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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....

Fred's Cappadocia

´╗┐

by Fred Moore, October 2005

Once again we're on the road for a beloved adventure. Our destination this trip is Cappadocia; it's an area of Turkey with great tourist allure. We have not been there in well over twelve years. We're traveling again with our friends Jim and Chelly to get away for our extended weekend. We leave Adana at 7:30 in the morning for the climb out of the heat and humidity into the cool Taurus Mountains. We make our way to the autobahn and head for Pozanti, the final exit on that highway. It's a beautiful day and as I'm not driving; it's a wonderful ride.

The drive into the mountains is always a beautiful reward and today is no exception. It's fall and the air is cool and fairly clear. No matter how often we're able to get this view it never tires the eye; there's something about the mountains that give me extra energy and immense visual pleasure. The awesomeness of creation up here is far more profound a setting as opposed to the flat of our everyday existence. It's right at two hours into our travels when we pull off the autobahn into Pozanti.

We make our way to one of the many bus stops built into the foot of the mountain and we get out to stretch our legs and breathe some truly quality air. We also purchase a couple simit for our breakfast. We've brought along a number of things to eat as we travel but there's never a time to pass up a fresh simit; these are especially good this morning. In no time, we're back to the highway headed north. Jim is taking us a completely new route over the mountains (we've not gone this way before), making this truly a new adventure. We turn off the main highway onto a two-lane road; it snakes and climbs the mountain rapidly at the beginning but becomes gracefully curving and hilly as we crest the initial incline. Atop the crest is the village of Findikli; findik is Turkish for hazelnut, there may be some here but I really can't say. The countryside becomes spotted with vacation houses, both individual and those in gated communities. We're traveling through some of the most beautiful rolling hills between two mountain ranges. We have climbed to more than 5,000 feet since leaving our homes as indicated by a road sign we've just passed. The air is a bit hazy as it clings to the mountain faces, making a photograph difficult but our naked eye view is still breathtaking. Fall is evident across the landscape with trees of yellow gold and shrubs of red jutting from the hillsides.

We come next to the village of Kamisli and it clings to the hills on both sides of the roadway. It's nearly 10:30 in the morning and the whole of the village is going about the day's activity. We ease over a hill and fall gently into this community center curving the whole way, first this way than that, until once again we begin our ascent out the other side. Many of the village's businesses creep onto the very edge of the road; one building in particular on a gentle curve abuts the asphalt slowing traffic as we make the turn. Homes to our left climb the hillside and those to our right descend into the valley below. It seems to me anyone living here should live to be very old because exercise has to be their way of life!

Not far out of this village we begin to encounter new home construction on both sides of the road; they appear to be condos, gated communities, summer homes for those who live at sea level. I imagine a number of families prefer mountain living in the summer as the heat rises so much at sea level. These mountainside homes look very inviting, single family homes terraced up one hillside and down the other. These developments could be anywhere in the world; they look very upscale and very modern--they are NOT your typical Turkish village dwellings. I could be easily enticed to buy one for a summer home; the view from the balcony of each has to be a breath-taking panorama of these beautiful ridges. All of the homes face the mountain NOT the road we're traveling on. The streets laid out within these communities could become a serious challenge during winter weather though.

Now we're joined on both sides of the road by a wandering stream and rows of ramrod straight poplar trees. The yellow-gold color of their leaves adds a flare to the valley floor as it stretches out for many kilometers ahead of us. There are a good number of grapevines up here and we are beginning to see vast stands of apple trees, many so laden with fruit their branches bend with fatigue. A number of these orchards are alive with activity as well; workers are out reaping the harvest. There's a young lady pushing a wheelbarrow over-stacked with crates for the apples and her little brother runs along next to her. We see stack after stack of crates awaiting their fill. There are donkeys being led and ridden along the road laden with large bundles of bags and others with crates roped in place as they head for the orchards. Next we see two women tending their cows along the road; one has an ass in tow the other is astride her animal. They appear to be lost in conversation as we pass. On occasion there are stands of fruit for sale but we're not buying now; we'll be back through in a few days on our way home and we'll stop for some then. We see a number of men standing in the trees perched precariously with one foot on this branch and one foot on another, reaching the length of their body to harvest that last apple, ever stretching to reach that one just inches beyond their finger tips. There are red apples of every shade you can imagine across the spectrum and yellow to gold as well. These orchards are ablaze with color.

