31 August 2013 | Cappadocia Turkey
After securing Purrrfect in the boatyard in Alanya, we started our 8 day inland tour of Turkey, flying from Antalya via Istanbul to Cappadocia. This unique area of Turkey has land formations which look like they were created in Disneyland! The cliffs and towers have eroded over millennia from the volcanic rocks. The early Christians dug complete underground cities in these rocks to hide from raiding pirates. There are still many cave homes in this area. We stayed in a hotel which had guest rooms dug into the cliffs for cave rooms.
We hiked thru one valley (yes, Dave's knees made the trek!) and took a 4x4 Jeep safari thru more valleys, crawled thru one of the 60 underground cities, and (best of all) took an early morning hot air balloon ride over the countryside. It was amazing to see the sunrise over the beautiful cliffs and caves and valleys. Dave counted 50 hot air balloons in the sky over the area.
One of the evenings we attended a whirling dervish ceremony. This performance took place in a building constructed in 1248 as one of the "hans" or safe houses for travelers along the Silk Road from China. These stone fortresses were 60 kilometers apart. The whirling dervish ceremony is intended "as a means of attaining mystic union with God, the spinning "dance" ...is one of the world's great spiritual rituals." (Fodor's Turkey. p 383) It is still a mystery to me how the dancers don't get dizzy!
We stayed 3 days in Cappadocia and then flew up to Istanbul.