Saturday January 12 , 2008

 

Wow! What at morning! We left the hotel around 6:30 for an adventure we will never forget.... a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia - the Land of Beautiful Horses!! After some tea and cookies we boarded the balloon. The more we ascended into the air, the more I kept pretending we were on board a battleship from a Star Wars movie! The view of the fairy chimneys and Pigeon Valley was unreal. To be honest, I thought I was on another planet. After an hour of sight seeing, we had a rocky landing with champagne waiting for us on the ground. We returned to the hotel for a delicious breakfast and headed out for a 30-minute bus ride to the underground city of Kaymakli. Some say these cities date back to the Hittites. Made of tuff stone, these cities are well insulated and used to be served as practical hiding shelters from Arab and other foreign attacks. We then drove through Üçhisar, the "fortress on the cliff", which is an abandoned village overlooking Cappadocia. Next stop...the jewelry store! There we got to see how jewelry is crafted in Turkey and some of us bought some spectacular pieces. Many of the stones included onyx, turquoise, amethyst, and quartz. After that we made a quick stop at a winery nearby for some delicious wine tasting....mmmm!!!

The evening concluded with a visit to a 13th century caravanserai where we were witness to a private Sufi Sema.  A Sema is mystical, spiritual worship originated with Mevlana Rumi, in which worshipers spin themselves into a mystical trance.  As witness to this ritual we found it moving and peaceful.  After the Sema they offered us a hot cinnamon drink.  Alas no photos were allowed and we leave with only our memories of this wonderful evening.