Now we're entering Yelatan, a village not even on our map. There are apple trees lining the hills both to our right and our left. The village comes and goes just that quickly. The apple trees seem endless as we drive on through this amazing landscape. We've driven a good distance now and we come to Camardi, a larger community than those we've come through thus far. We enter the village and begin to descend into it as the road takes a good dip. We drive through a fairly significant commercial area and then begin our ascent out the other side. We nearly escape the village but wait, there's a shepherd in the road, he's bringing his flock across our path; first there are just a few sheep then a very large flock materializes with a few goats toward the end, followed closely behind by one more shepherd. As we have to stop, I slide open the van door and point the camera at the flock for a photo. With the door open, we begin to hear the tinkle of bells; I study the flock looking for the source of the cacophony. I finally spot one of the sheep with the tiniest bell hanging around his neck and assume many others have the same. The sound in this mountain setting adds enchantment to our delay. With the flock now moving away, I close the door and we get on with our drive.

The streams have merged to become one and are now closer to the road; its water is extremely clear and sparkling as we drive alongside it. We continue following the stream and come upon a directional sign indicting we are very near Aladaglar Milli Parki, a national park if you will. The sign reads just 4 kilometers down this side road; we're in no real rush and decide to take the cut off. This road is paved but quite narrow and takes us out through the fields toward the village of Demirkazik.

There are more and more beautiful orchards of apples out this way and we are very tempted to reach out for some as we pass, but quickly restrain our urges. Once we've entered the village it becomes apparent we've made a less than sound judgment; the street is extremely narrow and our goal is further on down an unimproved road surface. Jim decides to make a turn around and we return in the direction from which we had come. As we're turning around we notice many folks in the village have lined the stone wall beside us with cow dung they've collected from the fields; it has been set atop this wall to dry so it can be burned as fuel this coming winter. Several men crouching at the side of the road motion for us to continue toward the original goal but we simply wave and move off in our return direction. On our return trip to the main highway I can't help but notice the apple trees lining the road; they seem so much more fully burdened with fruit as we view them from this perspective. It must have something to do with the way the sun now dances off the apples; the red just seems so much more brilliant. Once back on the main highway, we continue to our assigned destination. Twenty more minutes brings us to Aktas and then Buldurus. The hillsides we're currently passing reflect the ages with etched pathways cut by centuries of sheep and goat hooves as the animals have grazed this landscape. The stream has faded well beyond our view now and the orchards have given way to fields of grain stubble and potatoes awaiting harvest. The road ahead of us now literally weaves through these rolling hills; it is truly funny to see such a wavy ribbon of asphalt. Our next village is Elmali--small and set away from the highway, Elma is Turkish for apple. Then there's Yaphisar and Ovacik, two villages in quick succession. Potatoes are now the harvest in progress; field after field of them await the plow. We see men stringing irrigation pipe through the fields in order to prepare the soil for the plow. I'm told the water loosens the soil and makes the digging easier.

We've left the mountains well behind us now and have moved out onto the central plains. We're on a two-lane road with plenty of potential to become a four-lane divided highway; our asphalt road surface is between two new construction foundations being prepared for new highway. Imagine this two-lane striped asphalt with two-lane gravel shoulders to each side of it. On the outer-most edge of both sides of the gravel roadbed is what appears to be truckload after truckload of white stone. I'm not sure what it is, marble chips or gypsum (it has a distinct sparkle), but it goes on kilometer after kilometer. We drive this highway for nearly an hour and the white stone is there; some has obviously been there a good while too because it has weed growth in it. It's very obvious our highway is to become a four-lane in some distant future road plan.

Our next community sign comes into view and we're in Derinkuyu, the location for one of the more visited underground cities. It's reported to have 10,000 rooms! The underground cities were all used by the Christians of the seventh century, who were fleeing persecution. They sheltered from invasions in these safe and well-hidden underground passages. These are self-sufficient living environments that include rooms for grain storage, animal stables, sleeping quarters, kitchens and of course, numerous airshafts. In just a short distance further we enter Kaymakli (Kaymak is Turkish for cream) also a site of an underground city. These passages and rooms honeycomb the entire area below us; again we're told in the literature that passageways connect all of these underground living quarters. In times gone by masses of humanity lived in these dwellings carved from the volcanic tuft hillsides as well as underground. These were literally human anthills; you can visit both those above and below the ground. The underground homes and passages descend into the earth some 12 to 15 levels! Many years ago we visited and traversed the underground passages descending to the seventh level below ground and I decided that was plenty deep enough. I'll never forget our tour guide, as we descended deeper into the ground, telling us to 'fold-up, fold-up now' as the passages became shorter and narrower (what he meant of course was, bend over so we could get through more easily). The underground city is no place to visit for anyone who is claustrophobic.

