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We will send regular newsletters to our members who have signed up for receiving it during the registration. In 'mymerhaba' newsletter, our editorial staff provides updates, with regard to any information related to places worth visiting, viewing, or otherwise worth knowing, for those who care to know more....

A Trip to Kayseri - ├ľzkonak

´╗┐ Untitled Document

by Fred Moore - September 2007

We leave home on Friday afternoon and travel north for Goreme. Our friends Don and Jill have invited us to join them this weekend. Our trip is uneventful until we get well past Pozanti and onto the narrow two-lane winding highway through the mountains.

The route through this region is a serious climb as it curves first one way then the other, as it ascends the Taurus Mountain Range. We maintain our position in the ever increasing train of vehicles (cars, trucks, tankers, dolmus vans and farm tractors) while we watch others pass on blind curves and short stretches of straight away. Many are extremely lucky to get one or two vehicle lengths ahead of their past position in line; the chances of getting in serious trouble passing on this road are not worth the risk. Fortunately, many who take the risk are afforded the opportunity to pull in between other vehicles as they need to because no one wants to see anyone killed. Fate smiles on a number of lucky motorists who make the dash between vehicles successfully. Thirty minutes out of Pozanti, our van overheats from the climb and we pull off into a service station to assess the situation. Don checks it out and has no idea what may be the problem; the water is adequate, as are the belts. We decide to simply let the van cool down and we go to the restaurant for an early dinner. There are a number of meat choices in the counter cooler and we opt for both lamb and chicken plates; all plates are 8 Lira. We're the only people in the place, but it's very early for most Turks to be eating dinner. Had it not been for the van we probably would not be eating now either. With the amount of food displayed in the cooler however it seems evident the owner is confident their will be many more to serve this evening. Our meals are very satisfactory and after a forty-minute rest stop, we continue on our way.

Just before we reach Nigde road construction slows our progress; the highway department is laying fresh tar covered in crushed stone. It seems the world over, no drive is possible without the slow down inherent in road repair; the tar is very thick here and the stone lightly applied so we pick-up lots of both. I mention to don he's getting an undercoating for his van, what a mess this is. Our drive is made longer by this short slow down and darkness over takes us only two-thirds of the way to Goreme, but we make it with no further incidents. Now in village, Don drives the van up a narrow and curvy one-lane street to the top of the hill towards the 'Canyon View Cave Hotel', our designated accommodation for this visit.

We enter the Canyon View's large reception area two steps below the car park level through a double wood arched door. There's a large bronze bell hung directly in the center of the arch, a truly wonderful old 'doorbell'. We're in a large cave room that also serves as the breakfast room in the winter; the floor slopes slightly toward the back of the room as we walk further into the cave space. Carol and I have never stayed in the Canyon View but Don and Jill stay here often; they know the owner 'Hasan Uludag' well. The hotel boasts nine rooms, most of which are cave accommodations. Several of the rooms are extremely large and family friendly. Carol and I are assigned to Room 4, just out of the reception area to the left. We walk down another slight incline and through another wood door onto the courtyard level, our room is only steps away.

There's one room prior to ours on this level but only the one; the full complement of rooms here are on multiple levels, several above ours and a number below. Don and Jill have Room 3 down the steps below the courtyard level. Out in front of our room across the courtyard are two terraces on either side of the stairs leading to the lower levels. The left terrace is eight to ten steps above our level and the right one is on our level. Each terrace has space enough for two tables and four to six chairs; this is where we'll have our breakfast. We ask and we're told breakfast is at eight; Carol and I tell everyone good night and go to our room. The long ride has been tiring and it's really too late for us to visit anywhere, we simply retire for the evening.

Our room (I've dubbed it the mihrab room) has several Turkish Carpets/Kilims hung on the walls and many more fully cover the floor. On either side of the bed, there are fairly new prayer carpets or mihrab motif rugs. We're in a larger cave room with a smaller cave room off the side that's been conformed into a bathroom. The room is well appointed and tastefully decorated but be sure to bring your own toiletries - none are available in the bathroom. We never travel without our own pillows but here we find very nice ones; it's unusual to find a soft pillow in any hotel we've visited in Turkey. The bed is queen, maybe even king size; there are two night tables, a desk and chair, a large square coffee table and a dresser/side board. In the back of the room, three cabinet doors have been installed over a small cave space to provide the room with a very spacious closet. There's a carved space above the closet and it has a chest set in it to accent the space. There are also a number of other traditional Turkish handicrafts hung and sit about the room.

