So, WHAT'S Katie up to???

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Tales from Turkey, #2

I've spent the last couple of days playing tour-guide for 4 Canadian friends.  Two are from Vancouver, and two are from Gibsons.  They are thoroughly enjoying their visit to this amazing country; and I must admit that trips are more special when one makes connections with 'real' residents of a place.
Ismail, our driver for the two days of touring, was ever so patient with us wanting to stop everywhere and taking much longer than expected at all the sites we visited.
Our first port of call was üçhisar, the highest town in the vicinity.  This photo shows some of the older houses as seen from the high viewpoint.  If you look closely, you can also see a cave or two in the rocks.  These could be former homes, animal shelters, storage units, and even dovecotes, depending on their height from the ground & potential for building stairs inside the rock formations.
Within the castle that tops the town are myriad caves and passageways, now only explored by the many tourists who visit the site each year.
A pathway encircles the castle at its base, for those of us who don't wish to pay a fee to enter the main part of the ruin. (This is Nick Caputo, by the way -- former owner of the Flying Cow Restaurant in Gibsons, and now property-maintenance guy extraordinaire.)
Nick's partner, Julia, sports smart headgear for the intense heat.  Behind Julia are the beautiful volcanic tufa formations and dovecotes of "Pigeon Valley". For many centuries, resident rock doves (our very common pigeon) have provided fertilizer for the grape vines and other crops in this semi-arid region.
Our day ended with a stop in Göreme, a very touristic town that has made the most of its unique surroundings.  This collection of caves and windows is actually a rather unique hotel.  They've done a remarkable job of preserving the exterior rock features while reforming existing caves into comfortable guest rooms.
And, most definitely, Coca Cola is international, and adapts its advertising accordingly.  I couldn't resist photographing this Cappadocian take on the ubiquitous beverage.

Our next day of touring took us a bit farther afield, to get up close and personal with the legendary Fairy Chimneys, 10th century Christian churches carved into caves, and one of the several underground cities in the region.  Stay tuned for more photos tomorrow.......

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