Off to Cappadocia


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Middle East » Turkey
July 5th 2007
Published: October 22nd 2017
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a toast from Josha toast from Josha toast from Josh

Josh enjoys dinner on the Gamirasu terrace.
Geo: 39.9439, 32.856




I think we are all back on a "normal" schedule now. We woke up at a reasonable hour, had another fabulous breakfast buffet, complete with Nutella (chocolate hazlenut spread) on toast. We packed and went out to the store to buy snacks. We settled on breadsticks and simit and pistachios. We still had plenty of time to get to the bus station, but I didn't fancy hauling all the luggage up and down the stairs at the metro, so we took a cab. It was a fine thing that we took a cab too, because a child (I won't name names) left his/her bag with his/her new digital camera inside it in the lobby of the hotel because he/she got couldn't resist the lure of the revolving door. As soon as we pulled up at the bus station and were about to get out, the taxi driver's cell phone rang. The head of hotel security called to let us know about our lost bag. Darned if writing our name of everything didn't actually work. I still can't believe that they caught us in time. So, we drove back to the hotel, got the bag and drove back to
Ankara from our balcony at sunsetAnkara from our balcony at sunsetAnkara from our balcony at sunset

At one point Josh lost balcony privileges when he tried to climb up on the rail.
the bus station.

Since we left plenty of time to make our 1pm train, I was a little confused when a man who identified himself at the counter as our bus driver grabbed us and rushed us off the the bus. Apparently, it suited them to get us on an earlier bus. I wasn't opposed to leaving earlier, but we didn't really have a chance to get our stuff in order and some personal electronic devices ended up down in the hold and some children had to find alternate entertainment on the 5 hour trip.This is a photo from the bus. The terrain changes pretty dramatically after you leave the big city.

-later-
It's getting pretty late and tomorrow is a big day. I'm only uploading 10 photos because, shockingly, the wireless connection inside this ancient cave is a little slow. I'd probably bag the whole thing for tonight, but it's absolutely gorgeous out here on my balcony. It's cool and quiet. I can hear the murmur of voices in the distance, a few crickets and the occasional sheep. Across from me are some more caves dug into the volcanic rock and they are amazing to me and up above is an
Caves across from our roomCaves across from our roomCaves across from our room

I thought during the day that these caves had been abandoned. Now that I'm looking at them at night and some of them ar lit up inside, I doubt it.
incredibly black sky because we are truly in the middle of nowhere as far as modern civilization goes.

So, I'm pretty much going to stick to a few anecdotes about the journey and expound on Cappadocia after our tour tomorrow.

The bus drive included a connection, but aside from some near-bursting bladders (again, I'll protect the guilty with vagueness), it was very comfortable. As a matter of fact, it was a Mercedes bus. It's set up a lot like a plane inside and has a conductor who does a beverage and snack service. Although, unlike some airlines, this service is free. As a bonus, you also get cologne splashed on your hands now and then. Odd to us, but certainly not in a bad way. I'm certainly glad that I read about the likelihood of that happening before it did.

(early the next morning--after the call to prayer and Josh made sure I was awake) Since we arrived on an earlier bus than we intended, there was no one to meet us at the bus station, so we went to get a meal at the Micro cafe near the bus station. It was a decent meal, but nothing to write home about.
DoorwayDoorwayDoorway

Here is the bed through the hand-carved doorway. I can only guess at how long ago the man who did this work was alive.
There was a big political parade (really more a long stream of decorated cars outfited with horns and speakers that went by while we were eating. I finally got around to figuring out which party was which. This particular outpouring of enthusiasm belonged to the primary Islamist party. Our waitress, a woman, made a remark about how they were no good. If I were a woman and a Turkish citizen, I think I'd be with her. Their party symbol is a yellow light bulb--the good idea logo.
Many restaurants have orange squeezing machines and most, of the OJ we've had here has been fresh. After or meal the staff let me use the phone to call the hotel and request a shuttle. Our driver beat us back to the bus station. He spoke pretty good English that he said he has learned at our hotel: the Giramasu Cave Hotel (www.gamirasu.com). We drove down a one-way lane that twisted through what would be a stretch, I think, to call a town and ended up next to the hotel. There was no real check in. We were shown directly to rooms off the courtyard. I had requested the Family Suite, but they were
Gamirasu terraceGamirasu terraceGamirasu terrace

