Cappadocia/Kapadokya ....."Land of Beautiful Horses"

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April 20th 2014
Published: April 20th 2014
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Flew into Neveshir, in the Goreme Valley.In this valley lie the greatest concentration of rock cut chapels, monasteries and rock formations dating from the 9th. Century onwards. These formations, built out of volcanic "tuff".....were created 30 million yrs. ago when the erupting volcanoes blanketed the region with this volcanic ash which solidified into an easily eroded and excavated material .... Tuff ......over time was worn away by wind, water and temperature change creating a landscape that has to be seen to believe. The cave dwellings carved out of a single cone of tuff would provide shelter for a whole community.

After arising at 4:00 am for our hot air balloon ride at sunrise we were disappointed to find it was too windy to fly. :-((((. We re-scheduled for next day and hired a van and guide to show us the countryside . Our first stop was Derinkuyu ( deep well) one of 36 underground cities in the region. The first levels of our descent included living quarters, stables, kitchen, wells, churches, and a ventilation system. It is thought to have been home to around 20,000 people. The eight level complex is 197 ft. Deep!

After ducking, crawling, climbing, and slithering (not to mention huffing and puffing) our way through these descending underground tunnels....keep in mind what goes down has to come back up, we opted for an above ground hike of the Ihlara Valley Gorge and then lunch outdoors beside the Melindiz River in the village of Ihlara. A lovely lunch and tea and on to

Selime, a 13th. Century Monastery/ Kathedral where we claimed to the top of the world to see where the monks lived and worked in the hand hewn tower caves and Kathedrals. No words to describe the climb or the wonders to behold!

Next we stopped at Pigeon Valley to see hundreds of hillside coops cut into the rocks at Soganli. The pigeons were used as messengers... Their droppings as fertilizer and the whites of their eggs to glaze the beautiful frescoes painted on the ceilings and walls of the cave churches.

We ended our long day with a stop at Avanos along the Red River to visit one of the famous pottery shops . We watched clay dug from the River turned into beautiful pots and vessels by the expert potters. Abby had a go at the wheel and made a mug. What fun! We were served local wine in lovely pottery vessels, shopped and saw how the expert painters adorned the pottery. After visiting the master pottery room we shopped the gift shop and headed home.

Had a light dinner of Pide and wine !!! Tomorrow is another 4:00 am day. Stay tuned.... Wonderful adventures to tell......the traveling Grami's and group

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