A geologist's heaven!
29.04.2013 - 29.04.2013 30 °C
A great breakfast this morning in the hotel. The fruit is beautiful - different.
We took off at 8.30am and are travelling in a south easterly direction - en route to the Cappadocia area. Sunny weather once again, rolling green hills with rocky outcrops - and very flat plains. We are currently driving along a huge salt lake. This is really, really something else! We see mosques everywhere - I saw one little one that was no bigger than a garage! But with a dome nonetheless.
We stopped at Aksaray for lunch at a roadside cafe. These places are really well equipped for tourist buses - a self serve cafeteria - with a fantastic variety of food and drinks, and served very efficiently. We were visited at our table by the local cats - hoping for scraps. A walk across the carpark to the little green grocer for some fruit and nuts and then back on the bus.
We made a stop at an ancient Caravanserai. These buildings were built along the Silk Road at regular intervals. The Silk Road was the main thoroughfare for moving cattle and transporting produce. These places were a haven from bandits, a place to take shelter, to live on a temporary basis - and to pray. Each Caravanserai comprised of eating and sleeping quarters, and a mosque. We've seen quite a few in our travels, ranging from absolutely run down to in working order - quite fascinating.
This afternoon we've had a beautiful view of Mount Erciyes - an extinct volcano - snow capped. A contradiction to the warm to hot weather we are currenty experiencing.
We stopped in a little village at Derinkuyu - which is the location of an underground city. The landscape of the Cappadocian area is made up of a mixture of lava and ash - it's called Tuff. This combination made it quite easy to excavate, so underground cities were built and lived in. We climbed underground and walked little corridors into various types of rooms. It was apparently cool in summer and warm in winter. The underground cities also housed stables, well, ventilation systems and churches.
Once back up on ground level we were approached by the locals selling their wares. I was happy to make a purchase of three little gypsy dolls for my three little girls. They are hand made and were 5 lira each (about $3 AUD). Also bought some ceramic trivets. I really wanted to contribute to this humble little village. Although the ladies hasseled us, they were nice - with big smiles.
Travelling ever closer to Cappadocia (pronounced Cappadohkya) we noticed a change in the terrain. The rock formations in this area look like they're from another planet. Hopefully the photos will give you an understanding. We stopped at the Goreme Open Air Museum which houses 16 rock-cut chapels in caves within these rock formations. These churches date from the 9th Century.We were able to visit 6 of them, most of them with Byzantine frescoes on the walls. The last church we visited (Tokali Church) was by far the most beautiful displaying rich blue frescoes. UNESCO has declared the Goreme Valley a World Heritage site.
It was incredibly hot here in the sun - we were ill-prepared for the weather. It was a relief to sit down in the shade with a bottle of water.
It was early evening at this stage, we made a quick stop at a tiny roadside supermarket where we stocked up on some beer, soft drinks, dried fruit etc. I think Recep has an arrangement with the owner of the supermarket - the prices were about a quarter of what they were at the hotel.
We had a beautiful dinner at the hotel with our travelling companions. The hotel is top class, and well catered for the hundreds of tourists travelling through this outstanding region.