A little further now and we're in Nevshihir a rather large community that has been in existence since the Hittites occupied this land 2,000 years ago. This city is the largest in this region. It's only minutes now and we arrive at our destination in Goreme; it's a small community centrally located within the confines of the Cappadocia landscape. Cappadocia was a Christian enclave centuries ago and the landscape was created from volcanic eruptions eons ago. You will find this part of Turkey mentioned in the New Testament in Acts 2 and in 1st Peter 1. We've been driving in Cappadocia for the last hour really; our literature tells us there are as many as 3,500 churches in this area carved from these volcanic tuft formations. Many of the churches are decorated with intricate frescos of saints and other Christian symbols. Cities of some renown within the Cappadocia area are: Goreme, Urgup, Avanos, Derinkuyu, Nevsihir, and Uchisar. There are a number of other small villages in and around the area. There are also so many pansions, motels and hotels in this area; it seems hard to believe anyone could have difficulty finding any accommodations. Keep in mind though, we are visiting right now during the off-season; it's plenty late in the year for major tour groups to be coming here. This is actually the beginning of the winter season and we find it quite chilly as compared to our home in Adana.

With our arrival in Goreme, Jim and Chelly have a place to stay already in mind and we check for availability at the 'Walnut House', it has only one room, so we move on. We go next to 'Ottoman House' just across a stream from where we are, it's a very lovely two-story building in the town center. The building has the fa├žade of a large hotel but it's a small two-story structure and quite simple. This one has plenty of room, so we have our place to stay. There's parking for four cars to the left of the entrance steps as well as plenty of parking available along the street in front of the building and grounds. Across the walk and opposite from us is a yard full of roses. Jim parks in an empty slot in front of the building. We get out and make our way up the front walk; we ascend half dozen steps to the door and we enter the well-appointed lobby. To our left is the counter and desk clerk-in area, to the right a very large seating area, reminisant of any large hotel lobby. The floor is a lovely off white marble tastefully accented by Turkish carpets. Jim and I do the perfunctory paperwork to check-in, we get our keys and with Carol and Chelly, we all head for our rooms. Jim and Chelly get room 106, we get 104; seems too funny; why not rooms 6 and 4, there certainly aren't 100 rooms here; there may be 15 or twenty.

Both rooms are just behind the reception/lobby area. The hotel's main staircase is in the center of the building set back from and between the check-in counter and the lobby. There are a few steps to a landing at the foot of the staircase and they're also adorned with a very lovely Turkish carpet, probably from the Avanos area. We ascend those few steps in order to get to our rooms, which are around behind the staircase. Our room is off toward the right in the back corner of the building. I insert the key and unlock the door to the room. We step inside; it's very austere with two twin beds, one on each side of the room. There's a vanity table with mirror immediately to our right in the corner just passed and outside the bathroom door. Each bed is covered with a salmon color Turkish satin hand-quilted comforter. The sheets at the top exposed edged are accented with fine lace, as are the bottom edges of the bed's dust ruffle. Both beds appear caved-in, but I recline on one and find it quite comfortable. The curtains and vanity stool covering are done in a patterned turquoise and salmon design that compliments the bed quilt's coloring. To our left mounted to the wall is a panel, maybe a meter wide and a meter and a half high with four double headed hooks; our clothes will go there as the room has no closet. There is a board that extends the complete circumference of the room at about knee height, dividing the room top from bottom. All of the electrical is apparently running behind this wood accent board because the light switches are all mounted into it so they are knee high as well; gives the impression the room is designed with a midget in mind, Ha-Ha. Over each bed is a window flooding the room with immense light; the room appears extremely clean and feels very inviting. Outside our windows is a small yard and not far across it is a stonewall that begins a terrace up the hillside beyond. The next level is also yard but the level above that is a street and across the street are homes, so from our window we have to look up a good distance to see the hilltop and the sky above.

