Chuck Hillig's Travel Blog

Well, I'm going to be doing a lot of traveling over the next 6-7 months so I thought that I'd better re-activate my travel blog. The last time I posted anything here was way back in 2006 when I was traveling through SE Asia. Feel free to read my entries back then about my earlier adventures through India,Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, the Philippines and Hong Kong. This time (at least for the next six weeks), I'll be traveling through Greece and Turkey.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cappadocia.....

I got a ride to the airport in Izmir from Nigel and John, two Brits that I had hooked up with in Selcuk.  They were flying back to Coventry and I was heading to the airport in Kayseri in the middle of Turkey.   Three of my friends, (Gino, Robert and Alan) had all strongly encouraged me to visit the Cappadocia area, and so I checked into one of the famous cave hotels in the town if Urgup.   Much of this area had been shaped by two volcanoes and the many inhabitants had carved their homes into the ancient lava formations.   Now, many of them have been renovated and turned into upscale hotel rooms.   The hotel where I am staying has a commanding view of this area and has about nine rooms available for the guests.   I had signed up for several tours and we were picked up at 9:30 on Wednesday morning to set off on a 3.5 mile hike through some of the most fantastic rock formations that I had ever seen.  The trail went through caves, hidden canyons and areas surrounded by sheer rock faces that jutted hundreds of feet in the air.  Many of them were carved by nature into unique shapes:  pyramids, pointed spears, mushrooms, etc.   The place looked like it could have been designed by a group of folks from Disney.  Absolutely unique and unforgettable.  After lunch, we visited one of the underground cities that had been used as a retreat for the local inhabitants whenever they had been attacked by their enemies.   The one that we explored went down about a hundred feet on seven levels.  Inside, there was room for over 5000 people.  It was a weird patchwork or tunnels, rooms, crawl spaces, and secret passages all interconnected.  It was SO easy to get disoriented in there because no two rooms were exactly alike.  Some were for storage, some were for making wine, some for sleeping, preparing food, waste products, etc.   It was an incredible maze of twisted tunnels, some so small you has to stoop over to squeeze on through.  It was certainly no place for anyone dealing with claustrophobia.  These underground cities had been added to for centuries and had been used, among others, by the early Christians to hide from their oppressors.  Really fascinating.  Tomorrow, I'm going on an early-morning balloon ride.

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