Sunday, April 4, 2010

Unforgettable Ankara, Part 2

"All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from
and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm
sure of that, and I intend to end up there."~Rumi

The day after we walked around the beautiful little area of Ulus, older Ankara, Barb, Louise, Vicky and myself took a tour of Cappadocia a very interesting and unique area of Turkey rich in its unusual landscapes, rock formations and history. It turned out to be a 17 hour day as it takes about four hours drive south of Ankara to reach the region. Above you can see dawn coming over the hills with the Turkish flag in the foreground.

I tried to capture the moon with my camera as we sped out of Ankara at 6am

I Loved the play of light over the land as the day began..

Our polite and knowledgeable driver Burhan, who hails from Güzelyurt, a small town in Cappadocia, drove us around the region, stopping at notable places that just took our breath away. It was such a thrill to get out of the big city and into the rural areas of Turkey, where people live a slower life, a very traditional life, a quieter life.

The roads were well maintained and easy to get around to the points that we sought. The benefit of having Burhan with us is that he knew all of the out of the way places and side roads that led to less frequented places.

Old and Young..look at the stories on each of these faces..

Mt. Erciyes, the highest peak in Cappadocia
at 3916 feet is seen in the distance

We arrived in the town of Güzelyurt, which means "Pretty Town" in Turkish and stopped to gave up at the dwellings that had been carved out of the cliffs so long ago. Many are not inhabited anymore but others boggled my mind and humbled me very much to see how simply life can be lived, we just have a habit of surrounding ourselves with too much...

I loved the splash of this woman's
intense blue shirt amongst the rocks and earthy tones

Behind this broken fence I could hear
the clucking of chicken and some goats

We stopped to take photographs of the views and buildings, and, while walking up a rather steep hill, I noticed a woman sweeping out in front of a small iron gate. She beckoned me forward with a big smile and I walked up the hill to try my best to interact with her in a way that we could both understand. I managed to ask her if she would mind if I took her photograph. She shyly agreed. She then beckoned me in Turkish to follow her into her home, which comprised three rooms that had been carved out of the side of a cliff. I was quite astonished and thrilled to see this small, tidy home that she had been whitewashed, neat as a pin, and even had a small pot with little herbs growing from it. It was an intense few minutes as I tried to thank her for allowing me into her home, as well as take in the simplicity of her life, try to imagine if I could do the same, and process all of these thoughts at once.
Such a kind face. Neither of us spoke the other's language but it didn't matter.

Yes, she lives here...she was all smiles and proudly showed me her small, tidy home.

Everything in its right place...

I loved how the light was catching this small plant.
Amidst so much stone, this bit of life shone out..

On we went in the van to some breathtaking landscapes that are not found anywhere else in the world...We took hundreds of photos, photos that never seem to capture the emotion and flavour of the places adequately....but it does convey its essence I think, to a degree. We stopped in an area known for its underground city...yes, the passageways descended down for a total of 8 stories. Sometimes you had to duck and almost crawl to get into the different rooms. There was lighting along the way that helped to keep people from bumping into one another but nonetheless it was certainly close quarters. I know all of this because these facts because they were told to me by Ambassador Bailey who had visited there, as well as an elderly gentleman who offered to guide us through the tunnels. I am a confirmed claustrophobe and thus did not go on the tour..but it sounded pretty amazing....

A lovely Turkish woman at one of the many vendors we passed

This Turkish gentleman spoke perfect english and we chatted with him for a good while.

We moved on from the underground city where we grabbed a bite to eat to some amazing cave dwellings. I think we must have covered several hundred kilometres that day...we didn't return back to the residence until 10:30 at night... a long day but so unforgettable...I will blog more about this amazing day in Cappadocia soon...stay tuned!!

"The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time."~Jack London

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