It is official: we have landed in the world of Dr. Suess. From the trees from The Lorax, to the Salt Lake in Cappadocia that resembles the place where North Going Zax met up with South Going Zax, to the rock formations that we can only imagine the Grinch hiding and waiting to steal Christmas away from the unsuspecting people who live in Whoville. Even the buildings carved out of the stone looked like the homes of the innocents residing in Whoville.
Instead of being transported into a land dreamt up by Dr. Suess, we are in Cappadocia, Turkey. Driving through this country, we were reminded at times of North Carolina, sometimes Utah, and other times just about anywhere in the USA. Just when we thought we were back in the USA, we stopped and were confronted with the differences. This included squat toilets (Kathy still is very happy with her FUD), pizza that looks like pita bread with cheese on top, and the ever-present small cups of coffee being served everywhere. If that was not enough smoking in restaurants was a dead giveaway!! All-in-all, it is amazing here.
Yesterday we drove along and stopped in multiple sites marveling at the rock formations. We toured an underground city that was occupied as recently as the 1960’s. The underground city was a defense mechanism and a way of controlling the climate in the home during the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Yes, they do have winter in Turkey, and they get snow. There are even ski slopes! Exiting the underground city was a test of our will as women from the village hawked dolls by shrilly calling to you to come buy one. Kathy, unable to avoid the calls, broke down and bought one for the grand total of 10 Turkish Lira (about a buck twenty-five). Arriving late at our hotel, we ate dinner, went to bed.
Why to bed so early? We had a very early, like really, really, very early morning call to get up and take our hot air balloon ride over the rock formations of Cappadocia. As the photos will attest, it was well worth the 03:30 AM wake up call. The rest of the day was spent traveling through Cappadocia viewing the sites, a visit to a carpet shop, and then a stop at a jewelry store where Kathy again caved and purchased a beautiful ring.
Lunch was definitely a highlight. We stopped at a small café with our new American friends, Zack and Heather and their 10-year old son, Zack. We were the only patrons in the spot. We had a meal called testi kebapi. It is a beef stew that comes out in clay pots with flames leaping all about them. The server takes a sort of large Turkish knife and taps at the clay pot until it breaks open, then pours the boiling stew into small bowls. A barley-type grain came as a side dish. It was all delicious. Both of our meals together, including drinks, was 130 Turkish Lira, or about $15USD. We would have paid that amount just for the show that was the serving of the meal!
At another stop, there was a man hawking Turkish ice cream. A sucker for ice cream anyway, Kathy had to have one just for the show involved with this delivery! The man played “3-Card Monte” with the cones so that you often tried to get a lick of your dessert when it wasn’t even in your hand! Kathy laughed and laughed each time she thought she had a cone.
The day ended mercifully early today as we got back to our hotel at 4 PM. This gave us a good amount of time to rest up before dinner. Tomorrow, we set off at 7 AM for Pamukkale. Can’t wait!