Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 163 - Motorbiking Cappadocia

The nights are cold in Goreme, so it is easy to feel like hibernating through the morning and waking up late. You just feel like curling up inside while the rest of the world continues with their day.

I began my day in the late morning after deciding to stay an additional day in this town, and saving my travels through Eastern Turkey for another trip. I cancelled my flight ticket from Diyarbakir to Istanbul and decided instead, to take another long bus from Goreme back to Istanbul tomorrow night.  I grabbed some lunch with the rest of the couchsurfers before renting motorbikes with Junko, who offered to be my tour guide around some of the cities close to Goreme. She didn't have a drivers license since she is originally from Japan and most of them use the local transportation to get around, so I had to drive for the both of us. It would be the first time I drove with another person behind me, and I must say, it was so much more difficult than driving alone, but I didn't show any fear since I didn't want to scare Junko, who trusted my driving since I had been driving in California since I was 15.

We arrived at the city of Cavusin, and stopped at the Cavusin Church, but decided against paying the entrance fee since there's so much else to explore that was free. The next destination we headed to was Pasabag, which had some unique fairy chimneys scattered throughout. Many of them had huge boulders being balanced on the top. It's interesting to think how these structures have survived over time, but at any moment, they could possibly topple over. I think these caves will all disappear at one point in time because it's easy to chip away at it, and it's continually disintegrating...  These structures definitely wouldn't survive longer than the Grand Canyon, something that Cappadocia reminds me a lot of.

Junko and I stopped by a cashmere store, where we chatted with the store owner. He told us that there was a rock chimney that I could climb in through access in the back, although it would be a little difficult to get to the top because it was steep. I took the challenge and found the structure. It was somewhat difficult to climb through the small holes carved out, but there were steps in the stones that I used to climb directly up from the first and second levels to the second and third levels. Success! Junko took pictures of me from the bottom, and I looked like Rapunzel or some other fairy princess, trapped at the top of a tower with no access to the bottom.

Afterwards, we headed towards Urgrup, and along the way, we stopped by some of the famous rock structures, one of which resembled a camel, and the other called "Three Sisters" because three rocks look very similar to each other. Me not being the sci-fi buff that others are, and not remembering much about the Star Wars series, I learned that George Lucas got inspiration for one of the earlier films in the series from the landscape in this area.

We had doner kebap for lunch before backtracking through Urgrup and heading towards Avanos, a major city known for its pottery. They usually have free pottery-making shows to entice customers to buy things, but we came a little too late, since all the tour buses full of older Japanese people probably arrived earlier in the day. At this time of year, there were droves of Japanese tourists everywhere.

It was getting darker earlier since the they changed times in Turkey a couple weeks before the rest of the world did, and the windchill was strong as we drove on the highway. We decided to head back early to save from freezing as we drove in open air at 50 km/hr. Another fantastic day of sightseeing.

It was Halloween today, and instead of throwing an annual West Hollywood halloween party at my place back home, Zack and I headed to the one restaurant that had signs of Halloween Festivities. The signs said "True Blood tonight" and we assumed they would be showing episodes of the HBO series, but there was American football on the flat screen, a couple of people dressed festively, and a couple black balloons hanging around. I guess that's the extent of Halloween in Turkey!

Camel Rock





Three Sisters

Devrent Valley


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