Across the head of the room underneath the windows is a wood enclosure for the radiator and sitting in front of each window on this cabinet like enclosure are two small lamps, one at the head of each bed. Between the beds on the floor is a small coffee table stand stretching from one bedside to the other with a phone sitting on it. All of the wood in the room is natural color and it makes for a very pleasant accent for the white walls and ceiling. The vanity table with mirror is constructed of the same wood that adorns the walls and some creative craftsman has incorporated a light fixture into the upper frame above the mirror, so that it floods light onto the tabletop; it's very tastefully constructed. Our bathroom is fully titled, floor to ceiling and fairly small. You walk into it just past the vanity; the commode and shower (about the size of a phone booth (no, I'm not kidding-it's that small) are to the left, one aside the other, in very close quarters. Straight ahead is the pedestal sink with mirror just over it. The sink has your standard two-knob faucet but only one-knob produces any result; no hot water comes from it, however the shower does produce hot water, thank you. There's a small opaque window above the commode and shower; it's open and tilts inward toward us. Again, this room is very clean and it's plenty adequate for a weekend visit; I mean we simply sleep here, Ha-Ha.

After a quick survey of our room, I leave Carol there and return to the van for our two bags. The desk clerk has met us in the driveway but we really don't need his help with anything; we simply thank him, but carry our own bags. Once I'm back in the room, I hang the clothes that require hanging on the wall as I indicated we would and leave the other things we brought in the bags. Jim and Chelly have found us very lovely accommodation.

Once we've gotten things settled in the room we meet Jim and Chelly in the lobby. We've left this adventure in their very capable hands, as they've been here a number of times over the last several years. They tell us we're going to visit a carpet shop in Avanos in order to catch up with some friends staying there; we're never adverse to that plan, so off we go. We make a quick stop on our way though for photos of this amazing landscape. We also peruse a number of tourist shops along the road where we stop for pictures. We buy nothing but find many interesting things, all made to take one's money. I'm fascinated by the collection of brass and stone objects offered for sale; mostly because it just seems incredible that after twenty years the quarries around here still offer up enough stone to fill these shops. There are a great deal of items carved from a black stone; I'm told it's basalt, a volcanic rock from this area. We also see plenty of onyx items in multiple colors and forms, everything from vases to animals of all kinds.

Our stop is only a few minutes and we get back on the highway to Avanos. In no time we arrive in the city and begin to make our way to the designated carpet shop 'Galerie Yoruk'; half way through the city we cross over the Kizilirmak River. Jim and Chelly want to meet up with their friends (Robby, Donna, Linda and Ismet) here. The idea is to meet them here in the carpet shop, but when we arrive we find they've gone for haircuts. There is no set time to meet, so we decide based on the current time, we'll simply go to lunch and catch them afterward. Jim knows of a restaurant (the Bizim Ev) a few blocks away so we get back into the van and off we go. The restaurant is built in the style of the local geography and we enter through a courtyard and through a tunnel like entry hall to climb a set of stairs through what seems to be a cave to the dining room. We have a traditional Turkish lunch and return to the carpet shop about an hour later. Our friends still aren't at the shop but they've been contacted and will be meeting us in a little while; in the mean time we look at carpets. There is one thing that we never tire of here in Turkey and that's looking at carpets! The shop is fairly large and their selection of pieces is vast; they include rugs from Turkey, Afghanistan, Iran and they have both carpets and kilims.

Our friends come in while we're looking at a number of kilims. We understand from the ensuing conversation that Donna and Linda are here to learn more about pottery techniques in one of the more famous pottery shops (Beikaya Seramik Atolyesi), which is a short walk just up this side street that fronts the shop. Erdogan's shop is quite small but he is responsible for many prominent pottery displays in this region; he creates many pottery murals of some renown; our lunch restaurant has one of his works embedded in their entry wall out front of the building. He has students from many nations under his tutelage. As we approach the shop he's out front with one of his pottery murals. There are introductions all around, as we admire the work at his door. He immediately invites us to see his workshop and other pieces he has in work; there is one laid out on a bench to our left, it must be three meters long! Linda invites us into his kiln room and shows us one of her creations, the robust likeness of a 'fertility goddess' that is awaiting firing. There are a number of pieces on a table waiting their turn in the oven. Donna has sculpted a very interesting head and she's in search of some rusty nails she can use as hair. Several of the other sculpted pieces are very comic in their design.