The door is quite wide but short; we have to bend down to go through it. Beside the door is a double window with wrought iron grating on the outside and two set of drapes inside. There are two small cave windows above the large window that have been filled with glass as skylights. The bathroom is nice size and is tastefully tiled.


I'm up early as my internal clock doesn't allow for holiday hours. I go out into the courtyard and then through the reception hall to the upper rooms; there's a curving stairway to the terrace on the roof of the rooms above ours. The view from up here is awesome! I can turn in any direction and see the entire valley from this level. As is normal for Goreme this time of year, the sky is filling with hot air balloons; many have already reached altitude and here's one directly overhead. The people contained within the gondola are chatting away as they float just above my head. I can nearly see their faces with the excitement of their adventure. Several are waving at the people on the roof across the way from me in the next hotel; they may have come from that hotel this morning for their flight.

While I'm up here, I get a couple of photos of the balloons (as if I need more) and the magnificent landscape spread out at my feet. I meet a gentleman from home up here as well, the Anderson family has been visiting since Wednesday. After a few minutes of viewing and talking with Mr. Anderson, I return to the courtyard fronting my room and make myself comfortable at one of the tables on the lower terrace to await our breakfast. While waiting on the others to make their appearance I meet the Stewarts and the Bohneys who are visiting from Ankara. Carol joins me after a little bit and we sit and enjoy the morning. We're so pleased to have escaped Adana and the HEAT, even for just the weekend.

It isn't long before other families appear on the upper terrace and then Don & Jill come up to join Carol and me at our table. There are a couple of families from Ankara staying here this weekend. As we talk with them, we're delighted to hear they all have been enjoying their visit to the Goreme area and their time in Turkey. We always welcome a conversation with people who have come to visit different regions of Turkey and have found this amazing country as wonderful as we have found it. I have to be very careful because sometimes I tend to go well beyond enthusiastic about Turkey. The opportunities for learning here are endless, the history of this country never ceases to amaze me as I visit the same and different places.

Breakfast is a set menu; a plate with a slice of tomato, a few slices of cucumber, a large slab of white cheese (very good cheese), a triangle of soft cheese wrapped in tinfoil, a half dozen olives in a square side dish, a few peanuts, a couple of dried apricots and bread. Scrambled eggs are available if you so desire. While enjoying conversation and the meal, we plan our adventure to Kayseri (a major city about an hour away). It's the city of birth for Turkey's new President Abdullah Gul (not the reason for our visit). Don and Jill want to see some of the old ruins of the city; we've been there in the past so they want us to help them get around. We talked about the city walls, the old bedistan - covered bazaar and of course the carpet shops. We learn in the course of the conversation there are two other folks who want to ride along on today's discovery.

After breakfast, Don phones the others (they are staying at another hotel) and he tells them of our plan and checks to be sure they're still interested in our day trip. In just a few minutes, we hear all is a go and Don goes to configure the van for two more people. Don's van has a pop-up third seat in the rear so in becomes a small dolmus. We all make a final rest stop and load up our van to head down off the top of this hill. At the hotel below, we learn our new traveling companions are Julie and Jane both who work with Don back home. With everyone comfortably in place, we set off for Kayseri.

As I indicated earlier, the drive between Goreme and Kayseri is about an hour and we make the trip with ease. Unfortunately, the view today is obstructed and the beautiful mountains around Kayseri are not visible; especially Mount Erciyes, the sky resort which is very lovely in the spring. Once in the city we follow the signs to the city center. We encounter the high black walls of the inner city fortress in just a few minutes and drive around them until we find a suitable parking space. Kayseri was occupied by the Byzantines in the 6th century and they built these walls to surround the city. The parking attendant (there are many in this area) meets us in the street and I decide we need to pay for five hours; no need in cutting corners we don't know how long we might be. Better to pay for a longer time and not worry about getting back to the van at a particular time.

We're about a block away from the entrance to the covered bazaar and in five minutes, we're wandering the crowded alleyways of this labyrinth of commerce. It's Saturday so we are consumed by a mass of humanity as we wade into the first passageway. There are shoes as far as the eye can see down this first alleyway. As we cross another alley going perpendicular to ours there are scarves and clothes. Our passage is steady but labored as we move through the throng of shoppers. Every cell of shopping has product out along the passage and hung from every available wire, nail or crevasse in the masonry. We're not in the hustle and bustle of the crowd for ten minutes when we come upon a familiar face, the brother of the carpet shop owner where we bought a carpet almost a year ago! He calls Carol by name and we don't remember his at all - we feel so bad (we learn it's Mehmet), but he simply shows his joy at our return visit to his city. We introduce our friends and he wants to know where in the States everyone is from. We talk for several minutes in the cacophony of the crowd before moving on. He asks if we are going to the carpet shop and we tell him, of course. We find we are even headed in the right direction as we're trying to remember the right path through this collection of jammed passages.


