Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Grand Canyon of Turkey

We had another early start today as we continued our touring of Cappadocia. Our first stop was 1 1/2 hr drive away and is called Ihlara valley.  We descended down about 300 steps to the bottom of the canyon and walked along a stream running along the bottom.  We enjoyed a beautiful walk with stops along the way at some old churches carved into the stone, as well as for some hot tea. Historically, the area housed several monasteries as well as a village. Although the canyon is over 15 km long, we only hiked about 4 or 5 kms.

At the end of our hike we enjoyed a tasty lunch in a traditional hut over the stream. We enjoyed a selection of items, including yogurt with honey, baked trout, French fries (!), salad, and fresh bread. 

After lunch we drove to an area called "the cathedral", which was actually a series of multi-storey churches set in to high mountains near the valley we hiked. The caves there were incredibly complicated and ornate. Sadly, although there was evidence of former frescoes, it looks like almost all if the caves were burned out, destroying them. 

We then had an arranged tour of a pottery workshop, where Aoife got to try her hand at making a vase!  The artisans here were fantastic; the master being a 5th generation potter (who looks a lot like Einstein too). 

On the way back to the hotel, we inspected a few more cave dwellings, including an area used by St. Simon as his own personal monastery (away from everyone and everything else), and various other rock formations (one looked like a camel). 

There was quite a bit of travel/driving today, so we actually didn't get home until after 7:00. Both of us weren't hungry at all, owing to today's big lunch, so no dinner tonight. 

An early start tomorrow (leaving the hotel at 6:30 am), and heading west to the region if Ephasus and Ancient Rome. 

Tomorrow is primarily a travel day, so there may not be huge updates. Again, as we're changing hotels, Internet remains uncertain (though likely ok). It's going to be hot, hot, hot there. Hope we survive!

Talk to you all soon,

Aoife and Paul. 

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