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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Cappadocia Rocks

TURKEY | Tuesday, 23 June 2015 | Views [187]

Welcome to Cappadocia

Welcome to Cappadocia

CAPPADOCIA IS ALL ABOUT ROCKS — specifically “tufa,” a soft volcanic rock from ancient eruptions.  Ten million years of erosion has resulted in a Tolkeinesque landscape of pinnacles, domes, pillars and mounds straight from Middle Earth.  More recently — during the last 2000 years — humans have left their marks on the landscape.  They have chipped and carved houses, churches and even entire underground cities into the soft tufa.  

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    Kapadokya Lodge, the best yet

“Tourist” Cappadocia lies mostly within the triangle formed by the cities of Nevsehir, Urgup and Avanos with the village of Goreme as the unofficial center.  One of the highlights of a visit to Cappadocia, so say the guidebooks, is a stay in one of the boutique cave hotels, a holiday fit for Fred and Wilma Flintstone if you ask me.  We opted for the wonderful Kapadokya Lodge, by far the best place we have stayed yet, $65 a night with both breakfast and dinner.  It is limboed between Uchisar and Nevsehir so a car is essential unless you are part of a tour as so many of our American neighbors seem to be.  We booked for three nights and stayed for six!

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   Painted Frescoes                                Carved church

We have seen more elaborate churches carved into the rock in Gondor, Ethiopia and more impressive frescoed caves in Greece.  But never have we experienced and entire underground city like Kaymakli.  It is a maze of eight levels with countless living and storage areas, chapels, wineries and stables connected by miles of low, narrow tunnels that would be a tight squeeze even for a hobbit.  Kaymakli wasn’t designed for everyday life but as a sanctuary from marauding Arabs, hence it’s 600 entrances.

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   Tight Squeeze, Main Squeeze             Underground chapel

We spend most of our days hiking among the fantastic rock formations and exploring  the riverside churches deep in the Ihlara Valley.  Our favorite walk was in the Firinasma Valley which we stumbled upon by accident while searching for the iconic Mantarkaya, or “Mushroom Rock.”  When the dusty rutted track ended after five miles we followed the trail into the valley towards the carved rocks.  And beyond.  

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      Firinasma Valley                             Firinasma Valley

 

Every bend in the trail exposed more interesting views, drawing us onward.  The only person we saw the entire time was an old cowherd with his cattle.  Oh, yeah.  On the way back we found the “Mushroom.”

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    Mantarkaya aka Mushroom Rock

With a vivid imagination you can “see” many different things in the rocks, especially among the crownd-favorite “fairy chimneys.”  Is that a standing lizard?  Look, there’s a slouching cowboy.  But there is no mistaking the chimney rock penises standing erect against the cobalt sky in what the balloon pilot called “Viagra Valley.”

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   Fairy Chimneys                                 Lizard?

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   Pretty Penises All In A Row

 

 

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John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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