In another minute, we're stepping down into one of the old entry ways of the bazaar. The steps we descend are very irregular and centuries old; they're smoothed and rounded by the many generations that have come before us. Mehmet tells us the history of the doors we've just passed through; they are tall and steel plated timbers that must be two inches thick. At the foot of the stairs, we encounter Ali the bother who runs the carpet shop (Pinar Carpeting). There are warm greetings all around. We introduce our friends and spend a few minutes looking around the hall we're standing in. well above our heads is a large domed ceiling held aloft by massive pillars. Carpet shops surround us here; there must be six or eight in this entry hall. As everyone takes in the reality of the surroundings, Ali is telling Carol and me how he was just yesterday searching his card file and finding our friend's card and wondering where we were. Ali is certain his card find yesterday has brought us to visit today. We bought one carpet here and even now, we're old friends who do not come often enough (this is true Turkish Custom, they never meet a stranger). Still engaged in full conversation, we go into Ali's shop to see what's new since our last visit.

Once we're all comfortable in the shop, we're offered and receive refreshments as we look through one stack after another of kilims and carpets. Ali has some of Turkey's most popular regional pieces; some young and many old. Carol and I see a couple of pieces we should not leave without. We have several carpets taken from the shop to the outdoors so we can see them under the sun; a carpet should never be purchased without careful study of structure (we look for repairs) and color. True color can only be seen in the full light of day and be sure to look from both ends, as carpets change color from one end to the other. After all the pieces are looked at once and then again; we all get away without a purchase but pledge to return for another look later in the day.

We've been an hour or so now and we ask Ali about a good place for lunch. Last time we visited he led us to a very nice kabob place and we ask about it again. It's too small for all of us now he says because it has moved; he leads us to another great place (Dedenin Yeri) owned by one of his friends. We sit out on the sidewalk behind this little caf├ę between the buildings. The area we're seated in is very much a courtyard with one end open for exit. As tables are reconfigured and we're seated we notice there are a number of wedding dresses hung between the buildings at the enclosed on of the courtyard. We don't know if they've cleaned or they are made in one of the shops down the way. The waiter brings our drinks along with our clean plates and flatware. Everyone has a meal of his choice; there are many selections available. Carol and I have ayran (a yogurt drink); it's generally served in a glass at home but here we get it in a tin-lined copper cup with a spoon; it's served this way in Sanliurfa as well. It's very cold and quite good. There are three side dishes brought to the table, then our individual plates are brought along with bread. We all decide this was an excellent choice of restaurants, thanks so much Ali Bey. Before we leave, we get a card so when we return to Kayseri we can return here to eat. With lunch now behind us, we walk down the street a block and go into the courtyard of the Ethnographic Museum, an old Medrese. We've told our friends; this is a must see.

When we enter the courtyard immediately on our left is the gatekeeper. This is a very large building (entry is 2 Lira per person - standard for sights across Turkey) enclosed within the old city walls. The courtyard is well maintained and there are some ruins to be observed around the outer walls and in the grassy landscape. Once we've paid, we head for the old wooden stairs to the upper level of the building. On the landing at the top of the stairs, we have several options; to our left is a doorway, in front of us is a doorway and up another set of steps on our right is another entry door. We all go in different rooms; I go into the first room to the left at the top of the stairs which is actually three rooms. In separate display cases, these rooms have weapons, pottery and textiles. The next room I enter has a number of display cases filled with coins of gold, silver and bronze from multiple generations past. I climb the next set of steps and enter a room with carpets and old copper utilitarian pieces. On a separate deck just above the landing level is a yurt (a nomadic tent); a very lovely Kars Kilim stretches out across the front of the yurt as well. From this landing you get a feel for the ancient wall of the city as it stretches out as far one can see straight in front of us.

Once we've all come back together again on the porch landing, we descend the stairs to the lower level of the building. The architecture of this building is 13th century and the ceilings on the interior are not to be overlooked. The first hall we enter on the ground level is lined in wood carved and painted panels; the work is striking from one side to the other and all across the ceiling. We enter into an opening that becomes a stage within ten or twelve feet. On the left up a couple of steep steps is a doorway to the women's salon; there are a number of mannequins dressed in traditional custom standing and sitting at different daily scenes and again the room is paneled in beautiful ornate wood.