The afternoon has sped away and Jim wants to introduce us to another carpet shop in a nearby city. We thank the potter for his hospitality and say our goodbyes to our friends and get on the road to Urgup. On our way we stop at a couple of large pottery outlets to see what they offer; prices seem very high. The pottery comes in a vast array of designs and colors both natural clay and glazed. Our stops are of short duration; we buy nothing and get on with our trip across the region. Jim has brought us to 'Le Bazaar D'Orient', a very upscale carpet shop. We're introduced to Murat Bey one of the owners and he shows us some of his most beautiful pieces. I'm very taken with his custom design silk kilims; these pieces reflect a color and motif that is exceptional. Jim tells Murat that Carol and I have an eye for older carpets and he knows Murat has many so suggested we should see them. Murat is very pleased to show us what he has; he directs us to the rear of his shop and into his basement. I'm truly in awe as I descend the steps to go below where the older pieces are lining the walls. Many of the carpets unfurled before us are 75 to 100 years old; we're dazzled by the true craft displayed in these carpet treasures. Murat has some of the most beautiful Turkish carpets we've seen in over twenty years of study. We're immersed in this treasure trove of carpets for well over an hour before we finally succumb to visual overdose and have to bid him goodbye. I personally thank Murat for his time with us and tell him how honored we are to see such treasures. He is obviously delighted with our enthusiasm as he smiles and tries to show us more.

We leave the shop with Jim suggesting we take a look through some nearby antique stores. We look at wood doors from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods; we look at antique silver pieces and pocket watches of similar vintage. We walk through at least four shops of ancient Turkish relics. There are a number of things that might have been tempting had we chosen to pay the price; but as always we really didn't need any of what we saw, although that rarely dissuades us. We pop in and out of three or four different shops without buying anything; this doesn't stop the shopkeepers from encouraging us to return.

Darkness has consumed our day by now and we opt to get back to our hotel, so we bid farewell and return to Goreme. Once we're back to the hotel, we collectively decide to walk down the street for dinner. On the corner at the end of our street is a small caf├ę; I believe the name is 'One Way'. We have a very nice casual dinner and talk endlessly about our day. After dinner we walk through a number of the little shops in the area. Jim and I leave the ladies to browse the clothing/souvenir shops and we walk to the nearby 'Rose' carpet shop. Jim has a message to deliver to Hasan, the owner, from a friend and frequent customer in Adana. Again, I am shown some very fine carpets from the area; all are very enticing, but I leave with nothing.

It's getting late and the ladies have come so we return to our hotel and retire for the night. Turkey is currently observing Ramazan, meaning this is the month of fasting and religious reflection; there is no eating or smoking allowed between sun-up and sundown. During this time one of the traditions is to have a drummer walk through the neighborhoods at a given hour before sun-up to wake everyone so they can eat before their day begins; our drummer makes his appearance in the area at about 2:30 am and performs his prescribed 'rat-a-tat-tat'! I don't remember that happening so early in the morning, I'm of the impression it was only to be an hour before sun-up, but I guess that must be incorrect.

It's very cool this morning, not like Adana at all; there is great potential for snow here a little later in the month. We arranged last night before we retired to meet Jim and Chelly for breakfast at eight. Our room rate includes a breakfast buffet; this is generally a very well presented supply of fresh fruits, breads, vegetables, coffee/tea and condiments. The offering this morning is no exception. We're joined by other friends visiting from Adana this morning and enjoy a very leisurely breakfast filled with lively conversation. It must be an hour and a half before we finally retreat to our rooms to collect our coats and begin the day's adventure. It's decided at breakfast (actually confirmed from yesterday afternoon) that we would begin our day at the Ministry of Tourism craft shop at the entry to the Goreme Open Air Museum. The shop is a short drive from our hotel and has a plethora of native Turkish craft items for sale. It's a large well-stocked shop and we spend 30 minutes looking at pottery, leather, silver, fabric items and things made of wood. Carol and I purchase a very lovely piece of grazed pottery, an abstract design in aqua blue. It looks a little like a fat sailboat or a stylized bird head with beak, depending on the point of view you take. Chelly bought a wood box and a combination kilim/leather purse. Many things here are tempting and the government sets the prices; this is not a shop to miss. Note too, there's a Turkish Post Office here so you can mail your tourist postcards right on the premises.

