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Posts tagged ‘Cappadocia’

Sunday Stills: landscapes

big, wide open landscapes ….

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Koycegiz lake in Turkey

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Uchisar, Cappadocia in Turkey

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Goreme, Cappadocia

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hot-air ballooning in Cappadocia

sharing with Sunday Stills

Travel theme: outdoors

Ailsa reminded some/informed some that 30 March is ‘take a walk in the park’ day. I think this is a wonderful idea but sadly don’t think I’ll get the chance to do that. Instead I’m sharing some of my photos of the great outdoors.

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Vietnam’s eerily atmospheric Halong Bay

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Lake Koycegiz, Turkey

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Cappadocia, Turkey

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lavender fields in Provence

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my all-time favourite outdoors – Oare valley in north Devon, UK

weekly photo challenge: descent

Even if we didn’t manage to descend to the bottom of St Patrick’s well in Orvieto, Italy my glasses did. I leaned out to take a photo looking down the well and my camera jogged against my glasses knocking them off. I watched, horrified, as they bounced off the window ledge and then down into the void over 100 metres below…. We were at the beginning of our day’s outing and still had places to go. To make matters worse on our return to the hotel, when I put my spare pair of glasses on one of the lenses fell out of its frame. It was a public holiday just before a weekend and it was 3 days before I could get them repaired. Of such joys is life made!

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the cascate delle marmore at nearby Terni

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the chairlift down to Gubbio

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Cappadocia

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descent from Schafberg, Austria

When I was looking for suitable images for this challenge, although I found lots looking up various staircases, I had none looking down. I wonder why that is. Note to self – must take the occasional shot looking down a staircase

How did you interpret this week’s challenge?

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The rocks remain in Cappadocia

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The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time. – Henry David Thoreau

DP Photo Challenge

Sunday stills: sunrises-sunsets

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sunset on a camel safari out of Jaisalmer, India

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winter sunset in the UK

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sunrise in Cappadocia

Sunday Stills

Road trip in Turkey part 7: more Guzelyurt and beyond

The local weekly market was on Wednesday so we went to have a look and buy what we needed for lunch. It was very cold that day and I pitied the women (for most of the stallholders were women) who sat huddled against the cold.

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just look at the size of these cabbages – more than enough to feed the average family!

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a worry-bead seller and friend

We found our way down into the Manastır vadısı (monastery valley). The actual monastery was an old Greek church which had been converted into a mosque.

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church/mosque interior

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angels over the doorway

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These were the last two churches, built into the rock face, in the valley but we didn’t go into them.

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views across the valley towards the underground city built into the cliff

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the smoke-blackened ceiling of the cooking/living area is clearly visible in this photo

There was a small underground city (yer altı) built into the cliff behind the church that we explored too although we didn’t venture into the lower levels as the path was really steep and the passageway very low. Underground city is something of a misnomer for in this case the city was built into the cliff rather than actually being underground although it did have a couple of underground levels. This was only a small such city but there are many others in this area of Turkey. Some of the more famous, like Derinkuyu and Kaymakli, are several (maybe 8) levels deep and have sophisticated ventilation systems as well as areas for keeping horses and other livestock. They were constructed hundreds of years ago and served as hiding places for many of the Christians in times of persecution.

We visited the yuksek kilisi (lit. the high up church), built right on the top of a rocky outcrop with views over the surrounding countryside.

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view towards Guzelyurt

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view towards the other sides

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The high church viewed from the other side

We tried to find Narlı golu (pomegranate lake) but Sally Sat Nav, as we’d nicknamed our satellite navigation system, led us completely astray and took us to Nar köyu (Nar village) instead.

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This turned out to be a village that modern life had passed by – full of tumbledown houses and some that were built right into the rock. Eventually we found the lake which turned out to be a volcanic crater lake and had lunch there with only a a couple of boys looking after a herd of goats for company.

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Much to our surprise a new wellness hotel has been established close by, doubtless to take advantage of the volcanic properties (and possibly thermal springs) from this crater.

From there we drove to Ihlara, famous for its landscape and deep valley with rock churches.

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Landscape near Ihlara

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We didn’t go for a walk in the gorge, contenting ourselves with the views from the top. DH and I had done the walk 30 years ago when we were younger and fitter!

