*** Not much food in this one, so you may want to just drop by tomorrow.....
After two rather damp days, the sun rose on a dry morning in Cappadocia. The Missus had wanted one day to explore some of the valleys in the area. I really wasn't looking forward to this day as the Missus is known for taking me on some major "death marches". Once she gets on a roll....look out. During breakfast, Mustapha planned out a hike for us...it sounded easy enough, a walk to Pigeon Valley which we saw from the scenic area the day before. There was some supposed Roman trail in the valley, which looked paved from up above. The valley leads from the outskirts of the town we where we were staying, Goreme to Uchisar. We made our way down the hill passing a few of our furry neighbors along the way.
The town was farly quiet at this time of the day.......
All the better to enjoy the fairy chimneys rising out of the ground.
I had to chuckle when we passed this hotel......
At the end of the road, there really wasn't any real sign, just this on a light pole.
Unfortunately, there were two trails.....so we took the one to the left, which started by going through this tunnel.
And came out the other side.
We walked for a kilometer or two and couldn't find the road...... so we turned back and went down the trail to the right. We found the old roman road and headed into scenic Pigeon Valley.
It is called Pigeon Valley for all the pigeon houses built in the valley. Folks here used to harvest the guano to use as fertilizer.
We walked to the end of one side of the valley and found a rock wall. We walked out to the other trail and found the same. We could here the folks talking at the look-out above us, it almost felt like they were taunting us. But we just couldn't find a trail upwards to Uchisar. Un total, we walked back and forth thru the valley at least three times or more.
At this point, the Missus had built up a head of steam as we headed all the way to the hotel, where Mustapha could only laugh and tell the Missus that he'd drop us off at the beginning of Honey Valley. He was also driving these two really tough looking German women, one of whom snickered at me when I said we couldn't find the way out of Pigeon Valley, "Vvvhat! I come every year...and I have been there many times....never get lost!" No argument from me...she looked like she could body-slam me and make me submit with a figure-four leg lock. We were dropped of at the Goreme end of Honey Valley and our instructions were to hike to the Uchisar end, climb up the hillside ("be careful, it can be slippery") and catch a Dolmar (the local bus). These mini-buses are called Dolmars because of how they used to stuff people into them....just like stuffing a Dolma. Anyway we started off at the Goreme side which was just a dirt trail that led to other trails into the valley. They also call Honey Valley "Love Valley", but I haven't a clue why........do you?
Eventually, the trails split into several trails headed in every direction, which split into trails that seemed all headed in opposite directions. We passed folks going into the opposite direction and soon enough we saw no one. We decided to head toward the direction of where we thought Uchigar was scrambling through streams and stream beds, sometimes finding trails that would suddenly end.
We walked through pasture and caves looking for footprints and occasionally finding some. Near the end of the valley we could see the road and constrruction above us. We found a pretty steep trails and scrambled up and found ourselves at the Onyx factory we had stopped at yesterday. The view of the valley was very pretty........
From up here you could see all the trails zig-zagging in different directions below us.
As we headed out to the main road I could see Uchisar across the way. Unfortunately, the Missus was still fixated on not finding our way out of Pigeon Valley and headed off in the opposite direction. So it was goodbye bus ride back to Goreme.....
I still couldn't figure it out and at this point I'd had enough of this hiking stuff for today. We still had the 5 kilometer walk back to Goreme.....at which point ourmy rescuer appeared, in the form of an old Renault sedan which smelled, quite wonderfully to me at the time, of cigarette smoke. The white car was driving down the road when it stopped then suddenly reversed twenty yards or so to where I was walking. The first thought in the Missus' mind was that this was some road-side mass murderer and we were his next victims, but this was Cappadocia, so of course it was a very mild mannered young man named Ahmed who pointed down the road and said; "Goreme?" What a nice guy....of course the Missus told me that I looked like I was going to drop dead by the roadside at any minute and that was what alarmed the young man into stopping. Whatever, I thought it a wonderful gesture...you gotta the folks in Turkey! When we arrived at the outskirts of town the young man stopped and starting pointing and asking me something in Turkish......after a second I realized that he was asking me where we wanted to be dropped off! People here were very nice indeed. I just motioned to the side of the road and we got out.
By this time, I was starting to get a bit hungry.....not super starving, but just in need of something to eat. We were right across the street from Nazar Borek where we had dinner the night before, so we thought, hey, why not?
This time we just simply shared a doner kebab.......
Which was really cheap at 2 TRY and ok. But it was house made Ayran that I really enjoyed. It was light, though not as frothy as other versions I've had, this simple drink of yogurt, salt, and water sure hit the spot. It was nice little break and we got to chat with the owner who we found out was a classmate of Mustapha, the owner of our hotel.
We also saw the same mutt as the night before patrolling his territory and searching for scraps.
All of this put me into a good mood.......which is when the Missus told me that She "wanted to see more valleys", sigh....... So we walked back to the Arch Palace, I took a shower, dried off, and we headed back in the direction of Goreme Open Air Museum and Zemi Valley.
And to Zemi Valley. This was the valley the Missus wanted to check out during the deluge with the trail under a foot of water, I guess She was just determined to see the place. Actually, there wasn't much interesting other than one of the small churches in the valley.
The caretaker/ticket-taker/guide/etc of this place was a hoot. The church itself is only a single tiny room, but is quite pretty. The gentleman insisted on taking photos of us. He grabbed my camera and said, "no worry, me here 26 years, me professional already...." and proceeded to pose us at various locations around the church. Most of these churches don't allow photos, so he was sure to let us know that "you take many pictures here....no problem" as he let us in.
As I mentioned before, the Ottomans believed in aniconism, thus most of the eyes on the frescos have been whited out.
The valley was nice, but I was pretty weary at this point......
We took a different trail on the way out and saw this beautiful sight.
Did you know that Cappadocia means "Land of Beautiful Horses"?
I thought this as a wonderful sight, a nice ending to our hiking the valleys.....but no....the Missus pointed across the street. There was still one more valley to see.
We walked down a dusty dirt trail, past Goreme Camping, a sort of RV-camp site, where you could pitch a tent, but restrooms and I heard there's even kitchen facilities and a pool are provided. We took a right past the Royal Balloon landing area and took in the view of Rose Valley.
Though all the ATVs zooming around the valley really distracted one from the beauty of the place.
By this point I was "vallied out" and gladly the Missus decided that it was time for a nap.....which was the best idea She had all day!
Thanks for reading......