Semolina, honey, coconut desert drizzled with chocolate was the finishing touch on our Gamirasu evening meal.
kind enough to give us two rooms, since the hotel is not yet full for the season. I scored the honeymoon suite. With Kate. There is a king-sized canopy bed and a terrace and the whole room is, in fact, a cave. The shelves on the wall, the fireplace, the arch of the interior doorway are all carved out of the stone. I played chess for a bit with Alex out on the terrace and some sheep were herded by just below us.

Dinner was at 7 and they served a set menu of local specialties. Everything was fresh, fresh, fresh. We started with a red lentil soup with a little mint in it. When paired with the homemade bread, everyone tucked right in. A cheese pie followed paired with a huge salad that was drizzled with oil and pommegranite vinegar, then some very local lamb with rice and Brussels sprouts. We finished with a semolina square that I think was cooked with coconut and honey and then drizzled with chocolate sauce. As wonderful as the food was, the location was still really the star. We sat under a tent on the roof of the building we were sleeping in. We could see the caves, the sunset and swallows swooping in, out and around the caves. With the coming of morning came the call to prayer (around 5, I think), the sheep (closer to 6), Josh (right at about 6) and THEN the rooster. I do miss my noise machine, but all the commotion this morning was a fun way to end one night's rest.

I also want to take a moment for a disclaimer: this text editor has no spell check and I am not editing entries, so things might get a little hinky at times. Also, I'm not sure if I'll have internet for a day or two. Don't be concerned if you don't hear from us again 'til Istanbul. Off to breakfast!

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2007/09/05/travel/20070909_ NEXT_SLIDESHOW_index.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink


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Kofte: Josh's Turkish favoriteKofte: Josh's Turkish favorite
Kofte: Josh's Turkish favorite

OK, actually baklava is Josh's Turkish favorite, but I'm sure that that's only because he hasn't yet tried Turkish Delight!
Our balcony at Gamirasu Cave HotelOur balcony at Gamirasu Cave Hotel
Our balcony at Gamirasu Cave Hotel

This photo was taken earlier, but I'm sitting here now in the dark posting wirelessly. There's something a little surreal about basically sitting in a cave that has been inhabited on and off for thousands of years and surfing the web. The sheep trundling by under the balcony add to the charm.
Our last night in AnkaraOur last night in Ankara
Our last night in Ankara

We had a pretty magnificent view from our hotel, including Anit Kabir, Ataturk's Mausolem and some sort of theme park that lit up at night.
Party busParty bus
Party bus

No, not that kind of party. This bus was in the political parade group. Half of the engine's power went to driving the bus, the other half went to boosting the speakers, from what we could tell. The logo for this party is a lightbulb (implying that a vote for them is a bright idea). Much of the party advertising here is done with long strings of triangular flags in the streets.
Princess bed in the Honeymoon suitePrincess bed in the Honeymoon suite
Princess bed in the Honeymoon suite

Yes, we got upgraded to the honeymoon suite and Mike's not here. I'd have to guess that Kate was way more excited to be sleeping in the princess bed than he would have been.
Salt lakeSalt lake
Salt lake

I saw a sign that said Salt Lake somewhere between Ankara and Urgup and snapped this out the window of our speeding Mercedes bus. I haven't had the chance to research it yet, but it was very cool looking.
Shepherd ladyShepherd lady
Shepherd lady

So, we're standing on the balcony enjoying the view, when around the corner comes this lady herding her flock of sheep with two sticks. They ran right below us and had big green Z's on their behinds. The kids and I thought about those little guys when lamb was served at dinner.


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