Back in the main hall now, the men's chamber, there are a number of mannequins in differing repose dressed in native custom. Some of these are posed with musical instruments and others with trades of the era depicted. It's very obvious that the curator has spent a good deal of time making these representations as realistic as possible. To the right of the stage there's a doorway leading into the lower kitchen, a small space with a set of steps leading into the main kitchen. Once again, there's a mannequin dressed traditionally, she's shown bent over a board making pita bread. A lamp has been added to the underside of a large cooking pot to provide the illusion of fire in the hearth. This female mannequin looks almost alive! This diorama is very well presented too. From here, we step into a vestibule with rooms to our right and to the left. The ceiling in the room to our right is magnificent, it has an incredible ornate center all hand carved and beautifully painted; it appears to be some sort of flower blossom. Also, to our left just past the door of the room on our left is a steep staircase ascending to the room well above us. Immediately in front of us is the exit door back into the courtyard. This facility is well worth a visit should you be in Kayseri to discover new sights.

We leave the museum grounds now and head back to the bazaar walking along side the city walls that tower fifteen or twenty feet over our heads. Right here in this same square is Kayseri's Ataturk House which we pass up this time. Many cities have an Ataturk House - a place Turkey's first President stayed while he visited their town or where he may have had his military headquarters during the war of independence. In just a few minutes, we're back inside the covered bazaar headed down new passages looking at new things. We find ourselves at the end of a passage and I go out to see if we can get back inside down further without walking in the afternoon sun for too far. I take a very short walk outside and find that yes, we can get right back inside just around the corner, I summon the others to follow.
Just as we round the corner we run into Mehmet again, he seems to be everywhere. I remember back to our first visit here and how Mehmet seem to materialize out of no where as we walked the streets. He leads us inside the old caravan entrance and tells us about the place as we proceed. He moves toward one column with a steel plate door about two feet square and explains this is where the payments were kept when some one choose to stay over in the caravan quarters for more than three days (three days were free). Mehmet opens the outer plate and revealed the inner opening and the small cavern that rests behind both. He then moves on to talk more about the structure and its history as he understands it. In just minutes, we're back at the carpet shop where our morning had begun.

We all take another look at the carpets/kilims we had looked at several hours before and decide to pass on them all except one small kilim that Jane decides to purchase. Ali is not very pleased and tries very hard to get other sales but we all stand firm and assure him we'll see him again another time. We thank him for the lunch suggestion and all his time, we bid him farewell and head for our van. Ali insists his brother lead us out so we don't get lost; we don't need his help but accept it graciously.

Once back in the van we make our way out of the city and head for Urgup so Carol and I can pickup a carpet we left several months ago to be repaired. The ride through the country is again uneventful and we're in Urgup in no time. Don parks just down the street from our friend Murat Guzelgoz's carpet shop, 'Le Bazaar D'Orient' and we go to get our rug. Murat as usual offers refreshments and he has several new pieces he insists we must see. There are a number of Suzani table cloths from Uzbekistan and then some new carpets from Afghanistan that are very lovely. Carol and I left a Kemaliye Carpet with Murat several months before to be repaired and he has come up with another he would like us to look at; this will be only the fourth Kemaliye Carpet we've seen in over 25 years. We apologize to Murat and beg off on any further showing because we have a dinner engagement in Goreme at the 'Kose Pansion'. Murat has our carpet wrapped up and we're off to Goreme.

It's a very short drive to Goreme and we drop Julie and Jane at there hotel and head up the hill to ours. Once in the parking lot we find the van is overheated again, Don decides it's all due to air conditioning usage and vows to leave it off from now on. We have some time before dinner so Carol and I decide to walk to the pansion; besides we want to stop and see some friends on the way. We go to our room and drop off our extra stuff and then walk the back way out of the Canyon View. We traverse the narrow streets as we descend into the central shopping area of Goreme. It's still fairly hot so we walk leisurely through the streets trying to avoid direct sun. Half way to our destination, we stop at Tribal Collections to say hello to Ruth, Faruk and Hasan; we find Faruk is not there but will be later. We visit with Ruth for a short time and then get on to our dinner engagement.

As I mentioned, we're going to 'Kose Pansion' for their evening meal; this pansion has a set menu dinner for guests and others who sign up before three in the afternoon. Jill has introduced us to this setting before and the meal is very fine. We arrive before the others and sit out on the porch to await their appearance. Dinner is at 7:30 and minutes before it is served our friends join us. The first course is a cold yogurt soup, a most excellent start. The main dish is chicken, eggplant and zucchini squash cooked in a small clay pot, served with rice and a very nice green salad. Our dessert today is lemon ice cream over fresh fruit; ops, watch those grape seeds! All of this for 10 Lira plus drinks; what an outstanding value!

