Trip Start Apr 23, 2005
Trip End Mar 31, 2006

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Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Today was a long travel day as we had to get the ferry from North Cyprus and then bus it all the way to Cappadoccia. Due to the lost day, our hotel had been changed which was fine except that no-one bothered to tell Genghis, so there was a last minute change, but we got a place to sleep, and it even had hot water - luxury!

That night we went to a Turkish night in a large venue carved out of the Volcanic Tuff which makes up most of the Cappadoccian landscape. There was fantastic food, unlimited alcohol (if you ordered a vodka, they gave you a bottle of vodka) and a night of traditional turkish dancing including the whirling dervishes, traditional turkish courting dances and a belly dancer.

The Whirling Dervishes

All really well done and enjoyed by everyone. Well lubricated for some partying, we discovered that our hotel had a night club, so we spent the rest of the night to the wee hours of the morning, putting some serious moves down on the dance floor. Turns out Grabby camel is quite the dancer and he spent the night impressing us with his unique grooves including the dirty hump and the double back-spin (Grabby is of course a 2 humped camel).

The next day we toured around the amazing landscape of Cappadoccia. The Volcanic tuff which makes up the area is a very soft rock made from the ash of past volvanoes which lays hundreds of metres thick across the whole region. It's softness means it is very easily eroded resulting in an amazing lanscape of rock towers and erosion gullies. Being a rock-climber, I found myself in heaven and attempted to climb eveything I saw including a camel shaped rock (see the pictures).

Pasabag Fairy Chimneys

One of the valleys we came across is nicknamed the valley of Richard due to it's collection of phallic shaped rock formations. A lot of these formations have old houses carved straight into them which of course I had to explore. It's amazing to think that people lived in these for thousands of years.

We visited the amazing Goreme open air museum which used to be a Christian monastary which was made up of a multitude of churches, living quarters, kitchens, store rooms, etc, carved out of the rock. These included fully featured, nine domed churches with the original frescoes painted by the monks still in tact.

Even more amazing was the underground cities which were built by the Christians as refuges during times of invasion. The city we visted went for 9 stories underground and included everything necessary to stay for an extended period undeground. It was connected to other underground cities (which seem to litter the region) some up to 200km away. The work nessecary to build these would have been phenomenal.

Exploring the underground cities

Cappadoccia was the highlight of Turkey for me - as you can see from the photographs (I took about 70). It is like nothing I have ever seen. You will have a small taste of what to expect from Star Wars which used Cappadoccia for some of the scenes from the planet which Luke grew up on.

We got back on the bus for the long trip back to Istanbul, briefly stopping at Ankara (the capital) to look at the Mausaleum of Attiturk in the middle of the night.

Overnight (and the last night of the tour) in Istanbul.
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