Thursday, 13 November 2014

Day 4 Of Our Trip To Cappadocia

Although I didn't have to get up early today, I still woke up around 6.30am and decided to go out and watch the balloons.  We had definitely picked the better day yesterday, as it was very cloudy this morning and I only counted around 30 balloons.  You could also feel more of a chill in the air.

After breakfast we decided to take the car and drive to Uçhisar Castle, which is on the very top of the large rock which dominates the sky line in Cappadocia.  They say it is the highest point you can go, other than in the hot air balloon.  Unfortunately our Müzikart did not give us free access, but 6tl each was not to bad, plus 3tl for car parking, although we thought there going to be more rooms for you to see.  Mostly you are climbing up many stairs on the outside to the very top.  However, the view is amazing, even today when the weather is very overcast.

Overlooking the town of Uçhisar which surrounds the Castle.

Finally I am standing next to the flag pole that I have seen flying the Turkish flag everywhere we have been these last few days.  Shame that even up here there is no breeze and the flag is just hanging limp.

A couple of 'small' stone balls we noticed on our way out of the Castle.

From here we thought we would go to one of the lesser known underground cities located at Mazı, around 20 minutes drive from Uçhisar.  Unfortunately once we eventually found it it was closed due to the frontage and entrance being renovated.  It looks like it is going to be become another one of the major attractions.

One of the plus sides to this trip to Mazı was we got to see the sight of pumpkin seeds being left out to dry.  Everywhere you looked, there were large pieces of tarpaulin laid out on gardens or on the public footpath with thousands of pumpkin seeds on them.  What amazed us was that the pumpkins they had been removed from had just been discarded and laid around rotting, I am surprised they were not being used.

So we back traced on ourselves and went to Kaymakı Underground City instead.  Our Müzikart got us in for free, so another saving of 15tl each, the car-park was 3tl.  As soon as you enter you are approached by tour guides, who charge around 25tl per person.  If you want to get the history and get to go down some of the narrower, darker tunnels, then it would be a good idea.  We opted to go on our own as I would not have wanted to go down the darker tunnels.  It was really interesting wandering around the rooms, but the paths are very narrow, steep in places and the ceilings can be very low.

The City was first opened to tourists in 1964, today there are currently 4 levels open to the public.

It is amazing how holes in the floor, in some of the dimly lit rooms, have been 'made safe' by laying a piece of grating over the top, it is not fixed in place, it is just relying on its weight not to get moved!

We heard one of the Guides say that these holes were used for storage, including wine, and that the wine was not in jars, it was just poured in, not sure how this would have worked as the rock looks porous.

According to the sign on the wall this was a living room area.

As well as the larger holes in the floors with the grates over them, there are a lot of smaller holes dotted around, mind your footing!

Just to give you an idea of head space, Ian and Paul are standing in one of the rooms with the most head space, and Ian is around 5.11", so you can see there is not a lot of room.

Mid your head! low door and steps going up!

This was one very long corridor.

Here is one of the stones said to have been used as a door.

This strange looking stone is said to be block of andesite, which had been used to cold form copper. There is a andesite layer within the City where this is said to originate from.  The stone has holes carved into it, the copper was poured into the holes and then hammered into form.

My your head and watch your step we are going, down, down, down.

We looked round for a fair bit but then called it a day.  I think we were all feeling tired after several early stars and lots of walking.  Back in the car-park we could see that there had been a decent shower while we had been underground.

After leaving Kaymakı we stopped at Pigeon Valley Observation Point, where we got to see the part of the valley that we could not get to yesterday.  The colours of the rock here were amazing, we stopped for a coffee, again for a tourist hotspot the prices were very good, 10.50tl for two coffees and a coke.  While we were sitting admiring the view we could hear several rumbles of thunder coming from across the valley and to the right of us and the sky looked incredibly dark.

'Pot Tree' a new species, brilliant way to show of your wares, especially with this backdrop.

Or if a pot is not for you how about a Turkish Eye!

The pigeons were very obliging and did a fly past for me.  For many centuries pigeons had been encouraged to remain in this area as they provided food and fertiliser, by carving pigeon houses in the abandoned cave houses and churches.  The pigeon dung was said to make the fruits of this area the sweetest and most succulent in Turkey.

Fat Boys for lunch, had 4 coffees, 1 coke, 1 Aussie style sausage roll served with chips, 1 pastirma börek (deep fried pastry pocket filled with pastirma and Turkish cheddar cheese) and a plate of spring rolls with Thai dipping sauce, total bill with discount 33tl.  We timed our lunch right because it started to chuck it down with rain, and it looked like it was there to stay.

Fat Boys has been a fantastic place for meals as it is centrally located, the staff were lovely and because it is owned by the hotel we were staying at we were looked after extra well and they have free internet access so I was able to keep on top of my writing.

The Taşknoak Hotel has been a brilliant place to stay, the owners and staff were lovely, the hotel was clean and warm, the breakfast was lovely and very filling.  Not only did you have tea and coffee making facilities in your room, they were quite happy for you to use the kitchen to make drinks if you were sitting on the terrace, at no extra charge.  There was free wifi in the rooms and seating areas of the hotel.  The location of the hotel being high up made for fantastic views but was only a few minutes walk from the centre of Göreme.

There was a small mosque next to our hotel, but I guess because of the construction of the walls, we hardly heard it in the morning.

A few views from around Göreme, I didn't get chance to take many shots as we were mostly there in the evening to eat.

I loved this image of a chair having a rest on the bench halfway up the hill.

A beautifully decorated archway to an enclosed courtyard.

I think this his trailer might be a little bit over loaded!

Our last evening meal in Cappadocia had to be at Fat Boys where we had a plate of spring rolls, plate of chips, 3 Kirmit Köfte with rice and salad and 4 beers, we tried a new beer tonight called Bomonti. Yılmaz the owner gave us a plate of warm baklava and ice cream as a gift.

Total bill after discount came to 89tl.  We left the restaurant incredibly stuffed and it was still drizzling with rain.

Well that is it, tomorrow we head for home.  If you ever get the chance to visit Cappadocia, you must.  If not, I hope this blog has given you a little insight into this beautiful, interesting area.

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