We Left Antakya at 7 am and arrived in Adana(Meditteranian port town) at Noon and then transferred to another bus to Goreme...when we reached Adana Jake discovered that he had left his MB(moneybelt) with passport under his pillow at the hotel in Antakya, so he jumped a bus back. We heard from him via email that all was aok and he had heard from Aussie friend who was landing in Istambul on the 8th so he was heading there forthwith...now we have heard that he and friend have gotten together there and all is well!
Our now group of 4 arrived in Goreme about 4pm and proceeded to try to decide on lodgings...there are over 60 hotels/guesthouses here which is a village of 2000 people normally! In the region called Cappadocia, the big business is tourism due to the unusual land formations which have been carved into for homes/churches/???(often referred to as troglodyte residences) since the Hittites around 2000BC. A very unique and scenic area, intriguing and mystifying...many of these caves are just as they were left hundreds of years ago.
We found a very nice and cheap hotel, Kose, which has dorm rooms for just $3 US which is very good for Turkey we find. People are very nice and going on the 3rd day we just finished a tour by minibus which covered about 200 K. in a day. 1)Derinkuyu and underground city som 8 levels which goes 50 meters deep and consists of over 14 K. of tunnels, kind of like a human anthill...it also dates from the Hittites and later expanded by Christians who used them to escape war/battles with Romans before Constantinople(sp) declared Christianity to be the religion of choice. 2)Ihlara Gorge where we walked along a beautiful stream at the bottom of a deep gorge, seeing church caves from 10th century Byzantine era w/ frescos, many quite obliterated by vandels...these were also believed to be started by Hittites as early as 2000BC. After our walk - it was a perfect spring day, sun, slight breeze, trees budding out - 3 K. we ended at a village where we had a fine Turkish lunch and chatted with others in the group(10 in all). 3) Selime, a 10th century monestary in the rock caves/chimneys(used as background in a Starwars movie) - amazing work and huge in dimension. 4)A caravanserai, "hotel" of sorts built in 1231-39 for caravans on the silk road - remember back in China, ha! - each about 20 K. apart or the distance a camel could go without stopping in 9 hours. These were huge structures with defensive walls where the caravans could stop - if they had paid a tax, fee - for the nite and they also traded with other caravans there. 5)Pasabaga, the "fairy chimney" site where these structures in this area are particularly unique and in abundance. 6)_Avenos where we went to a pottery factory and watched and listened to how a potter makes and forms a pot on a kick wheel in the tradition of the family for over 400 years...the design work, glazing, etc. It looked so simple when this fellow did it...of course he has been "practicing" for 10 years!
This entire area around Goreme was covered by volcanic ash/dust/sediment from 3 volcanos no longer active - Eoros, 3916 m. high, HAZAN, 3268 m. high, and Melendiz, 2963 m. high - all visible in the distance with snowcapped peaks, favorite ski areas at each during the winter. Erosion from rain & wind has left spires and pinnacles and incredible formations in cliffs which were carved out by Hittites/Christians/others for centuries. An unbelieveable landscape.
Outside, up on the plateaus and even in among the formations agriculture is widespread due to the fertile soil and deep wells to irrigate... the weather here is similar to MT in that they do not have a great deal of rain. Orchards of apricot, cherry, plum, and apple abound as well as grape vinyards...also growing potatoes, pumplin, and field crops...they are plowing and seeding as we speak, plus the orchards are blooming big time!