Thursday, June 24, 2010

Turkish Nights - Cappadocia Day 2

Our second day in Cappadocia was spent on the Green Tour. We visited the Goreme Panorama, toured the underground city of Derinkuyu, hiked through the Ihlara Valley, climbed to the Selime monastery, toured an onyx factory, and watched the pigeons fly at Pigeon Valley. It was one jammed packed day.

Goreme Panorama is a place to gaze at the beautiful city of Goreme and take in the beauty of the fairy chimneys.

There are many underground cities in the area and we went to the largest one - Derinkuyu was estimated to house 10,000 Byzantine Christians. The people would hide in these underground cities when enemies were approaching. Sometimes they would be underground for months. Not only would humans be hiding underground but they brought their animals with them too. Imagine how stinky and gross it would have been. They had kitchens, stables, living quarters, cemetaries, meeting rooms, churches, baptismal fonts, etc. It took them hundreds of years to build but when all was said and done these underground cities were amazing and genius creations.

We loved our 3.5km hike through the Ihlara Valley. We hiked down hundreds of steps until we reached the valley floor. We then walked along the river exploring several rock-cut churches along the way. The path was nice and shady so we didn't sweat to death under the hot sun. Our hike ended at a little village alongside the water. We ate a yummy lunch and then boarded the bus to continue our tour.

Our next stop was the Selime Monastery. We hiked up the hill to the monastery and then explored more rock-cut churches. Once again the views were incredible.

No tour is complete without being taken to a "demonstration" and then ushered into a showroom to buy outrageously priced goods. Well, that's what happened at the onyx factory. As soon as they brought out the apple tea we took that as our clue to leave. We are proud to say that nothing was purchased.

Our last stop on the tour was to Pigeon Valley. Here we saw a bunch of pigeons flying to their homes on the outside of the fairy chimneys. Please note, pigeons are not considered "rats with wings" here in Cappadocia. Unlike in NYC, Pigeons have a purpose. They were very important to the people back in the day. They would use them to carry messages, eat them, and use their droppings to create paint for their frescoes.

John really wanted to see the whirling dervishes so we booked tickets to "Turkish Nights". The travel agent promised us that it wasn't touristy and that we would see the whirling dervishes, folk dancers, and belly dancers while eating a yummy dinner. Well, let's just say the dancing part was true but everything else was a lie. It was the most touristy thing we have ever been to. The scene was like going to a Turkish wedding in someone's basement. It was filled with tour buses full of cruise ship tourists (you know the ones I'm talking about). The decor was cheesy and cheap and the food wasn't any better. At one point we were all in a conga line dancing around the floor and ended up outside around a bonfire. The belly dancer descended from the ceiling in a crappy cage and then proceeded to teach a bunch of middle aged men how to belly dance. Sara would like to block the whole night from her memory.

1 comment:

  1. Major claustrophobia set in just looking at these pictures! I don't know if you two are brave or crazy.