Castles, Carpets and Caves

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
Trip End Feb 03, 2008

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our first task for the day was to finish off the tour that Suha had prepared for us. That meant a visit to Goreme Open Air Museum to see the cave city and to Uchisar to climb the castle. In between we decided to buy a carpet or two.
Goreme has some magnificent cave churches with some wonderful frescos showing scenes from the bible (as you would expect...) A number of tourist buses had pulled up and we found that we were having to go through the museum behind lots of Spanish and Japanese tour groups. Bloody tourists! It was clear that Goreme is a wonderful site, but overall we found Zelve much more exciting to visit. Goreme, for example, has paved walkways between exhibits, whereas Zelve is largely unsupported by infrastructure - we had to clamber over and under things, scramble up hills and explore for ourselves.
After Goreme we headed a few kilometres up the road to visit Uchisar, a 'castle' created out of bare rock. Before we tackled it, Jess suggested we sit down for a while, grab a cup of tea and relax. 'I even know the perfect place', she said, pointing to the carpet shop we had parked outside of. Faruk, owner of the imaginatively named 'Galerie Faruk', saw us lingering and was very quick to invite us in. Ha, we thought, we've outsmarted you. A free cup of tea and a nice relax before we tackle the castle. We can sit though the usual carpet spiel.
Faruk showed us his write-up in the Frommer's guide (very positive) and we started to listen with a bit of interest. We had always intended to buy some carpets in Turkey, but until now were not in the right frame of mind. After looking at a few (dozen) different rugs of different styles, we settled on a couple that we wanted to buy. Let the negotiating begin! Faruk suggested a price for each item and then gave us a small discount. I said that if this was Morocco I would offer him about a third of that. He laughed and said 'Turkey is not Morocco. I gave you a very good price to start with.' I countered with 'Maybe, but we are not really looking for a rug.' And so it went. In the end I got what I wanted and I was happy with the price.
Now for Uchisar. We climbed up through and over to reach the highest point of the surrounding area. The view was nothing short of spectacular. Probably I have used superlatives too much in my Cappadocia posts, but that's how it is here.
We asked Faruk for a nice place to eat in town (Uchisar is not a big town) and he pointed us to a 'pizza' shop. In reality it was a pide shop and we ordered 2 between us. Turkish pizzas, like their equivalent from Italy, have a lot less topping than the type we get in Australia, so they were light and nice. We noticed that everyone from the town were bringing in small bags of something and placing them on the counter in a sort of queue. It turned out that the bags were full of their own ingredients. The shop offered a service for the locals where they were able to bring their own ingredients, and for the price of the bread alone (about 30 kurush - 25 cents) they could top it and bake it in the oven - a community oven! Bringing your own ingredients saved you the 4 lira that you would have to pay if you bought a pide from the shop already made.
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