Where I am: Cappadoccia

I figure I owe you an explanation as to where I am since I’ve been lingering here in Cappadoccia for a week or so- unable to escape the dramatic, surreal scenery, and also subconsciously procrastinating my venture into the Southeast (I’m excited but really nervous- I’m sure it will be a rewarding experience but all these warnings for lone female travelers is making me fret a bit). Then again, I don’t get what all these people mean when they say “dangerous”- anything can be dangerous. It’s all relative. Like what some people still say about Harlem. I guess I am waiting until I am totally amped up to go with an unstoppable attitude. That’s the kind of energy I will need, I think.

Anyway, so back to where I am now: Cappadoccia is right in the heart of Turkey, right in the center, and it was first wettled in 1800-1200 BC. Get a load of that! And I thought Macchu Picchu and Ankar Wat were ancient. It flourished between the 4th and 11th centure (Roman/Byzantine period) and since then people have lived in the massive caves that dominate the landscape, though many of them (I found) have been abandoned. Still, some villagers are still caved up, almost Y2K style, loading up food for the winter already in their ancient cave houses with their modern day satellite dishes projected outside.

One man's humble abode in Uchisar.

One man's humble abode in Uchisar.

Extraordinary landscape from above

Extraordinary landscape from above

It”s pretty stunning here. Tourism is still undeveloped enough to allow Curious Georges like myself to traipse around the valleys unguarded, exploring empty cave houses and monasteries completely on my own, at my own risk, with not another human in sight. It is truly a feeling from another time on another planet. Hiking through the unmarked valleys is one of the most unique and exciting experiences I’ve had, stumbling across fresco ruins, versions of cuneiform, blossoming apricot trees and tomato patches where I collect my lunch.

I just walked past this cave, looked up, and found this engraving on the ceiling. I have no idea what it means.

I just walked past this cave, looked up, and found this engraving on the ceiling. I have no idea what it means.

Painted fresco inside Selime Monastery

Painted fresco inside Selime Monastery

Inside a cave dwelling

Inside a cave dwelling

The magical landscape is mostly created by volcanic eruptions and the architecture that resulted varies tremendously by the second. One moment I’ll feel like I’m walking on Mars, then hop on my moped for a few kilometers and be in a psychedelic version of the Grand Canyon, and then after hiking a few minutes, I’m in a scene in Fantasia. I’m amazed that I hadn’t heard of this wonderland until this trip. It’s one of my favorite places I’ve been to. Perhaps because it feels so untouched and raw, wtill; shrouded in mysticism and unaware of its unique beauty. This place is just awesome.

Chilling in a pigeon hole cave dwelling. According to locals, cave dwellers tied messages to pigeons that flew between the caves to deliver. The pigeons here are actually quite beautiful, nothing like the filthy scruffy NYC ones.

Chilling in a pigeon hole cave dwelling. According to locals, cave dwellers tied messages to pigeons that flew between the caves to deliver. The pigeons here are actually quite beautiful, nothing like the filthy scruffy NYC ones.

Ricky climbs the thousands-of-years-old basalt footholds into the periwinkle sky

Ricky climbs the thousands-of-years-old basalt footholds into the periwinkle sky

Riding through the vast region of Cappadoccia on mopeds

Riding through the vast region of Cappadoccia on mopeds

The ride

The ride

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I took a hot air balloon ride. A total splurge, but in a setting like this with a perfect opportunity, I was willing to cash in the extra Euros I had left over from years ago in Paris.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, I took a hot air balloon ride. A total splurge, but in a setting like this with a perfect opportunity, I was willing to cash in the extra Euros I had left over from years ago in Paris.

At sunrise

The shadow of our balloon at sunrise

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~ by ceciliabien on August 30, 2009.

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