We get back to the van and get on with our day. Chelly suggests we visit 'the caveman', one of the volcanic tuft carved homes in Uchisar. There's a large parking area at the foot of the hill where this home attraction is located and we park the van. We take a short pathway up the hillside, through a number of tourist booths. We avoid buying anything as we ascend the hill, even though a number of vendors are very persistent. One vendor simply won't take no for an answer and hands Carol a bag with two pieces of tourist ware for free. At the foot of the 'caveman' house is a tea garden with a number of tables and benches; on the ground level the carved facility includes a jewelry shop where his family sells their crafts. We all spend some time in the shop and both Carol and Chelly buy a few pieces of gem-set silver. The walls are totally covered in items on display boards and all are quite lovely.

The shop is very small and other shoppers enter cramping the space so I slip outside with Jim and we go sit under a tree at one of the available tables. The owner has offered us a glass of local grape juice; it's bold burgundy color and quite good. After a few minutes the ladies join us and we begin talking about where we want to go next. Our discussion is interrupted by a mother cat running past our table with a mouse in her mouth, followed closely by two cute black and white kittens. You have to picture this; the cave house is a conical structure maybe thirty or thirty-five feet tall, right in front of us is the wooden staircase to its entrance. This place was occupied by the gentleman were buying jewelry from up until just a year or so ago. His wife finally decided they had to get out of the place because the stairs were getting to be far too much to climb with advancing age. The stairs are wood; they ascend very sharply to the cave entry door and you must bend over to get inside. Now, back to the mother cat with the mouse; she runs up this very steep set of stairs with her two kittens in hot pursuit. One of the kittens gets more than half way up the stairs and looses his footing; he flips over backward and bounces one step after another to the ground! The little thing shakes it off and races up the stairs once more, but two thirds of the way up this time, it appears to have felt the effects of the fall and trips again but this time holds its ground and makes the full set to the door.

With that excitement past, we decide to get back down the hillside where we pause to look through some of the tourist shops. Carol and Chelly have their eye on some very lovely hand-crocheted doilies. Several ladies in traditional dress have their handicrafts out for purchase; Carol buys several pieces after a short negotiation. There are a number of kiosks lining the parking area and the opposite end from where Carol purchased, Chelly buys some for herself. Jim and I simply walk along looking into first one and then the next, we buy nothing. Our shopping spree is short lived and we get back on the road to the upper levels of Uchisar. There are more tourist shop up here and I follow Jim into first one then another. I'm very impressed with 'Tapis De Cappadoce', Sahdettin has tastefully decorated his shop and hanging outside the main door I spot a kilim that needs more attention. I ask the cost and origin of the piece and offer my own best price; with some labored deliberation Sahdettin excepts my offer and I have yet another beautiful purchase. Our time is limited so I wrap up my business deal and we get back on the highway to return to Urgup for a late lunch. Because it's Ramazan we have to be very selective about where we eat; many places are simply not open during the day since it's fasting time. Jim's idea was a good one; lunch was great. Afterward we go next door to 'Sultan Mehmet' a shop filled with many great gift ideas. I buy a coffee table book on Cappadocia, then Carol decides to by a mirror that is made with shutters on the face of it so it can be closed when not in use. Jim and Chelly buy a few things as well and we get back on the road for Avanos.

We return to the carpet shop rendezvous as before. Before we reach the shop, Ali meets and greets us in the street. Chelly explains she is on a quest for some statuary of the 'mother goddess' (a Hittite fertility symbol) and tells Ali she is planning to scout out a number of shops in the area for what she wants. While they're discussing her quest, a little Turkish gentleman happens by the carpet shop. We've seen this man before; he's the village Ramazan drummer. Yesterday while were visiting the pottery shop he was playing his drum for a group of children he was marching through the street. We were told that he is the evening drummer. Today we learn he's also the potter's raw material man; he's the guy who sifts and prepares material for many of the potters in town. Ali stops him in his tracks and asks him about the statuary Chelly is interested in finding, since he knows all the shops well. Chelly makes the quest somewhat easier for the guy because she has an example of what she wants; the guy takes it and says he will search out what Chelly wants. Before anyone can protest the guy disappears with the piece, only in Turkey!