Over dinner, we talk about our day and simply enjoy each other's company. Each course comes and goes too quickly but we spend an hour savoring them. After dinner, Carol and I excuse ourselves to walk back to the Canyon View. We intend to stop once again at Tribal Collections to see Faruk who should be there by now. It's dark so we walk toward the main street where the light is more prevalent. We cross the main street and walk the inner avenue where there are a number of carpet shops and other tourist kiosks. It's only five minutes to the carpet shop and we find Faruk sitting at his desk; no customers this evening. We sit and chat for a bit and I spy a silk Kilim I've seen in the shop before; it's small but very fine and I decide to purchase it this time. Faruk's repairman does a small thread repair on it and Hasan gets me a bag to carry it in; then I suggest to Faruk that he take a look at our carpet collection. I have my thumb drive with me that contains a number of photos of our collection in the United States. We spend an hour looking and re-looking at the carpet/kilim pictures. Faruk jokingly offers to buy a number of our pieces as he previews the collection; we talk about how these pieces are no longer available in the marketplace. We have a lovely visit and it's late so we offer our farewell and continue our walk toward the hotel. The evening is warm but not like Adana so we enjoy the night air and take the long way up the hill to the hotel. By the time we reach the hotel it's eleven o'clock and we simply retire.

Sun rise this morning is awesome; I'm sitting on the higher terrace just outside my room. There's no one else around and I scan the landscape blanketed at my feet. The labyrinth of tiny streets below me are fascinating with the locals beginning their day. There's one lone goat in the collection of houses out before me crying for his breakfast. I can't pinpoint his location but it's got to be one of the cave homes immediately across from me, the sound of his voice is so forlorn it's saddening. I had goats as a child growing up and in can see this one in my mind's eye, small not yet full grown and all alone. Now a cat joins me in the chair across from mine; he has beautiful olive green eyes. There are four or five cats that roam the terraces at mealtime. Breakfast was supposed to be early today but it appears it will be later than yesterday; no matter, Jill and Don are just now joining Carol and me. Jill goes in to check on our breakfast and in short order it's brought out for us. It has been prepared, we simply didn't know we were supposed to go request it.

We eat leisurely, as we enjoy the hint of morning breeze across the terrace. After our meal, we return to our rooms and get what we want for our day trip planned by Don and Jill. They're taking us, along with Julie and Jane to Ozkonak just north of Avanos. This is a forty minute drive from our hotel in Goreme.
We load up the van and head down the hill to Julie and Jane's hotel. Don explains that we'll be traveling today without air conditioning to prevent the van from over heating. The drive to Avanos in easy and we drive through the village and out the north side. The road beyond Avanos is narrow, paved, but fairly rough. We rise steadily over a hill as we climb toward our destination. The countryside here is dry and nearly lifeless on the whole but agriculture is evident; we see wheat stubble not yet burnt off; the harvest was not long ago. There are a number of grapevines laden with fruit too but the ground around them is still very dry out here.


We re-trace our path as we leave the monastery and head for Ozkonak. As we approach the village we find a very lovely new home for sale; it's quite odd though because it's encased in aluminum siding! It looks so strange to see a building clad in siding here in Turkey; one just does not expect to see aluminum siding here and certainly not this far out of a city. Architecture in Turkey is primary masonry, not wood frame and aluminum siding just seems way out of place.
Ozkonak is one of the purported 150 underground cities in the region - this one is fairly small and only discovered by accident in 1972. A local farmer is reported to have been watering his garden when he noticed the water draining away in an odd manner that drew his attention. During his investigation of this anomaly, he found the hidden underground city. This one is open to four levels currently. It is thought that many of the underground cities across this vicinity of Turkey are connected by an extended tunnel system.

After a time of shopping in the local tourist kiosks, around the entry to the underground, our friends descend into the site. Carol and I remain above ground. I tend to be claustrophobic and find the underground to be a little too tight for my own comfort. Instead, Carol and I go the refreshment stand and have drinks and a 'Magnum' ice cream bar; the gentleman we bought a few things from insists we have fresh grapes too and cuts them from the arbor just above our tables. It isn't long before our friends are back with us and we all sit for drinks and ice cream.
Yesterday the proprietor of the 'Kose Pansion' invited us to join them for her son's circumcision party, so we must get back to Goreme. When we arrive the party is in full swing, we find a parking place and Julie & Jane decide to forgo the party. They will walk back to their hotel from here. The rest of us go into the garden. The music is extremely loud and even though it's outside, I tell them I can not stay. Carol takes our monetary gift to the young lad who is being honored and we depart on foot. I have a serious aversion to loud noise; I suffer serious headaches so try very hard to never sit in situations of this type. Don and Jill stay for the meal and entertainment.

