December 30, 2014

Rocks and Caves--Cappadocia, Turkey Part 1

We had a few extra days off  this week, so Lady Hiva found some tickets for us to Cappadocia, Turkey. We want to see some of this historical country while we can. The first stop is one of the most famous Christian refuges in the world.

We made a short flight to Keyseri, Turkey and rented a car and off we went. The first thing that I noticed about the area is the similarities in the geography compared to Southern Utah. The large volcanic mountains and the ash and limestone hills, the barren valleys, small towns and tree lined foothills. We made our first stop in the small town of Avanos. This actually became our favorite town in the area. It is full of small family owned restaurants and people walking along the banks of the Red Clay River that cuts through the town. We stuck out really bad because I have blond hair and Lady Hiva is not wearing head cover, but everyone were so friendly. We had so many people give Lucky Dragon free stuff (seriously, this happens ALL the time, even in Istanbul! Strangers will give him food, candy, toys you name it…the other day some guy took the candy bar from his grand-daughter and split it in half to give to Tau’aho. I tried to say “No” because I saw the shocked look on her face but the man turned to me and yelled (in Turkish of course), “I am a Turk and a Muslim and I want to give your kid a gift because we are brothers, now let me!” I started to laugh and just said thank you as they walked away.)

The Different stages of clay pottery process that dates back to the Hittites

Rug on the weavers loom

Avanos is known for their pottery. It has been a tradition for years—thousands of years. Cappadocia lasted through Hittite, Persian, Roman, and Ottoman Empires.  The pottery lasted throughout the those years and each empire added a different twist on the way the clay from the river was used. Today they use the pottery for EVERYTHING. They even have random pottery throughout the city, in the yards, in the streets, everywhere. They even make a really great meat stew called “Testi Kabab” (not related to what it sounds like!)

He was convinced that the ramp was a slide...the non-slip treading really didn't help that idea at all

We walked around the town, went to the pottery museum, learned how to make pottery, ate good food, shopped for some rugs and fed the birds before we moved on to Goreme.

Goreme was fun too, really touristy, but fun. We found some great food…as always in Turkey. It was amazing to see the way that the one big difference between Cappadocia and Southern Utah is that there are thousand year old churches that protected early Christians for centuries from their enemies. Cappadocia was even one of the places that the early Apostles taught in the book of Acts. We sat and watched the sunset from the top of one of the plateaus as the hot air balloons glided through the valleys.

One of the best parts of the trip was staying at a cave hotel. They have converted many of the caves from years ago into boutique hotels. We chose one and it was beautiful! A bit dark, but it is a cave, after all. We loved it and the staff were amazing. 

Testi Kabab

Golden Cave Hotel

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