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Wednesday, August 21: Day 121 Happy-docia

After sleeping in a cave room in Cappadocia with my cave man, we awakened at 4:45AM.

There was a thunderstorm when we went to sleep so we were not certain if we would get to ride in a famous Cappadocia hot air balloon.

We got dressed in our warmest clothes as it was 61°F. Some are dressed for the weather, others are in cocktail dress and heels.

Our van picked us up at 5:20 and away we went. There was a little waiting for weather confirmation, but it was a go!! Hallelujah!

We have a group of 20 people of all tongues, tribes and nations. We had to sign a permission slip. Rob could not find our names so he said that he would add it to the bottom. Wait! What are the odds that there was a Rob and Brenda Skinner?

Here is what comes next:

Ready for lift off

Then it’s up up and away.

Was I ever frightened? No. I was certainly reassured.

A maximum of 150 balloons is allowed, and they are sold out for months, so I am sure that they were all airborn.

Our pilot Edamen is not able to steer the direction. He can only go up or down. We are at the mercy of wind currents. The only thing that he can do is rotate the basket by the use of a sail. He does this so everyone gets a great view. My ears popped.

Edamen said that the cold nights and hot days are not good for these unique land formations but, then again, that is how they are formed.

As late as 1960 people made homes in these formations. (Once it became a protected area, inhabitants had to leave. Outside the protected areas, people still inhabit the homes.)

Some of the ancient homes are very high. Who lived there and why?

Edamen said, “If you have an enemy, you can do anything.” We are finding that to be true. Sewers, caves, cliff dwellings, etc.

Our landing was smooth. Edamen landed on a postage stamp … the trailor of a pickup truck. The ground crew had stickers all over their pants … and so did I since I ran to get the champagne cork as a souvenir!


After the balloon ride, we headed back to our hotel for a breakfast fit for a king … it was so colorful that Rob took this picture.

Then they brought more food so Rob took another picture.

Then they brought more food so Rob took another picture.

Then they brought more food so Rob took another picture. This was the final picture!!! Time to eat.

After a busy and full morning, we start our tour with a trip to Goreme Open Air Museum. Today is Wednesday which means there will be lots of Spanish speakers. There are different days for different people groups so that they can have translators available.

St. Basil, important to Orthodox and Catholic religions, had witnessed hermits living together in communities in Egypt and Athens. He came to Cappadocia where he encouraged the hermits who were living throughout the valleys to live together.

This community of caves was established in the 4th century AD and was a stop for travelers. Many of the caves were also churches.

The first thing that we saw was a nunnery which is a dormitory for nuns.

We were not able to take photos inside the churches but here are some descriptions.

The Apple Church is named for the angel Gabriel holding the world in his hand (and it looks like an apple.) It contained important stories from the Bible.

There was a Sandal Church because everyone painted on the walls is wearing sandals. Many of the faces were scratched out. I guess that would be defacing.

St Barbara Church is unique as the art is applied directly onto wall and not on plaster.

St. George riding a white horse and St. Theodore riding a red horse appear in another church. They were Roman soldiers and were martyred for becoming Christians. Legend has it that they were dragon slayers.

For paints, walnut roots were used for yellow. Burgundy came from the oak tree, and blue from indigo. For a deeper color, the roots were boiled longer. Colors were mixed to get other colors.

Tandoor (also in India) refers to the cooking method that these people used for cooking meats. It is where we get our word “tender”. The fire is from below the meat. (Tandoori is a musical instrument.)

The tandoor cooking method is regional, and we ate these bread covered meat dishes for lunch. Watch this serving video and then see how hot it is.


Cappadocia is an old Persian word that means land of grand horses. There are even wild horses today. It is the name of a region. There are three cities here which form a triangle. Within that region is Nevşehir which has three areas forming a triangle.

1.Uchisar hisar means fortress city, 2Göreme, 3 ürgüp meaning edge.


We stopped several places for photo stops like Pigeon Valley

Imaginary Valley

Munks Valley known for its fairy chimneys.

We went off road for a hike in an unnamed valley. It was a great adventure. We ate walnuts and plums growing in the wild and saw a mulberry bush (And yes, we went around it.) There were also apricots and quince.

Some places were slippery and others were stickery. We hit a dead end.

Maybe this is a sign to leave!

We could not hike any further. The only way was up. We followed the groove made by running water and ended up at a famous panorama photo stop…just as Ertugunga had planned!!! His friend teased him that we got lost. I never felt lost. Ertunga delivered a great adventure.

We are near the Red River which is famous for its pottery. In fact, the outsides of houses have pottery stuck to it or arranged as art.

In Avanos, we were able to watch a demonstration by the master potter. Watch this video.

Both Rob and I tried and learned from the master of 25 years. Men are the potters. I had to wear a şalvar which are baggy pants with a low crotch. Women paint and draw.

This pottery store is a family business for six generations. The work was gorgeous. They even make pottery that glows in the dark.

They make replicas of the famous Hittie vessel. We will see the original in a museum.

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