Carol and I walk back to the village center and stop by to see Ruth at Tribal Collections. Ruth is quite busy with customers so we simply sit and watch what the couple chooses to purchase. Faruk is there so we talk with him while watching the couple pick carpet pieces. They've selected some beautiful yastics (small tribal rugs); they will be making them into pillows later, once they get them home from their holiday. Ruth asks if we're hungry and offers us chicken donor wraps, which we readily accept. In just a few minutes, our sandwiches arrive and Hasan presents them on plates with napkins. We enjoy the visit including lunch and after an hour or so, we thank them and continue our walk back to the hotel. There's a new carpet shop in the village that we wanted to check out, 'Hali, Kilim Tamir Atolyesi'. This is a small shop that does repair work as well as sell a few carpets. We look at many very lovely pieces and talk about each of them until the young men we're dealing with discover we know more than the average tourist about carpets. We look through most all of the carpets/kilims they have to offer and put two pieces aside for tomorrow. We need time to think about a purchase and they try to get me to decide right now. I tell them it's no use; should I really want them, I'll return for sure tomorrow.

We continue our walk toward the hotel; Carol suggests we take a side street across the lower part of the hill where our hotel sits to avoid walking the steep drive on this side of the hill. We come out on the street that runs just below our hotel. We climb the hill and then the stairs to our room. We make a rest stop and then Carol collects her crocheting and we go sit out on the upper terrace to enjoy the rest of the day.

I look out across the village from this height and see a massive collection of ancient and modern architecture, as well as cave dwellings. This part of Goreme is surrounded by hillsides as if enclosed in a box canyon. Many roofs stretched out across the landscape are covered in vegetation and numerous daily projects. One roof has twelve pans of tomato sauce drying to become tomato paste; another roof has two tarps covered in grapes drying to become raisins. This is the same procedure they use for drying apricots we buy in the local stores back home that say: 'Product of Turkey'. Other roofs are circled with containers of plants; I see tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and numerous herbs.

In the street below us are children with bicycles and little tri-wheel rides; they are climbing the hill and riding down the street yelling as they race faster and faster; oh to be that young again! The whole time the kids are racing up and down the street, cars, tractors and vans are also traveling up and down. Everyone watches out for the children and the children simply appear oblivious to everything but their pleasure rides.


As night falls all around us the streets in the village become far more evident to us. The vehicles traveling through the village illuminate the streets we're unable to distinguish during the day. One street we discover as it darkens is one directly across in front of us, it appears to cut through the center of one building as the headlight of the vehicles dance off the walls. On the hilltop across the valley to our left, we begin to see vehicles coming straight toward the rim and then turning away as they follow it for a time and then fade away. There's also one road down off the rim where we watch headlights fall away and then turn first right then left as they traverse the curved pavement into the village below us. It's fascinating as it gets far darker and we see more and more traffic coming and going through this collection of buildings laid out across the valley.

Don and Jill have not returned from a hike through Pigeon Valley and Carol decides we need to phone them to be sure they are OK. They went with Julie and Jane for what they were assured was an hour or two but it's well past dark and hiking in the dark has to be a challenge. Carol phones and we learn they have just returned to Julie and Jane's hotel; all is well. In another thirty minutes, our friends join us and we all sit out here under the stars to have a glass of wine and talk of our discoveries. The evening marches quickly away and we retire for the night.

The sun bursts into my room and wakes me; all the walking yesterday allowed me a good nights rest. I rise, dress and go out to meet the day before anyone else. The sun is well over the horizon this morning and the activity below is in full swing. There's a gentleman just below me, he has emerged from one of the courtyard gates, and he goes to the fountain. He's not carrying anything to collect water but before I get a second thought he's splashing water on his face and over his head; I cringe as he continues to splash, that water has to be very cold! Another guy was walking by but is gone down behind the buildings now. There's a gate opening on the street immediately below, a little girl is coming up a set of steps and out into the daylight. She stands in the street now looking toward the sky; she begins shouting for her mother to come out. When her mother emerges, the girl points at the sky all excited about the balloon directly overhead.

