Thursday, January 8, 2015

Turkey Vacation - day 2: "Green Tour" in Cappadocia

Here is the Nomad Cave hostel that we stayed at for 4 nights in Goreme. Here was our 1st encounter with the amazing friendliness that we experienced over and over in Turkey! The owner of this hostel was almost overwhelmingly friendly and hospitable! He booked all of our tours with other companies at discounted prices, he actually drove us to a traditional Turkish dance/dinner and waited for us in the lobby (for about 3 hours) and drove us back, he always offered his tea (cinnamon tea w/honey off the comb!) and mulled wine, he sat and talked with us every evening about our day and if we needed help planning for the next day, he even offered free traditional Turkish breakfast every morning! He is a great man! 

This is where everyone in the hostel hangs out...super chill and mellow...perfect after exploring for the whole day to come back to this to relax.

Here is the traditional Turkish breakfast spread that we had the privilege of enjoying every morning! My favorite was the fresh tomatos and cucumbers with amazing feta cheese! Also, to have fresh oranges after not having them since leaving the States was a real treat!

After breakfast we were picked up at the hostel to go on the "Green Tour" which included an underground city, a hike through a beautiful valley with cave churches, a tea break in the middle of the woods and stream in cute little tea huts sitting over the water, a traditional Turkish lunch, a hike through a cathedral in the cliffs, Pigeon Valley, and a stop to eat & drink free samplings of Turkish Delight and tea!

Rosemary, Christine, and me trying to look funny, but in reality looking a little evil, squished in one of the many doorways to rooms in the underground city. The story goes that Christians built these underground cities to hide from being persecuted for their faith. They still haven't found all of the underground cities, but while we were there, the owner of the hostel said they found the biggest one yet! He said it had been all over the news while we were on our tour! 

So begins our hike through the valley!

Meet Squampous, my roaming gnome bear. I won him during PST when we played a game where we had to guess, in Romanian, what things were in our language instructor's box. After many questions, i finally guessed "urs" meaning "bear" and this is who i won! What better thing to do with him than have adventures with him! And what better place to start our adventures together than in Turkey!

Climbing down all those stairs led us to this church in a cave...pretty cool!

I think that's Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on the donkey going to Bethlehem.

After visiting the cave church, we hiked next to a was so refreshing!

At our halfway point there was a place in the middle of nowhere serving fresh-squeezed orange juice and Turkish, sage, and apple tea that we enjoyed while sitting in these little tea huts over the stream. It was magical!

Christine's waiting for our fresh-squeezed orange juices...o citrus, how i've missed you!

Our view from our little tea adorable!

Fresh-squeezed orange juice served in no other than a Coca-Cola glass sitting next to my delicious sage tea.

Squampous needed to get in on this...

Gorgeous views during our hike.

The end of our hike took us to our traditional Turkish lunch. I had trout that had been fished out of the stream we had been walking next to. It wasn't the greatest, but definitely has potential. We all had apple tea for the 1st time too, which tasted like hot apple juice, which i thought was pretty good.

Next stop on the "Green Tour"

And next stop: Pigeon Valley. The people who used to live here raised pigeons and used them for EVERYTHING! From food, to using their droppings as fertilizer and paint, to using their bones as sewing needles! 

Last stop: samples of Turkish Delight and other various goodies!

After our tour was over we met the owner of a rug store who invited us in for Turkish Raki, tea, snacks, and chats. He asked us if we wanted "Tourist Tea" which is the Apple tea that everyone offers to all the tourists...kinda funny. So of course we obliged...only after having Raki and halva 1st!
It was a great end to a spectacular day!

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