Day 6: Turkish Hospitality

Welcome to day 6! This was one of our slower-paced days and thank goodness for that.

We began our morning with a two hour hike through the Cappadocia valley. It was hot.hot.hot, but absolutely stunning. You can’t help but marvel at the unique landscapes. The woman below is tending to her grape vines. Turkey does produce wine but it’s nothing to write home about.

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juicestopWhile on our hike (and as you can see we were in the middle of nowhere), our group watched a little white car zoom past us. A few minutes later he came back, followed by a tiny yellow truck and they disappeared around the bend. Lo and behold, just down the way, a juice stand had materialized before our very eyes. The Turks are famous for their hospitality; even on deserted hiking trails they want to make you feel welcomed. For the low, low price of 1 Lire, of course. 😉 But in all seriousness, it was an ingenious idea and the fresh pomegranate and orange juice was a welcomed site.

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After the hike we headed for the ancient underground city of Kaymaklı — which once included churches, kitchens, metal shops and stables. Sounds neat, huh?

Picture this: Darkness. Caves. Ceilings you can reach with your hands. Crowds. Groups of tourists pushing in all around you. Narrow walk ways. One way out.

undergroundI’m starting to hyperventilate just remembering. I lasted for a whole, oh I would say… ten minutes before my sever claustrophobia set in and I pushed my way through the oncoming Chinese tour group and got the heck out of there. Here is my one, lonely picture I snapped before I bolted.

I waited patiently outside underneath the glorious, bright, wide open blue sky until the rest of the group was finished and we loaded up onto the bus once more and headed on our merry way back to Müstafapaşa.

I was told the underground city was fascinating. I was also told at point you had to nearly army crawl through a door way. I thanked the good Lord I didn’t live in a time when cave dwelling was the “in thing”.

Dinner that night was one of my favorite experiences. A group of about fifteen of us descended upon this tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It was one room, roughly the size of my dining room, with five booths and a small kitchen in the back. As we piled inside the man at the counter looked up at us with a look of shock. . . followed by panic . . . followed by a frantic call on his cell phone . . . followed by a huge, beaming smile. A few minutes later a woman busts through the door, I’m assuming his wife, with a toddler on the hip. She takes inventory of our rag-tag group, hands the child off to one of the tour members, rolls up her sleeves and starts taking orders. He whipped up our doners with remarkable speed, chopping, frying, cutting . . . on a counter the size of a postage stamp with one lonely stove. He was unbelievably efficient and the food was ridiculously good. We even gave him a round of applause at the end. He blushed scarlet, it was adorable.

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diner2When we were finished he brought us all steaming glasses of Turkish tea, “on house” his wife announced in broken English. We applauded again. He smiled sheepishly then began the tedious task of hand washing the stack of plates in front of him.

It was such a great way to end our stay in Capadoccia. Tomorrow we head for the city of Konya!

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