Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Break Part I: Camping in a Cappadoccian Cave

My friend, Christy, from the States, flew out to meet me for Spring Break, and we started the week's vacation with my teacher-friends, Wowie and Shauna, who joined us for the first weekend in Cappadoccia.

On the way down, we stopped to admire the mighty Salt Lake, or Tuz Gollu, which has not looked this full or the surrounding grass this green since I have been here.

We stopped for a tour of the Underground City of Kaymakli.

We arrived in Goreme just in time for a sunset view from the Uchisar citadel.

During a hike on our previous Cappadoccian adventure, Wowie, Shauna and I had sussed out a particular fairy chimney about 1 kilometer in from the road that we decided would make a perfect camping spot.

So with the sun quickly setting, we set out to rediscover the spot and collect firewood. It wasn't until the next morning, when we set Christy out to observe the Open Air Museum, did we learn through her knowledge reconnaissance that in old times, people only had to set very very small fires, as the space was extremely easy to warm up. As soon as I set our fire, the temperature instantly had me tearing off my layers, and despite the chimney hole someone had carved, the smoke had us all evacuate. Determined to roast our 12Lira-per-bag-marshmallows that didn't really taste like American marshmallows and were a weird pale yellow color, I crawled into the cave and remained on my belly below the smoke to roast the marshmallows and pass them out to my friends who could enjoy them in the fresh air of fairy land. Once the fire settled down, we were able to crawl back in, drink some local wine out of Starbucks to-go-cups, and fall asleep.

Well, I was able to fall asleep. I was the only one with a warm enough sleeping bag for the night. It got to below freezing, and everyone else had a summer bag. I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat and sat up to shed a layer, when I heard Christy's meek voice from behind me say, "Are you going to wear that? Can I have it?" At dawn, the sound of the hot air balloons awoke me, and Shauna and Wowie were excited to get a chance to leave the cold cave and wave to the hot air balloon guests who were floating by right above us.

Right across from our cave home was an unmarked church bearing some light frescoes. Fitting, as this was Easter Sunday.

That day, we headed to Urgup, the more chic Cappadoccian town 9km from Goreme, for a warm bed and a clean shower, and of course yet another visit to our favorite Winery.

The next morning, we dropped Shauna and Wowie off at the bus station, and Christy and I headed southeast, new territory for me, and Part II of our trip.

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