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Little seems to have changed here ….

Then on to Yaprakhisar – apparently part of Star Wars was filmed here and then through the village of Selime and back to Güzelyurt.

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Approach to and views of Yaprakhisar

Road trip in Turkey part 6: Goreme and its environs

We were then taken back to Göreme and went to visit the Göreme open air museum where there are churches cut into the rock, some with beautifully painted frescoes. Sadly many of these have been defaced – literally – the faces have been scratched away by fanatics who don’t believe in representation of the human form.

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frescoes in the church of St Basil

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the beautiful ceiling in the Apple chapel

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the paintings in the chapel of St Barbara are more figurative

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Yilanli (snake) chapel

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St Catherine’s chapel

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sandals chapel
the name comes from the two footprints at the bottom of the Ascension fresco at the church’s entrance

More information about these churches can be found here.

From here we proceeded up to the Göreme panorama at the top of the hill just outside the town from where there was a good view across the valley. There were lots of souvenir shops and trees with evil eye decorations hanging on the branches.

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Then we went to the hill-top town of Uchisar where we could drive right up to the castle.

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Then we went to the top of Pigeon valley for more photos.

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Pigeon valley is so called because the valley is full of pigeon lofts.

Then to Çavuşın, where the soft rock of the hillside is riddled with dwellings many of which were inhabited until the 1950’s

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the interior of Cavusin’s church/mosque – note the floral decoration on the column.

Nearby Avanos is famous for its pottery shops

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Then we went to see the fairy chimneys at Paşabağı. These weird formations have been caused by wind and weather erosion

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It was even possible to take a camel ride here

Last place on the itinerary was Urgup. We stopped by a block of flats so that I could take a photo looking up towards the buildings cut into the rock.

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Out of the car in front of me 2 guys removed a sheep for the sacrificial Bayram and dragged it into the building. Urgup looked to be the Gordes (listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Provence) of Cappadocia as it was full of boutique hotels and restaurants. It had obviously gone up in the world since our visit 30 years ago!

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Then we drove back stopping for coffee in the small village of Çardak and through Derinkuyu. In many of the fields up on the plateau the pumpkins/marrow/squash were being harvested and seeds removed and spread out to dry.

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Pumpkin seeds are a great delicacy here and you’ll find empty shells littering the ground pretty much wherever you go.

Road trip in Turkey part 5: hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Even the best laid plans go astray ….. The previous evening I realised that we had made a serious mistake in the location of the hotel we were currently staying in as regards getting to Göreme for an early morning start for our hot air balloon trip. We were in fact some 80km away and we were going to have to get up at 3am! The alarm clock sounded only too early and we managed to leave at 3.30, picking up our packed breakfast on the way out. We drove to Göreme via Derinkuyu and it only took us about 1 hr to get there so we had loads of time to kill before meeting up with Ozan at the bus station. There K got talking to someone in a tourism agency who told him we could get coffee at my house and told us how to find it. We thought he meant it was his house but when we got there it turned out to be a little café called My House. It didn’t look as if it was open because all we could see was a TV set that was on. However, we pushed open the door and asked if they were open and they said yes, they had been open since 4am because they make poaca (savoury pastries) which are sold to some of the balloon companies for breakfast. At 6am we were collected from there and taken to İstanbul Balloon’s depot for a light breakfast.

We were then taken to the area used by many of the balloon companies for take offs. We watched other balloons being inflated – like sleeping animals coming to life.

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and watched in fascination as other balloons started taking off around us

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More balloons followed ours until the sky seemed to be full of them.

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more gas, please

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There were 16 people in our basket plus 2 crew and at least 2 helpers/translators. We saw the sun rise and were up in the air for about 1 hr – fantastic. Although this wasn’t my first balloon flight, I always experience the same thrill as the balloon becomes airborne and the landscape is laid out like a map below you.

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Pink valley

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At one point we could see about 30 other balloons in the air. During the summer season there can be literally hundreds!

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aerial view of Goreme

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rock dwellings cut into the soft rock

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At the end of our flight the pilot managed a similar picture perfect landing on the trailer.

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dismantling the envelope as the actual balloon bit is called from the basket

After landing safely, bottles of (apple) bubbly were cracked open and each person got a survivor’s certificate.