Weekend Getaway to Goreme

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Turkey  , Antalya,
Sunday, November 16, 2008

We have all fallen in love with the region of Cappadocia... a top spot for a weekend getaway from city life...
The region is filled with a multitude of activities to engage in... and we all chose a bit of what we wanted... Deb did some shopping, as the handicrafts in the region are hard to match throughout Turkey... some of her favorites included ethnic dolls for the many nieces back in the States, pashmina wool scarves for her yoga friends and a new yoga carpet that she can take to her upcoming yoga retreat in Assisi, Italy...

Aidan had a chance to Adopt a Kangal dog for the weekend... as he puts it, "The nicest dogs in the world are in Cappadocia", and I tend to agree... unusually friendly... He continues to grind away at his parents about getting a pooch... and each time he adopts one of the village dogs, I find myself feeling a bit more guilty for not letting him have his own... Maybe this summer we will get one???

Carsten pushed for us all to jump on four wheelers and take a tour around the many valleys and canyons that make up this fascinating area... We rented two and took off with a guide... exploring old churches, cruising by bizarre pinnacles, crawling through neatly tucked villages and squeezing through deep canyons through dry riverbeds... We all had a great time... it was Very Cool!!! At one point in the trip we arrived at a wide open valley and let the boys take the machines off on their own... always fun to watch the independence rev up their spirits...

I woke up my family early one morning... pried them out of the hotel room, and coaxed them off into the Pigeon Valley for an early morning walk... after a few grumbles and complaints the landscape bewitched them and we were able to scramble up and down the troglodyte hills with a sense of adventure.... discovering a few ancient church caves bored into the hills...

A few of the other collective highlights that we engaged in were taking in Derinkuyu, an underground city that was dug straight down into the earth, so as to provide a place of protection for the early Christians in the area... a maze of tunnels and rooms carved 197 feet underground with eight floors of stables, storage rooms, living quarters, churches and wine press rooms for making the elixir of life... providing a safe place to escape into when the Persians and other invading peoples canvassed the landscape, pillaging and plundering the villages along the way... Derinkuyu could accommodate around 20,000 people underground for an extended period of time... months if need be... It is a remarkable feat... one completed out of necessity for preserving life... after exploring the subterranean ant hill we entered back onto the earth, squinty eyes and all... wondering how the people of long ago must have been blinded by the light after spending months moled away from the dangers lurking above... One of the locals told me that there are over 36 tunnel cities throughout the area... and that Derinkuyu is linked by a 6 mile transit tunnel that links to another underground village in Kaymakli... I am always impressed what we humans are capable of when our very existence is threatened... Click the link to check out a pretty cool sketch... http://www.avanosevi.com/images/s/derinkuyu.jpg

We also decided upon this trip to purchase a Turkish rug... and met up with a rug dealer that we have become friends with.... After hours of unraveling stunning works of art and drinking numerous cups of apple chai and strong tea we decided to sleep on a few options and left the rug shop, heading off to a Whirling Dervish Ritual that a few of the local Sufis engage in... We jumped into Ali's car and drove off to an adjoining valley... ending up at a building perched atop a hill... walked in and were brought down into an underground cave with dim lighting and varying rows of seating areas carved around an elevated stage... after listening to the musicians play ancient instruments for a spell... four dervishes entered following a master teacher that led the ritual... The spinning entrancement pulled all of us in... as we became mesmerized by the circular movements of rippling robes as they formed billowing clouds of material, rising and falling as the spinning quickened. For those who are unaware of what a whirling dervish entails... I encourage you to look it up... it is an ancient meditation ritual performed by the Sufi sect of Muslims founded by Mevlana Rumi... over 800 years ago... http://www.allaboutturkey.com/dervis.htm

The next day we had lunch with Ali and finally decided upon a rug... a 60 year old rug completed by Armenian Turks that had settled in the Goreme region... with Ottoman and Persian design elements...

Late Sunday evening we arrived back home... with fond memories and a bit of Cappadocia to unravel on our apartment floor... making our own little cave just a bit more "homey"... as we continue to settle into our new life in this beautiful country...
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