Goreme, Turkey - June 28, 2010
I'm now in Goreme, one of the main centers in the Cappadocia region. Pretty weird place for sure. The landscape is composed of abundant large hoodoo-like structures into which churches, houses and other buildings have been carved. In fact my hotel room is partially carved from solid rock; the room next door wholly so. Makes for some interesting floor plans. Lots of tunnels between rooms.
I went to the Open-Air Museum today where structures range from about the 7th century and upwards. Some of the churches have beautiful frescoes... some of which have been defaced by later religious groups who did not tolerate the portrayal of humans or animals (no matter how well done). They seem to have not considered a ladder, however, as mostly only the lower paintings have been defaced... the higher ones are intact and beautiful.
Inside a 7th Century Cave Church
Had a nice ride up from the coast. I had camped a few days at a site along the Mediterranean called Tasucu. Water was not as nice as at Datca as it was not as clear... but bigger waves. Maybe that was the issue. Then came inland. Luckily, not as warm as I expected but I have run into the occasional rain and it really poured here last night.
Sunset Near Nigde, Turkey
I woke up at about 5:30 this morning to a strange hissing sound, however, and went out to see 17 hot air balloons aloft. Guess it is quite the attraction here as the weather is generally perfect in the early morning and is pretty strange rewarding landscape to fly over. The baskets were dipping right into the tree tops in places... I guess so people could pick fresh fruit for their ride. Or you can buy a kilo of fresh cherries on the street for $1.50.
Balloons Over Goreme
It looks like it's nearing the close of orange season, however, and so my steady consumption of fresh squeezed orange juice from streetside stands is winding down. Getting harder to find. Still good when you can find it... although the price is rising. Istanbul was the best... 67 cents a class.
Ran into a couple of Italian bikers yesterday... think they saw me ride through town and they tracked me down actually. Had a nice visit, but they were headed back to Italy today. Quick trip for them. Also ran into a guy who had ridden down from Holland and was on his way to South Africa. Not sure what his route would be. You can get into Syria pretty easily from here, but not sure where he would go from there.
Also... I seem to have gotten a bit of a clue about my Google Maps problem. It seems that Tukey recently blocked YouTube and one of the consequences of that is that many of the "???.google.com sites are blocked as well. Seems it started early June. Lots of complaining on the web about it. I might owe Little EEE an apology. Writing this from an internet shop as I can't link up at the hotel for some reason.