Memories and experiences are piling up. I am unable to get all of them detailed here so I'll skip a few. We got to Cappadocia yesterday home of the famous fairy chimneys. This area saw great volcanic activity thousands of years ago. The different layers have different densities. Over the years the softer material has washed away, often with larger dense sections left atop them. It's impressive to say the damn least.
This is a large area that at one time supported a large monastic community who carved several chapels into the living rock. Everywhere you look there a little windows. It's surreal and beautiful.
This morning at 5:30 am we took off for a hot air balloon excursion. I took over 200 pictures, so many that I ran down my camera battery. I'll upload these later but here's one or two.
The little sliver of land you see below is where we tried to land, but wind being a fickle thing we did not. We pulled up at the last second, barely cleared a small hill and quickly landed on an even smaller sliver of land without tipping or catching the balloon on any of the many small trees that dot the landscape..
I cannot describe how awesome this trip was. We visited several scenic overlooks over the course of the day and I took many more pictures, but the experience of seeing this landscape from the air was the best. Of course, we were also subjected to several shopping excursions today. I was less angry with the carpet shop because its a working shop and it was actually very educational. We actually got to see silk cocoons being unwound to make into thread, something I have always wanted to learn about. At last came the sales pitch, but its was a very good one. They laid over every conceivable type of floor cover, from crude kilims to three award winning carpets that simply took our breath away.
In the end we gave serious though to a "dowry carpet" which wasn't even made by the shop but is instead made by women to part of their first homes furnishings. These are fairly rare and of course, pretty pricey. They put one of their best guys on us and I will say that he was good. Sure, he was the first Turk who I had yet seen with a mustache AND goatee like mine, but that didn't sway me at all... We managed to get away without spending a serious chunk of change, but it was the closest I've ever come to buying one of these.
I'd dearly love to hike around this area for a few days, but as always, time is our enemy. We depart for Ankara tomorrow.