. It will look fantastic in her lounge room measuring about 2m x 3m. It is from the Capadoccia region (where we are staying) and has the symbols for prosperity, growth and harmony in life.

When waiting to be served one of the group indicated that they might look at the rug, Francine panicked and yelled IT'S SOLD, she wondered where the voice came from and realised it was herself. She had just bought the rug. Ruth advised to use the carpet and walk on it. This will help bring out the colours and lustre from the lanolin in the wool. In 20 years it will look even better.

The wall hanging is about

Isn't it lovely
50 year old and approx 1m x .5m. It was originally a back cushion cover. The colours are rich and rare for the time period with a dark purple being hard to find as a dye and a small amount of green and yellow. The lustre of the colours and style (as well as being in her price range) encouraged Francine grabbed the rug as soon as Ruth finished giving details on the quality, age and dyes. When she asked Ruth what all the symbolism meant. The symbols are more detailed showing the five steps of Islam, prosperity, growth, harmony and protection. Francine is now sure the rug was meant to be hers.

Angie walked away with a donkey bag.(When telling a local that she bought a donkey, he replied why, do you have a donkey?) She tried to explain it was a work of art and the weaving and design were originals and there are no more nomadic tribes still weaving these things, all of this falling on deaf ears. But it will be hanging somewhere in her home.

All carpets are now being freighted to Ohio and Sydney, awaiting our return to enjoy them.

QUADS. It's off to go quad running. Dave, May, Jim, Angie, and Francine all hop on the quads, a one minute instructional and off we go. The owner of the shop is Atilla and he looks like the Hun. He is very large in height and girth. He leads us throughout the valleys. It is great fun and we can push the throttle to its limit or to our limits. It would be safe to say that Angie was Speed Racer (35-45MPH) and Francine was the Sunday Driver at 25-35MPH. Dave flipped his quad when he hit soft sand, the bike turned, he hit a rock and flew over the top of the handle bars. He was strong enough to push the bike away from him as it was flipping over to land on top of him. And the backpack he was wearing was able to cushion his fall. Very lucky.

Angie was at every opportunity trying to do donuts and fishtailing and push the limits. Atilla deemed her the best driver and had to caution her to back off a little. He was so impressed with her skills that her offered her a private tour the next day and

Or do I look like a cone head? Mmm, More like a dick head
also invited her for dinner. But she refused both and leaves another broken hearted middle eastern man behind. All of us were at different levels of skills and many times Atilla was so far ahead that those lagging behind became lost at every turn, not being able to see what trail was taken. So we spent a lot of time backtracking to find people. It was very humourous and a lot of horn beeping to signal positions went on.

In the middle of it all a sudden storm came through with strong winds and light rain. The wind was blowing sand and dirt but the rain helped to keep the dust to a minimum. When you were riding behind someone all you did was eat their dust. We were all dust covered at the end.

The last treat was to follow Atilla through the cobble stone streets that ran up to the top of the hill between the fairy chimney houses overlooking town. We had an amazing view of the town, valleys and mountains. On our arrival, there was a waiter with a bottle of local red wine,bread and cheese (a cross between feta and blue cheese) delicious.

One at a time, ok
A perfect end to the day. This was the most fun filled activity so far on the trip!!!

We arrived back into town just in time to meet the rest of the group for or official last supper for the group. Dinner was at a very nice place and we had come directly from biking so not appropriately dressed or smelling by any means. We had a local casserole which is cooked in a sealed clay pot and lid. The lid has to be tap with a hammer to be taken off the pot.

We have to get to bed early tonight our balloon flight takes off at 5:30am. Francine takes a travel tablet to help her nerves and to sleep.

DAY 55

This morning we are up at 4:00am and we get ready and out the door for our pick up for the balloon ride. We get to the launch site to learn that the weather is not conducive for flying and especially landing. Added to the fact that there was a horrible balloon crash just days before, involving two balloons with eight people seriously hurt and one dead so all were being very cautious. So our hopes of ballooning over Cappidocia are lost. We are both very disappointed. Francine slightly relieved, although very disappointed that she did not have the opportunity to be fearless. Angie offered to help her out by suggesting we go parachuting in Switzerland. It's only the first step that's hard.

While Francine went to get a Thai Massage Angie went back to the carpet store and visited with the owner Ruth and bought a Kurd nomadic (western Turkey) carpet that is only 20-30 years old but had a very original design and very sought after colors. And the condition was very good. This rug is very collectable and will only appreciate in value as there are no other nomadic tribes still independently weaving. Most have been settled by their governments and only weave for commercial purposes. So once again Angie is bringing home a carpet to add to the Moroccan Silk and the Chinese silk carpet. And no, she hasn't got a place for it as of yet!!

After Francine gets her massage it is now Angie's turn. She has never had a Thai massage and finds it to be very different as the forearms and elbow are used. But the masseuse told Angie that she was a very good subject and was able to breathe properly and able to take the full pressure of the massage. But the next day told Angie that maybe she couldn't take the full pressure with sore muscles!!

The massage included stretching and pressure point stimulation. Wow did she find those pressure points. We know where they are days later.

So we rush back to the hotel, to get ready for our minibus departure to Ankara by 3:30 pm.

During our four hour trip we stop at a Salt Lake, that has this deep purple hue to it but no time to float in this one today. Back in the bus after a short break and onto Ankara and our overnight train to Istanbul.

Dinner is at the train station restaurant. In the adjoining room a conference dinner is being held. We have the pleasure of listening to some live Turkish music whilst dining. In the right place at the right time again.

9.30pm and we are on the night train. It is really nice and fairly modern. There are four bunks and we choose to share the cabin with Wendy & Ray the older couple from New Zealand. We struggle to find room for all the luggage as Wendy and Ray have about 5 large bags, Francine has 3 and Angie has 2. We soon get settled and make our beds with the fresh linens provided and off to sleep and to Istanbul at the same time. Our arrival time in Instanbul is 7.30am.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 27



View over the town

AKA Speed Demon

25th June 2009


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