Carol and I break from the group and head off down the street on our own; I have a ceramic title I've seen down the street that I would like to have. Jim and Chelly go into the carpet shop for refreshments and to see more carpets. As I said, you can never see too many carpets, even if you have no interest in purchasing carpets or kilims, it's like visiting an art gallery each time you see new pieces. Carol and I return to the shop in no more than fifteen minutes and the floor is covered in carpets from Afghanistan. There are many more thrown out for us to view and in no time our pottery searcher is back with three or four samples for Chelly's inspection. Chelly chooses one and decides she needs to accompany the little guy to the shop where he found it. Twenty minutes later Chelly is back with all the pieces she wants.

Jim says we need to get going because he wants us to see one more carpet shop before dark. We offer our thanks to Ali for his display of carpets and kilims; we even inquire the cost of a couple pieces hanging out front of the shop, we don't buy this visit. We're headed back to Goreme and just down the street from our hotel. Jim takes us into 'Indigo', a very posh carpet gallery. These folks show us some kilims of their own creation; they have even had their gallery name woven into the pieces. We're looking at wool on wool kilims with superior quality; the motif and color combination of each is very pleasing to the eye. As before, Jim talks about our interest in older more traditional carpets and the young man serving us directs us to the back corner of the store and a stairs to the basement. The basement is just as large as the showroom above and there are shelves against the wall all around the room. We're once more dazzled by the age and beauty of these fine carpets unfurled for our viewing pleasure. We're shown a few pieces that are so incredibly unique, they aren't even for sale. One in particular is an antique Kurdish piece. The foundation of the piece is hammered felt; it's a dirty white color and is painted as if it were a canvas. We've been in more carpet shop in twenty years than I can possibly tell you and we've never seen anything like what we're being show in this Kurdish piece. As is our custom, we thank the young man for his time and depart empty handed.

On the street outside Carol says it's too cool in the evening here and wants to step into 'Turquaz', the little shop next door. The young fellow who greets us, 'Mesut', like most shopkeepers is eager to help in any way he can. Carol indicates her need and he scrambles to find just the right shawl for her. The shop is small but has a number of different items: T-shirts, ceramic, tote bags, the wraps like Carol wants, tour books and post cards as well as a multitude of other things. On the floor to one side of the shop I notice four or five carpets; their color and design tell me right away where they were made. Carol is enticed as I am and she asks Mesut to open them for us. The color and sheen is simply beautiful; these rugs were not made yesterday! Mesut tells us they were made by his grandmother; I won't debate that because they certainly could been. I can't help but ask the price and when Mesut tells us, I'm quite shocked. It's extremely reasonable and very unusual for this area. Carol looks at me and I look at her and we agree to get the smaller of the two pieces. I pay him part of it as he folds it for us; I will pay the rest before we leave for home in the morning. Carol collects her other purchases and we leave.

We had made plans over breakfast to meet friends at the hotel this evening so we could do dinner together. We return to the hotel just up the street, collect our friend and walk to 'Alaturca' for dinner. This restaurant bills itself as 'Home of Anatolian Cuisine'; it's quite new, opening only in 2003. The building interior is well appointed in the traditional Ottoman style and the room where we're seated has an ultra modern plasma TV mounted on the wall. No question about it, the 21st century has arrived! The service is first rate and the food is even better. We enjoy a leisurely dinner and afterward decide the evening is young so we should visit one more carpet shop just down the walk from here.

In a few minutes walk we're in 'Tribal Collections', a very lovely shop with carpet racks tastefully placed around the large showroom. There are a great many pieces of antique wood objects on display here as well. We're introduced to Faruk who asks what we would like to see and before we can fully take in the shop's breath of inventory, carpets begin to hit the floor. As is the tradition, many different regions and countries carpets are opened for our consideration. The selection is vast and we are quickly overwhelmed by the array of rugs thrown one atop the other. I'm once again lost in thought of how many pieces I've seen over twenty years and how this shop can show me familiar regional pieces but with far different shades of color and motifs. One of the final pieces unfurled for us is similar to one I've seen only once before in over twenty years. It's so unusual that when it opens before us, the past comes flooding forward. Unfortunately except for the vivid memory of the carpet so many years ago, I can not remember where I saw it. This episode demonstrates what I continue to say, each carpet shop, whether next door or across the country, has just those few pieces no other shop can match. As always, our visit to the carpet has been fun and educational but it's late and we must retreat to our hotel.

