Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Turkey  ,
Monday, October 10, 2005

I took the bus from Kas to Antalya (4 hours) and on it who should appear but Helen and Emily, 2 of the girls I met on the boat cruise! They were heading to Olimpos. From Antalya I caught an overnight bus to Goreme (10 hours) in Cappadocia! Long day. I actually got a few hours sleep on the bus though, so it wasn't too bad.

The first thing I noticed about the area is that it's bloody cold! After a month on the Med, frost was a very unwelcome sight! During the day it's nice though, but the evenings are chilly. Cappadocia is the area in Turkey with interesting rock formations, known as 'fairy chimneys', "which have been formed as the result of the erosion of the tufa layer, sculpted by wind and flood water, running down on the slopes of the valleys. Water has found its way through the valleys creating cracks and ruptures in the hard rock. The softer, easily erodable material underneath has been gradually swept away receding the slopes and in this way, conical formations protected with basalt caps have been created". Then the people who lived here carved caves into them, and inhabited them. A lot of them have been modernized, and I am staying at a pension that is set in the side of one of thes structures, and my room is a cave!

Today I visited the open air museum, which is an area of about 12 main chimneys, most with churches carbed in them. Inside are some amazing 10-12th century frescoes. You're not supposed to take pictures, but one of the guides let us take one in the "dark church", which was very impressive!

While there, I wasn't 20 steps in the gate and who should I run into, but Renee and Jean, the couple from Montreal that I met in Selcuk. I had also run into them in Kas about a week ago. Small world! We ended up spending the day together, wandering through the churches, and then went for lunch. After they suggested we go to the Hamam (a turkish bath) in Urgup, the town 6 km away where they are staying. We had to wait a bit as there was a large group when we arrived, so we had a nice walk around the town.

The Hamam was wonderful!! First you start by getting undressed, this is not a segregated hamam so you aren't naked. You wrap in a thin towel, and then head in to the shower (leaving the towel on for the rest of the adventure). After the shower you sit in the steam room, then lay on this large marble slab in the middle of the room that is heated. The whole room is very hot, Renee and I had to keep dousing our faces in cold water!

As you relax on the marble slab, you wait for your turn for the massage. They start by pouring a few buckets of hot water over you, then scrub you down with a pumice-like glove. This takes off all your dead skin, yuck! Feels great though. Then he pours a few more buckets of hot water over you, and soaps you down, including washing your hair. Then a cold rinse, which is pretty shocking!

Next you lay down on the massage table. Then you are covered in soapy bubbles, and you are massaged from top to bottom! It is a very vigorous massage, but feels great. After, another rinse, and you head back to the marble slab to relax on the hot stone for awhile. Then you are warapped in warm dry towels, and then you get changed. It was wonderful, afterwards you feel very clean and relaxed! I highly recommend one if you are ever in Turkey.
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