Caving in Cappadocia

Back on the road again, with the car heater on full blast to thaw us from our adventurous and frosty stay near Hattusa, we drove 3 hours south to the region of Türkiye known as Cappadocia until a vast sweeping valley came into view, clustered with millions of lanky asparagus-shaped volcanic rock formations (that’s the G-rated description). It looked other-worldly, like we had landed on Mars, or perhaps the film set for Star Wars where the sand people live.


The next day, the four of us set out to explore the Open Air Museums. These museums are akin to what Americans call “State Parks.” We drove around the valley to three of the major ones—Pasabag, Goreme, and Zelve, and spent the day hiking along their well worn paths, darting in and out of these cities which were carved into homes, churches, and monasteries. 


There have been people in this valley since the 4th century, many of them early Christians, embellishing what Mother Nature started, by hallowing out places to live and worship digging into the mountain sides and naturally occurring rock formations. For a time, the Cappadocian valley offered protection from raids and persecution. There are also mind-boggling underground cities tunneled deep into the ground, like human ant farms, where its inhabitants sought shelter. These formidable underground cities are next up if some of us can get our claustrophobic selves pumped up for a tour into the bowels of Cappadocia. 


In Pasabag, we roamed through the labyrinth of fairy chimneys and carved out homes. 


In Goreme, the incredible Hacli Kilise—or Church of the Cross—sits haunched in its declining old age and looks out over the small valley full of what was once a bustling town pressed into rock. We tried to imagine Hacli Kilise in its younger years, its intricately carved domes and arches vibrant with painted murals.


In Zelve, people still lived in the network of caves along the valley until 1952 when it was then deemed unsafe by the government. I’m not so sure I would have made it to 1952, long before then, I would have put my foot down and insisted we get a realtor and start shopping for a real house in town with electricity and running water.




Hello Wood Family

While wandering around Goreme we ran into the Wood family who are Americans living in Kuwait. We discovered she and Mark were both BYU alumni. It was great to run into them and hear about their adventures.

And yes, I look like I’m expecting in this photograph or perhaps that my boobs are super low these days.


The unfortunate shadow which makes me look like I’m either with child or sadly in need of a lift–isn’t the best of photographs, but its the only one we have with the awesome Wood family and we wanted to post this to remember our quick visit by.


But be assured that my aging ovaries are no longer capable of putting me in the delicate condition that this photograph would suggest.  

I’m deep into my aging years and quite sure my hot flashes are the singular cause of global warming.

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