It's a new day; our room has heat coming from the radiators so the air outside must be crisp. We collect our things and pack our bags for the trip home. We're a little over on time, Jim and Chelly must be at breakfast already, but wait, we've just lost power and breakfast is in the basement. No problem, we'll simply go and see how we make out. OK, it's perfectly fine, there are candles set across the buffet table and the narrow windows at the top of two walls give us more than enough light. The coffee was finished before the power went out and it's fine too. It's just the four of us this morning so we eat and get back to our rooms for the bags. We move our bags to the lobby then Jim and I checkout; our tab for the two nights is eighty dollars. The desk clerk is eager for us to return and tells me they will be upgrading each room over the coming months. I tell him he has a lovely hotel and when we return we'd be pleased to stay here again.

Jim and I get the bags out to the van and get them situated for the trip home. Carol and I have been talking about one of the other carpets we left at 'Turquaz' last evening and ask Jim to stop just down the street as we leave. Mesut meets us at the van as we pull up in front of his shop; I tell him we want to see one of his carpets one more time. Mesut brings the piece out and I help him unfold it on the front sidewalk. In the morning sun the carpet comes alive with color and I offer him a reduced price not remembering from yesterday afternoon what he had said. After going through so many pieces with so many different prices this weekend, I'd lost the price. Mesut refreshes my memory of the price and insists it is very reasonable already; I couldn't possibly want it for less. Carol and I collaborated through our eyes and we had the piece folded and put into the van; I pay for it and we we're off.

We followed the same route leaving as we did coming, but this is mid-morning as opposed to late afternoon when we arrived so we would get a different prospective on our return trip. The first hour is quite uneventful but as we got further into the countryside the more activity we encountered, this too is Monday as opposed to Saturday afternoon. We passed several fields of potatoes in various stages of harvest. Coming up on our right is one very close to the highway and many Turks were gather there to start the next row of digging. Jim pulls to the side of the road, Chelly and I get out for photos. There are men and women in the group and the driver of the tractor is just beginning to drag his machine up the furrow he is straddling. I'm not completely certain how this harvester functions but as it is pulled through the ground the potatoes began appearing on the surface of the disturbed furrow. There are already a hundred bags lined up down the length of the field just two furrows over from here. I would bet they are 100-pound plastic bags; we've seen thousands of them on this drive. One of the ladies in the group asked where we were from. We told her and she smiled and offered us a good day.

Further into the drive now, we come upon a truck moving in the wrong direction on the other side of the road. As we get closer it turns out there are a number of guys patching the road. One guy in the truck with a shovel throws out several shovels of asphalt patch and the guys on the road move it where it needs to go and move on. We meet four crews on this road as we continue our drive. It would seem patching crews are all the same; these fellas appear to be catching every other hole. This isn't the first time this road has been visited by these guys either; the edge of the road is pretty consistently a patch. We've gotten back into the apple orchards again now; there are also many poplar trees along the road right here and the leaves have filled the roadway. We're also following a small cargo truck and it is kicking up the leaves; autumn is dancing in our path, as the yellow gold poplar leaves are scattered to the four winds in front of us. In these orchards are piles of apples larger than the van under first one apple tree than another. It appears the apples are picked and brought to central locations to be crated.

Now we decide we need to stop at a stand and take some of these home with us. There are many stands operating but we look for a nice one and pull over. This stand has both red and yellow apples along with tomatoes and other fruit. We're greeted warmly by a lady in village dress, who is very eager to help us; she offered an apple for tasting. Chelly wants an entire flat after tasting this one and Carol buys a kilo of her own. While we're stopped, a car comes up from behind us and it turns out to be our other friends returning home. They pull over and join us at the stand. A young girl has also come down to the stand to help her mother. She's a very pretty young lady and Linda, who has just pulled off the road, runs to get her camera; she wants a photo of the young lady. As we talk with them we learn the girl's name is Neslihan and she's 14 years old. They want to give us their address (Carol has a small note pad) so we can send photos back to them; something we often do on our trips and the Turks love us for it.

With that great experience behind us we continue our trip home. Another thirty or forty minutes down the road we encounter a group of folks standing in the apple trees and Chelly asks Jim to stop so we can take a few more photos. These folks are down in the valley below the highway quite a bit, so the photos are taken down on them. One guy in a tree is posing with two apples in his hand, as he holds them out to us. There's no way any of us can get down to them; the roadside is far too steep. We tell them thanks and move on. In just a short drive we're in Pozanti and we stop at the bus stop for a late lunch. We're not long and get on the road for home, we arrive home in mid-afternoon; we've had a great time.




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
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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
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Teen's world




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