OH, here comes the guy I saw earlier; he's carrying fresh bread! I can't wait for mine that should be coming shortly with our breakfast. As I look up I notice that just across the rooftops to my left a balloon is landing. I've not seen this before and take note of how it's descending. The pilot sits it down now and from this perch where I sit, it appears to be very gently done. I hope those riding in it today feel the same. As I watch the canopy deflate, it takes ten or fifteen minutes before it actually begins to fall toward the ground. Then, one more balloon has landed near by and is deflating; it appears to be falling faster than the first. As many times, as we've been visiting here I've never seen this before. I continue to watch until both balloons are fully flat to the ground.

Don and Jill have now joined us and breakfast is served. We eat and prepare to depart. Before we leave Goreme, Jill wants us to see her friend's home up the hill a little bit; she phones and we head for the meeting and tour. We're meeting with Sinan Aydinoglu who owns 'Goreme Suites - 4 special suites'. Sinan's suites are nothing short of fabulous! The view from each suite is of Uchisar; the rooms are extremely well appointed and very spacious. The whole home is available for rent or rooms can be leased individually. After a few minutes of tour, we thank Sinan for his gracious hospitality and leave.

Before we leave Goreme, I ask Don to stop at the carpet shop Carol and I visited yesterday afternoon. I ask the young man we spoke to yesterday to get the two carpets back out into the sun this morning. Carol and I walk around them once more and decide they must return home with us; we buy them now. While they are being packed up for us, I return to the van and bring out the Kemaliye I had repaired by Murat's repair person. My intent was to get their impression of the piece since it's old and they seem to know older pieces. I drop the piece on the sidewalk and instantly the older repairman says, 'Murat from Urgup'. This gentleman who is currently repairing a carpet in his lap has performed the repair on our carpet; we're stunned and impressed at the same time. Carol immediately decides we need a photograph of the gentleman holding our carpet. After fifteen or twenty minutes, we're again under way headed out of Goreme.

We head out over the hills and up through Uchisar on our way to the closest service station for petrol. After a short stop there, we head off for Nevsehir and then toward Nigde. We decide due to road construction near Nigde to take a longer route back to Adana. Don and Jill have not done the long way back and we direct them to the proper turns and get us on the right road. Some have said this road was not completely finished but it's fully done and well done. We travel for an hour and a half in perfect weather with very little traffic to contend with. Both Don and Jill find the countryside out here photogenic; we stop a number of times to capture the landscape on digital camera.

Jill says, wait, there was a sign for a restaurant back there. We turn around in the road and in just a moment see the sign and turn down this narrow side lane. We're driving through apple orchards and the trees are fully burdened with fruit. The apples are probably a couple weeks away from full maturity but the abundance of them is obvious as we drive through more and more orchards. The road turns first one way then the other as we look for the restaurant or more signs pointing us in the right direction. We've dropped further below the main road and drive into a vastly greener environment where streams run with crystal clear water.

There it is, the sign pointing out a right turn to 'Ecemis Alabalik Restaurant'. This is now a one-lane tractor path falling toward the creek. As we break over the last rise, we're confronted by a large building surrounded by concrete tanks filled with fish. There's a large fish hatchery here along this creek and the restaurant is also set on the creek bank. We park on one side of the creek and walk over a small bridge to the restaurant. We select a table at creek side; the water is not deep but flows freely and is clear as glass. We learn the menu is fish, there is nothing here but FISH. I don't eat fresh water fish but the others all have a filet and I eat two plates of magnificent salad. Three of us have ayran too. Many times, we've been told to forgo ayran if we're eating fish but our hosts make no mention of this and we have no ill effects. My friends tell me the fish is excellent. Carol has me try some; it tastes like fish to me! I simply choose to pass.

This is one of the most beautiful settings for a restaurant; weeping willow trees surround us, the creek runs gently below our table settings and the shear rook face of an extraordinary mountain rises far above us behind the restaurant building. Words can barely due justice to the immense beauty we find ourselves encased in. We linger here for about an hour. I go inside while Don and Jill take photos and pay our bill, 20 Lira for three plates of fish and the two large salads. We cross the bridge and load into the van to continue our trip home, driving along the foot of the mountain. I've dubbed this side trip, Jill's detour; we're all very pleased we've gotten off the main road and up next to this majestic mountain. Photo opportunities continue to present themselves and we take one shot after another.

It isn't long and we come into this small village Demirkazik and next to the road we find this two-story log home; on the sign it says, 'Sobek Travel, The Leader of Adventure'. Unfortunately it's not open today; we continue on. Carol and I discover as we make the next turn in this village that we've been here before but turned around in the village center and went back the way we had come, thinking there was nothing more to be seen further down the road. Had we only known then what we know today!

