6 Month Anniversary!!!

Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Friday, December 18, 2009

Decided it was time for a little celebration.  Today marks 6 months from the time we left Canada, 6 months into our 10th year of marriage, and hey - Christmas is almost here!

Started the day off with a package tour.  This was a great change.  A whole itinerary of places to see without any of the hassles of trying to arrange transportation and other logistics ourselves.  It was just a 'come along for the ride' type of day. 

First stop was an amazing panoramic view of Goreme.  This is such a unique little town with a mix of modern homes and cave homes.  Bizarre to look at.  Aparantly, real estate has boomed over the last little while as tourism took off.  Around 10 years ago you could get a cave home for around 3000TL.  Now they go for $500 000!  Now there's value!  Pretty good for something carved out of existing with no building materials!

Then it was off to Derinkuyu.  Here is where an underground city is open to the public.  It's estimated that there could be over 100 underground cities in this area although only about 30 have been discovered.  This particular city was discovered by a farmer who noticed the remains of what he thought was a well in his field.  Ignoring it for a long time, he began to notice that it wasn't a well at all, but a ventilation shaft leading down into the city. 

We walked down through 8 different levels to 60 meters below the surface of the ground.  What a long time it must have taken to develop these tunnels.  People like ants digging beneath the surface of the earth.

These cities are elaborate series of tunnles and rooms for living in, but also for security.  Christians used this area during the years of persecution from the Romans in the 400's AD.  Water systems, ventalation shafts, kitchens, winery, food storage areas, security doors, meeting rooms, churches, and even morgues! 

Since security was a main concern, tiny little doorways and passages made traversing difficult on purpose.  They even installed little holes in the tops of tunnles where they could drop hot oil down onto the enemy.  Even special stone doors could be rolled in place to block passage. 

Staying at a constant temperature of around 7-15 degrees Celsius, it is the perfect place to stay cool in summer and stay warm in winter.  Many passageways went up into nearby homes and was only used as a retreat when needed. 

Then we went to the Ilhra Valley.  This is a steep gorge with a river running down the middle and about 150 rock churches hidden in the rocks.  Again, a popular place for Christians under fire, it was a place that offered shelter.  Funny, but I wasn't expecting to see so much evidence of Christianity.  It's amazing to see the similarities and overlaps between Muslims and Christians.  It will be something I'll continue to look into. 

Off to Selime Monestary.  (One of the great things about package tours is that you get to see a lot in a short period of time, the negative is that you're a bit rushed and feel like cattle being herded).  This monestary is looming up on a hill with many many rooms carved out of the rock.  Over the years, freezing rain and snow have caused sections to break off, so now you can see into the monestary from the outside giving it an interesting look.  Elaborate rooms, collums, frescoes, all connected by little paths.  It was very interesting to be inside and look around. 

Full day, but still lots of time for a full night.  Brian and I signed up for 'Turkish Nights' an evening show of all you can eat food, all you can drink alcohol, and more than you can take dance.  All throughout the evening groups in various regional costumes come out and do their traditional dances.  There was even a display of the whirling dervishes and some belly dancing!

The belly dancers were quite impressive!  One did a comical routine where she chose some men from the audience (including Brian) to go up on stage.  It was hilarious seeing the guys try to move and shake like her.  Poor Brian had a sore hip from trying too hard.  But our stupid video recorder crapped out for the best parts :S

Afterwards, we went to the Flintstones Cave Bar and lived it up some more.  Brian turned into a dancing machine.  He hasn't done this since Andrew's wedding.  A few people there remembered him from the show and wanted to dance with him which was a laugh.  I just sat back and watched and sucked on my nargila. 

Had a lot of fun and felt younger than we have in quite some time.  Not intensive travel, but nice for a change and fun to get together with some other travelers. 
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lindsayholmes on

Congratulations!!! ...and Merry Christmas! Hope you guys are spoiling yourselves since we are to far away to stuff you with cheeses and chocolates and things.

2totango on

Thank you! We'll have to stuff ourselves with falafel and shwarma today to make up for it, but I'll be looking for cheese and chocolate when we return...:D

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