Anatalya to Cappadoccia is a huge drive of over 9 hours and it’s just one of those times to settle in and enjoy the ride .
Exiting Antalya takes some time and on our right is the Coastline and again it is lined with humungous Resort Hotels with domes that look like you might be in Russia.
We then climb up through the Tauras Mountains – through beautiful cedar forests dotted with many villages – these mountains are still the home of Nomadic people and you can see the tents tottted on the hill sides – School holidays are 4 months in Turkey to accommodate the children living in remote areas during the summer months. These people have wonderful traditions and still prepare and preserve their food the same as they have for hundreds of years- Like : Goat skin is used as a container for cheese and stored in caves. Yoghurt is mixed with Bulgur- rolled into balls and dried in the sun for the winter – It is then used to make yoghurt soup. Because these people are travellers many recipes from middle Eastern Counties have become mixed . Ali Gave us a recipe for Gypsy Chicken. It goes something like this …. 1.Steal a chicken. 2. Sit it on a wooden tripod in a clay dish with rice and water in the bottom . 3.Cover the chicken with a big metal can. 4. Sit in a fire and cover the whole thing with hot ashes. – the chicken will cook and the juices drip down into the rice and water to make a pilaff … Terrific !!!
We stopped at a row of road side stalls all selling fruit and most had their own homemade Pomegranate and Grape molasses and preserved olives – I loved the preserved olive below stored in old coke bottles .
On the other side of the mountains is the very large city of several million people called Konya . It is in the heart of Turkey slap in the middle of Anatolia’s wild huge plain, surrounded by a vast endless landscape.
With the two peaked Volcanic Mt Hassan on our right we traveled for several more hours through plains which seemed to go into infinity on either side of the bus – we passed many herds of sheep and goats , deep golden wheat and vegetable growing areas .
Cappadocia emerged late in the afternoon and the elegant Fresco Hotel drew squeals of delight as everyone was shown to their rooms – some in Cave rooms and others with lovely views – This old Anatolian Mansion- still with original painted walls and frescoes has been immacualtely restored by our delightful host Mahmet.
Cappadocia is located in the centre of the Anatolian Region of Turkey, Its valley, canyon, hills and unusual rock formations have been created as a result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years on a lava-covered plain, covered in volcanic ash millions of years ago from the active mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan.
Thousands of dwellings and monasteries dating back many more thousands of years have been carved out of the rock, cities were dug out into underground, pigeon houses carved into the sides ( used for collecting droppings for fertiser ) – all this looks rather weird and creating bizarre shapes called fairy Chimneys.Ali comes from Cappadocia and can remember the skies thick with waves of Pigeons – He is a complete marvel and we are entranced by his knowledge and stories . Stalls are everywhere and the cheap colourful silk scarves didn’t go unoticed by my girls ….
Walking through the Fairy Chimneys you can’t help but notice the abundance of wild flowers and herbs -even wild asparagus was everywhere. In some areas there were neat rows of grape vines growing – here, they grow in a single plant close the the ground .
Saturday was market day in Urgup and since my group was back – after getting up at 5am to go Ballooning but…the low cloud canceled their trip – try again tomorrow !!! In case you didn’t know – I love markets and this was a beauty. Bags of local fresh cheese and yoghurt, stacks of colourful shiny vegetables – including chillies,aubergines,tomatoes, strings of little dried okra, olives, fresh vine leaves and huge bunches of mint,dill and parsley all for 1 Turkish Lire (50 cents ) While we were there everyone at the market all stood perfectly still for prayers then carried on with their business – lots of elderly men seemed to be selling and shopping along with women all dressed in the traditional baggy pants which seem to have the crotch at your ankles ( heavens not a dramatic fashion statement ) and the boys with the tea tray went around the stall holders giving out the typical little glasses of tea – you could even buy loose tobacco .
Turkey is not Turkey without buying rugs … after egg Gozleme and a sundried tomatoes with pomegranate molasses for lunch and watching the cutest little boy dance to our music – OMG …….my group loved Ali from the Carpet shop and some of them now will get enjoy their purchase for life time .
Carpet shopping is exhausting – probably not nearly as much as the poor guys that have to lug them around all the time. Wine was waiting and needed – Dinner at the hotel cooked in the ancient tandoor oven found in the rocks was delicious. Its been a busy two days and I love being back here…