We continue to meander towards Pozanti and stop again at a ski resort area and the Safak Pansiyon. It's run by a retired Turkish elementary school teacher and his family. His English is flawless; he happily shows us several of the rooms and talks about the two and four-day hiking tours he guides through these magnificent mountains. The ski area is actually on the other side of the mountains we see directly in front of us from the pansiyon's porches. I have to have a photo here!
Sadly, we come to the end of our mountain road and hit the freeway to Adana. That concludes another excellent weekend trip. We've all had a grand time and the new sights and discoveries continue to add to our appreciation of this awesome country.




Fred┬┤s Farewell
A Day Trip in January
Drive to Roman Ruins
An Autumn Drive
Cappadocia - Once Again
A Trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale
Fred┬┤s Tarsus
Northern Cyprus Over Thanksgiving
Cilician Drive
Kocatepe Mosque - Ankara
A Visit to An─▒tkabir
Fred┬┤s Weekend in Ankara
A Day in Anavarza
Driving in the Heartland
Spontaneity by Fred
A Trip to So─čanl─▒ and G├╝l┼čehir
An Antakya Weekend
A Weekend Around Adana
A Rainsoaked Adventure
A Mediterranean Adventure
Fred's Bor Adventure
Fred's Weekend Escape to Ihlara
Fred's Lecture on Carpet
Fred's Weekend Away
Uzuncaburc with Fred
Museums of Cappadocia
G├Âreme - A Different Way
Night Train to Ankara
Cave Home Tour
A Trip to Kayseri - ├ľzkonak
Kastabala in August
A Bittersweet Adventure
Silifke, Anamur and more
Around Adana
Catalhoyuk & Aksehir Adventures
Nigde Exploration
Cappadocia Again
Kahramanmara┼č Again
A Trip to Kayseri - Sultanhani
A Morning Walk
Sunday Lunch Overlooking the Lake
Fred's Kahramanmaras
Holiday Drive to Mersin
A Sunday Drive to Yumurtalik
Fred's Tarsus
Fred's Cappadocia
Botas Seaside Drive
Fred's Konya Museums
A Bus Tour to Antakya
A Walk with Cuddle
Ankara Again
Gaziantep Museum by Fred
Moores' Anniversary Weekend
Shopping in Sanliurfa
The Seaside at Karata┼č
This is Ankara
Tour to Gaziantep-Harran
Trip to Konya
Birsen's Horizons
Fred's Trip Logs
Bahar's Views on...
Business World
From Members' Pen
Interviews with Members
Moms & Kids Corner
Pets with Dr. Demirel
The archives of The Guide
The Archives of Turkishtime
Teen's world

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Fred's Trip Logs
Fred┤s Farewell
A Day Trip in January
Drive to Roman Ruins
An Autumn Drive
Cappadocia - Once Again
A Trip to Ephesus and Pamukkale
Fred┤s Tarsus
Northern Cyprus Over Thanksgiving
Cilician Drive
Kocatepe Mosque - Ankara
A Visit to Anřtkabir
Fred┤s Weekend in Ankara
A Day in Anavarza
Driving in the Heartland
Spontaneity by Fred
A Trip to So­anlř and GŘl■ehir
An Antakya Weekend
A Weekend Around Adana
A Rainsoaked Adventure
A Mediterranean Adventure
Fred's Bor Adventure
Fred's Weekend Escape to Ihlara
Fred's Lecture on Carpet
Fred's Weekend Away
Uzuncaburc with Fred
Museums of Cappadocia
G÷reme - A Different Way
Night Train to Ankara
Cave Home Tour
A Trip to Kayseri - Ízkonak
Kastabala in August
A Bittersweet Adventure
Silifke, Anamur and more
Around Adana
Catalhoyuk & Aksehir Adventures
Nigde Exploration
Cappadocia Again
Kahramanmara■ Again
A Trip to Kayseri - Sultanhani
A Morning Walk
Sunday Lunch Overlooking the Lake
Fred's Kahramanmaras
Holiday Drive to Mersin
A Sunday Drive to Yumurtalik
Fred's Tarsus
Fred's Cappadocia
Botas Seaside Drive
Fred's Konya Museums
A Bus Tour to Antakya
A Walk with Cuddle
Ankara Again
Gaziantep Museum by Fred
Moores' Anniversary Weekend
Shopping in Sanliurfa
The Seaside at Karata■
This is Ankara
Tour to Gaziantep-Harran
Trip to Konya

Focus On
Birsen's Horizons
Fred's Trip Logs
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Teen's world




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