Saturday, July 7, 2012

Turkey Trip Day 15

Friday June 29

Wake up call very early today: 3:45 am leaving the hotel at 4:10 am. We were brought to a 'han' for breakfast (#1). We didn't know we were getting breakfast because it was arranged at our hotel after our return. We would rather have slept a little longer. Oh well... Everybody else was Japanese!
Then we were told that our balloon pilots name was Ziya and we were brought to our launch place which was a long bumpy ride away in a valley.
Of course it was interesting to watch as they inflated the baloon.
Walking around inside the balloon? Hope he doesn't put any holes into it with his shoes.
Waiting patiently.
 The big guns now, first it was just a fan, then hot air with flame.
Our neighbor is coming close.
Making progress.
I was very nervous about the getting in and getting out since I am not sporty but I am happy to say I found it quite easy.
Looking up.
Our ground team was very nice taking pictures with everybody's camera. I guess they are used to it. 
Lift off. So exciting.
Our neighbor follows closely.  It's a 24 person basket. We are very happy that we have a 12 person basket.

Our pilot Ziya explains that he has control of up and down and that he can rotate the balloon but he has no control where it goes. He tells us that there are about 100 balloons from 20 companies.
He exercises the up and down often.
Sometimes it's thrilling because you wonder whether the balloon will clear what is in front of you but of course it does. 
Ziya rotates the balloon a lot so that we all have a good view of everything. Nobody has a bad spot (to stand on).
He is also always on a honky-tonky. You hear others "I am above you. Don't come up" or "I am underneath you" etc. Nothing to worry about.

When the burners come on it is a very loud hissing but otherwise it is a very peaceful gliding along in the air.  I could have done it for a long time.
Our Lord has created a beautiful earth. And then the sun came up and poured gold over it.

 We went up to about 900 meters (3000 ft) above the ground

Our pilot pointed out the Rose Valley, the Red Valley, the White Valley, the Lovers Valley, the Natural Ford etc etc.

 Up and down we went as we slowly drifted on the light wind of the early morning

We must be landing soon because there are the teams waiting  on the road.

Now behind us (the balloon rotated).
 Over some power lines and then pproaching a ridge...
... and landing right on the edge. The team arrives, he fires again and lifts the balloon a couple of feet, the team pulls the basket over and right onto the trailer bed. 
The top opens.
It slowly collapses.

Ah, it's over  : (
Climbing out.
Breakfast #2

Champagne and cake.
A photo with our pilot

He sure knows how to open them.

Breakfast # 3
back at the hotel.
On the way to the underground city.
Quick stop to look at this deserted town. Another one which was emptied as all the Greeks (who were Christians) and sent to Greece while the Turks in Greece (who were Muslims) were sent to Turkey. Many of these had lived in their countries for many generations but were expelled. Grrrrr.
... and a woman arrives with her wares  because she had seen the bus stopping when she was working in the garden. She was very fast because she didn't want to loose a customer opportunity.
I felt bad that I didn't need anything but luckily somebody bought something from her.

Kaymakli Underground Town
These towns, one of the most interesting assets among the cultural heritage of the region, are carved out of the relatively soft tufa. The Main reason of existence for these towns was to provide refuge during the recurring threat by the invading armies. These underground towns are easily accessible from the corresponding towns above.
There are living quarters, granaries, stables, wine cellars, shrines, all clustered around the ventilation shafts, and wells to make life easier underground.

Everthing was connected with a labyrinth of tunnels. Strategically located  large round stone slabs standing upright in special cavities in the walls could be rolled to block the passage. So far, only four floors of Kaymakli Underground Town has been cleared.

This pot was found inside the underground city.
Stephanie had found a vendor to sell her these slippers ... or the vendor had found her, ha-ha.
A wild poppy field (no heroin from these).
Aykut stops to show us an underground storage for citrus.  Fruit being bought when it is plentiful and cheaper. Even if rotten fruit has to be sorted out, there is still a profit when the prices are higher.

 The entrance. James got the gift of two lemons.
Another site:  Tallest Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia in Ürgüp

 Doesn't this look like a sphinx?
Another site: Devrent Valley / Camel Rock

Soon we had a contest who could recognize and give names to the other rocks.

Definitely two Indians and a teepee here.
Lunch on the bank of the Red River. The Pide (Turkish pizza) is delicious.
I went to the bridge to take this photo of Kavi Restaurant.

From the restaurant we walked across the road (took our lives into our hands) to the market.
 It was buzzing.

They do like their spices!!!
I love the wonderful smell of these places.
Aykut made us try the carob fruit.  I think it is an acquired taste but not too bad. The trouble is that you have to be careful not to bite too hard on the seeds because I think that could break your teeth. The carob seeds are extremely uniform in size and weight and were used to weigh gold and diamonds- hence "carat" as we use today for gold and diamonds
Dried eggplant and dried everything.
Next: visiting one of Aykut's friends living in a rock-cut house. The friend has turned it into a little cafe. Aykut tells us about the problem the friend has with the government because although this was originally his family home they moved out some 20 years ago at the urging of the government but since it remained empty he opened a small cafe in it several years ago and now the government is demanding rent from him for all these years.

I have to go ...
Look, real plumbing and electricity.
A little intro ...

If you need another shelf in your house, just cut it!
Aykut spots another mulberry tree.
What a nice court yard.
We are going to investigate the former pigeon house next door. 

good view from there.
pigeon view
The Japanese group has just left so we can sit on the balcony.
Lovely view from there.
Last picture before I leave. Ah!
 The son of the old friend.

Father, son.
Well, he even has a gift shop. We end up being  customers. Nice things AND it is a good cause.
Back at our hotel for a little rest. At the appointed time some of us go for a little hike. Aykut says 4 miles. James and I turn our iPhone pedometer on.
It was a lovely walk through the fields of watermelons and grain and took less time then Aykut thought. Guess we are faster walkers.
Who's friend is this. Aykut's or Harriet's?
Farewell dinner at Balkon Restaurant next to Pigeons Valley. It's the end of the base trip but some of us will be going on to the trip extension to the southeast of Turkey.

5 of us 13 are leaving us. What's there to smile about. I gave Pam (and Larry) one of my bus-tatted hearts with the evil eye bead at the end as bookmark because she was reading all the time. I gave Mary Anne (and Bob) one with two evil eye beads because she was always so unlucky being stung by the wasps on the gulet twice. Marion can use hers either way. I hope they liked it.
They have been great travel companions and I hope we will keep in touch. They will be gone tomorrow before the Imam's call.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
From Aykut's CD:

Day 15 Friday 06.29.2012 (Cappadocia)
  • Kaymaklı Underground City visit
  • Stop at natural cave storage for lemon, (Not in the Program. Learning & Discovery) The e-mail address for the pictures:
  • Stop at Tallest Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia in Ürgüp
  • Devrent Valley (Camel Rock)
  • Lunch on own in Avanos Village (Kavi Restaurant)
  • Walking through the fruit and vegetable market in Avanos (Not in the Program. Learning & Discovery)
  • Visiting an old rock-cut house run as a tea-house now in Uçhisar, having tea and coffee in its patio (Not in the Program. Learning & Discovery)
  • Farewell Dinner at Balkon Restaurant next to Pigeons Valley, the end of the base trip
Overnight at Karlıkevi Hotel, Uçhisar


  1. One more thing: The balloon ride was heartstopping! Obviously, I knew it had gone well, but I was still in suspense!