I woke very early on our second day in Cappadocia, hoping for the phone call from our fearless leader, Mert, saying that our hot air balloon ride over the landscape of the region was still on. Sadly, the weather predictions from the night before were correct, and it was too windy to fly safely. (Throughout our entire trip, Turkey was experiencing an unusual cold snap. The typical April average temperatures of 65 F (18 C) were often in the 40's!) Oh, well, this particular bucket list item will just have to wait for another trip.
Rob and I headed downstairs for breakfast buffet in the hotel's dining-room-in-a-cave, then joined the group for an exploration of the little town of Mustafapasa.
|The breakfast room of Cappadocia Estates
|Rob greets one of the Cappadocia Estates cats as we walk into town.
|Downtown Mustafapasa and its single minaret
|The coffee house of Mustafapasa where the men gather to share the news of the day.
|A rather large display of Viagra - no prescription needed!
|Carved door in Mustafapasa
|Detail from entryway into one of the university buildings
|Detail from the building above
|Cave dwellings of Mustafapasa
|Abandoned cave homes - and The Old Greek House mascot,
who accompanied us on our walk around the town!
|Our tour group learns about life in Mustafapasa
|Mert introduces us to this friendly shop keeper.
We bought some gorgeous scarves and ceramics here.
|Gathering back at The Old Greek House
|Nihat prepares our bus for our next excursion
Mert walked us around the compact complex to point out the tiny entrances to the various churches, and to provide some historical background, then left us on our own to explore the interiors.
|The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Goreme
|The monastery was built into this tower behind the entrance to the Goreme Open Air Museum
|Mert uses Bobby's back to draw a common early Christian symbol.
|An entrance into one of the tiny churches hidden in the walls of Goreme.
|Fresco inside the "Apple Church"
Licensed for free use by Wikimedia
|Frescoes in Elmali Kilise, the "Apple Church"
Thanks to: "TurkeyGoreme" by Hawkeye58 at en.wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TurkeyGoreme.jpg#/media/File:TurkeyGoreme.jpg
|Faded frescoes in Azize Barbara Kilisesi, the Saint Barbara Church
Thanks to: "Turkey.Göreme030" by Georges Jansoone JoJan -
Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Turkey.G%C3%B6reme030.jpg#/media/File:Turkey.G%C3%B6reme030.jpg
|St George killing the dragon inside the Yilanli or "Snake" Church
Licensed for free use by Wikimedia
|St. Onuphrius, with the beard of an old man and the body of a young woman,
in the Yilanli Church
Thanks to: "Yilanli (Snake) Church" by Brocken Inaglory. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Yilanli_(Snake)_Church.jpg#/media/File:Yilanli_(Snake)_Church.jpg
|Karanlik Kilise, the "Dark Church" carved into the mountainside.
|The beautiful facade of the Dark Church
|Frescoes cover the walls of the Dark Church
|Portrait of Jesus in the Dark Church
Thanks to: "Göreme OpenAir Museum Dunkle Kirche 2 11 2004" by Grizurgbg at the German language Wikipedia.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:G%C3%B6reme_
|Rob and Joan explore the monasteries of Goreme
|Rob in one of the monastery rooms
|Stairways cut from the rock lead into the cave dwellings
|Air vents were carved into some of the ceilings.
|An old vineyard in the valley below the monasteries.
|More caves were dug into the cliffs on the other side of the valley.
|Pigeon roosts cut into the cliffs. The pigeon droppings were collected and used as fertilizer.
|"Penthouse apartments" high in the tower
|The valley below Goreme
|More Goreme dwellings
|The bazaar below the Open Air Museum.
In the absence of dogs or cats, Rob found a camel to pet.
|Our tour members browse the little bazaar.
|Yarns for carpet weaving at the Goreme bazaar
|Debra and Judie enjoy a break.
|The remarkable towers of Cappadocia
|Many of the homes were hidden in courtyards behind lovely decorated doorways.
|Our group enters the courtyard and Fahriye and her family.
|We are greeted by Fahriye and her daughter, Ayfer
|Fahriye's beautiful Turkish carpets covered both the floor and the couches around the room.
|Rob and Joan enjoying the morning
|Our lunch - home grown, simple, and tasty
|Our group learns about family life in a Turkish home
|Mert translates for Fahriye, her mother, and her daughter, Ayfer
|Fahriye, Ayfer, and her daughter, Aylin
|This photo of Fahriye as a young woman was on the wall of the room...
|...as was this photo of her mother.
|A view of Ortahisar from Fahriye's courtyard
|Fahriye says farewell to our group.
|This woman from the village was outside Fahriye's house and entertained us with her tambourine.
|A little stall selling many kinds of nuts.
Our final stop of the day was the Gallery Cappadocia near the city of Nevşehir, where we learned about the art of Turkish carpet weaving. The art of knotting Turkish carpets is documented all the way back to the 5th century B.C., with woven carpets dating back even further.
|Gallery Cappadocia - a Turkish carpet workshop
|Vats of natural dyes color the wool used to create the carpets
|Dyed wools dry on racks outside the shop
|Hand knotting the intricate patterns
|Demonstration of the knotting technique
|Susan tries her hand at knotting the wool
|Chests full of silk worm cocoons and silk threads
|Debra and Peng watch this woman separate the strands of silk from the cocoons.
|This machine spins the silk thread.
|These men wait to roll the carpets out at our feet.
|The kilims came out first.
|Then came wool-on-wool carpets
|These were followed by wool-on-cotton.
|As the carpets were unrolled, our host explained the designs and history of the carpets.
|The gorgeous colors of the Turkish carpets.
|The last carpets to be displayed were the silk-on-silk
|Kathy, Ben, and Pat examine the carpets up close.
|This dog knew exactly what he wanted to do!
He rolled ecstatically all over the carpets as soon as the demonstration was concluded.
|Rob misses our Maggie dog at home when we travel, but he manages to get some puppy love.
|And, as everywhere in Turkey, there were cats here, too.
|The carpet we almost bought.
In the late afternoon, we rode back through the lovely countryside, stopping for a few photos.
|The best tour partners we could have asked for!
|A Turkish farmer tills his land the old-fashioned way.
Today was a day filled with wonderful memories from beginning to end. After returning to Mustafapasa and freshening up, we walked back down to the Old Greek House for another great dinner. After dinner, we were joined by several members of the family and others from the village for music and dancing - another delightful cultural experience!
|Arriving for dinner in the Old Greek House
|Mert joins villagers from Mustafapasa who entertain us with traditional Turkish music.
|Mert and his friend enjoy a dance.
|This fellow was obviously having a wonderful time! He danced the night away.
|Family members joined in.
|And our group members joined in the fun.
|Other villagers arrived to share their music.
|A dad and his daughter watch the dancers.
What a wonderful ending to one of my favorite days of our entire tour!