Monday, July 27, 2009

Turkey Photos I

[guest post by Ryan]

So we haven't written much about Turkey especially given that we spent 10 days there and drove around nearly the entire country. It was quite the adventure, even if it was frustrating at times. There was the hustle and bustle of Istanbul, scenic country driving and several seafronts to drive along. There was a day with 16-17 hours of driving in which we would up sampling only three dogs. We laughed, we cried, it was better than Cats. In any case, I think we've made a strategic decision to spare most of the details and instead will share several photos in this post and the next with a few short stories or details regarding some of them. Plus this way we can feel "caught up" and focus on blogging what we're actually doing now instead of staying two weeks behind!

One of the things we noticed driving around Turkey is that, more than anything else, Turks seem to enjoy two things: patriotic displays and funny hats. For example, there were flags EVERYWHERE (some buildings had a half dozen or more; any hill of more than three meters had one on top). Often they'd combine their two loves and have a statue of some patriotic figure wearing a funny hat.

This was a beautiful sunset in Cappadocia, which is a very beautiful area. This is specifically in Goreme, which is a World Heritage Site where all the houses, churches, etc were carved into the rocks.

These were our impromptu hosts in Cappadocia. They showed us around the random 5th century church (see below) and fed us a home-cooked meal with homemade wine. They also entertained us with some dancing. If any of you go to Cappadocia, we highly recommend looking for the Lemon House which is up past most of the touristy sites on the road through town.

See, the homemade wine is in the plastic jug on the table... (it actually was pretty good).

Here are some pictures of the 5th century church called the Church of the Reflection in Goreme. When you arrive there along a seemingly forgotten path past the touristy area, you're greeted by a very friendly guy who gives you a mini-tour, allows you to explore the church alone some with provided flashlights and, after it all, serves you tea. All for about $2 each. The church was built directly into the stone and had a couple decorative rooms at the front.

The church had tiny passageways to interior and 2nd floor rooms with Indian Jones-style rocks that could be slid across the passageways to seal them off.

I only just barely fit through the doorways....

Here's a picture of the old part of the city of Goreme, completely built into the stone.

Another photo from Cappadocia:

Here's a view of beautiful Amasra, Turkey, on the western end of the Black Sea coast. The water in the Black Sea was surprisingly warm.

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