Love Walley Tour

Trip Start Sep 21, 2010
Trip End Oct 07, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Monday, October 4, 2010

Another glorious day to sleep slightly late.  We all rose and ate our delicious Turkish breakfast at around 9:00AM and were on a bus at 9:30 for a tour of the region.  The bus was small (10-15 people) and were designed to look like the inside of a plane, complete with "bus attendant" service request buttons.

After a short drive were at the top of Red Valley.  Our guide, "Olson" (spelled more like Alghan?) set out a map and discussed the region.  Olson had a unique Turkish/Australian accent, and, like many in the region, pronounced valley, as "walley".  In tribute, valley was pronounced walley, for the rest of the trip.  The hike to the bottom of the walley was beautiful and reminded me of the Grand Canyon mixed with the Bad Lands of South Dakota, but with much easier hiking.  At the bottom we hydrated and Anne had a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.  Then, we hiked on to an older part of town past a beautiful cemetery and ended a huge structure that had been carved out of the volcanic earth.  This structure had been liven in for hundreds of years and was just evacuated/condemned in the 1960's.  Tan and I did some antique shopping and we were off to our next location.    

Avanos was our next stop, and there is local saying that even a blind man can find this town by the small pieces of pottery heard underfoot along the way (again, this paraphrasing).  Here we toured pottery and were able to see the process of producing pottery from beginning to finish.  Carey was even selected to make a small piece under the direction of a master who spun the pottery wheel with his feet.  Afterwards we were invited to tour the showroom.  This stop (and entire day) was a bit touristy but the pressure to buy stuff was low and the experience was interesting and worth it.  The pieces themselves were vibrantly colored and took an incredible amount of skill to produce.  We ended up buying a few trivits for about 10 lira each ($7), but there were pieces there that were 40,000 lira.  

After lunch at a local restaurant we ended up at the underground city.  This was city that built, or dug, around the the 7th or 8th century AD.  I ended up having a mild claustrophobia freak out as we descended level after level in the 6ft or less high ceiling.  The entire tunnel was chiseled out of the hill and the small marks from the tools are are still visible everywhere.    We saw small wineries, living rooms and kitchens.  I couldn't stop thinking about Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, or the end of Goonies where they are searching for One Eyed Willie.  

We wrapped up the day by heading to a local winery with descent wine, although France will probably be okay.  Then we headed see the fortress at Uchisar just outside of Goreme on the way home.  

The evening was spent first with some drinks at the terrace of the Kelebek Cave Hotel, the hotel adjacent to ours. Our friend who we had met the night before, Hasan, works there and we sat down to share an Efes and discuss our day and plans for the next.  There are only a couple of late night meeting places so he suggested we head down to Fat Boys, a local gastropub, for dinner.  It is really difficult to find a bad meal here and this rang true again at Fat Boys.  Chris G broke down and tried a hamburger that ended up having a lot of Turkish flare with pita bread and local spices.  The rest of us quickly devoured our meals of kabob and kofte.   After a few rounds of pool and some intense games of Ginga we headed home for a good nights rest, as tomorrow we have to get up at 5:00AM for our balloon ride.  
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