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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.


Filed under: Colorado — she_travels at 6:03 am on Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I am in the middle of Spring Break (five clients out of town) , tis the reason I come back to Colo at this time of year other wise  would still be wandering some far off land.

We had snow last night, they were saying up to 11 inches last night and another 5 inches today. It is still dark out so I am not sure yet just how bad it is.

Anywho, I am hoping I can get back to pics and stories later this week or the first part of next week.

The whole of the trip was great fun and I am already attempting to shape my world for another visit.

Wish me luck today… between shoveling snow to get  in and out of these homes/barns I have to deal with nasty arse road conditions.  Not to worry though, the sun will be back tomorrow with just short of 50 degrees. Ya gotta love Colo weather.


Filed under: Turkey — she_travels at 1:39 am on Sunday, March 14, 2010

I am back in Turkey,  a bus station waiting to board a bus to Istanbul…yuk 17 hours.

The plane ticket was $300us the bus ticket was 46us…I decided to take the bus.

Anywho..I may have another quick update before I hop a plane to the states or I may just sleep for the whole of the 16th.

I will be back in Denver the evening of the 17th.

Fast Fast

Filed under: Syria — she_travels at 7:27 am on Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hey Gang, I am in Syria having a grand time. Internet is nonexistent in accommodation at my price level and cafes are few and far between.

I will be here a few days then busing it 8 hours back to the border of Turkey and Syria. I think I will hop a plane to Istanbul. I have had quite enough of buses.

Anywho, I am safe and sound…not a worry in the word.

I have several stories and a photo or two to share one I can use my computer again.

Day 28 ~ Goreme ~ Redux

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 11:08 pm on Thursday, March 4, 2010

I forgot to mention…

From Wikipedia : The interesting rock formations, known as “fairy chimneys”, have been formed as the result of the erosion of a tufa layer, sculpted by wind and flood water, running down on the slopes of the valleys. Water has found its way through the valleys creating cracks and ruptures in the hard rock. The softer, easily erodible material underneath has been gradually swept away receding the slopes and in this way, conical formations protected with basalt caps have been created.

The fairy chimneys with caps, mainly found in the vicinity of Urgup, have a conical shaped body and a boulder on top of it. The cone is constructed from tufa and volcanic ash, while the cap is of hard, more resistant rock such as lahar or ignimbrite. Various types of fairy chimneys are found in Cappadocia. Among these are those with caps, cones, mushroom like forms, columns and pointed rocks.

Alpea said something about three volcanoes erupting leaving lava, tufa and ash. He also said there may be one day when all the rocks are gone cause the erosion is still going on. Those rocks people have lived in were cut out cause they are so soft.

Right then,  lesson over,  on to Day 28 which dawned with sunshine..woohooo!

I decided to take a walk to the The Goreme Open-Air Museum a complex composed of scores of refectory monasteries placed side-by-side, each with its own fantastic church.

You may be interested to know there were many people about in the just under 2 hours I roamed the grounds.  I heard American English, Canadian English, Italian, something from Asia (Japanese, Koran) and French.

Did you know the international gesture for “Allow me to take your photo with your partner”  is a warm smile with hand extended palm up, perhaps a nod in the direction of the camera. Ya don’t have to know any other language.  I managed to get a “Thank you” in three different languages that day.

Ok on to the pics…

A bit of Goreme.

These next few are along the way to the Museum.

I was on a rise snapping pics, when I turned to see where I was going I found four dogs looking at me. I think the girl dog was smelling very nice to the boys who she was leading around by their noses. They didn’t bother me much,  the girl dog just came to say “Hi, have ya got any food?”  In this pic the girl dog is next to me and the shy boy dog with the hurt foot be behind the rock to the right.

The back side of one above.

Cool  huh?

Damn, I am out of time again..catching a bus to the Syria border…wish me luck. If I can’t get through  here I have to back track about 10 hours west…yuk!

Day 26 ~ Alpea’s Tour

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 2:51 pm on Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Or at least his name sounded something like Alpea. I only heard it once,  I could be wrong.

During breakfast an Aussie couple was talking about the underground city tour. I figured I was joining them. When the van pulled up,  a tall,  full of energy guy leaped out  the door.

I asked “Are you going to the underground city?”

He said “Yes” Then looked at a bit of paper in his hand “SOS, one, yep that’s you, lets go.” He took two strides back to the mini van when I said “How do you know I am the One you are looking for?”  He spun around looking confused, I repeated… “There are others from SOS going to the underground city, how do we know I am your One.” “Good point.” We were both facing SOS when Vulcan came running down the hill. The guy from the van said something then Vulcan nodded, smiled and waved to me.  Ok then I am his One.

The driver and two Asian guys were the only people in the van with Alpea and me. I do not know who we picked up next or next but in the end I was in the mini van with the driver, Alpea, six guys from Japan, a couple from Italy, a couple from Canada,  a couple from Ankara, Turkey and two gals from France. Four of the Japanese guys were picked up at the same place, I figured they were collage-ish pals.

Alpea gave us his real name then shorten it to Alpea and told us the days itinerary.

First stop, a view point above the canyon I had stomped about in the night before.

Next up the underground city..after a 50 minute ride…

Rocks ….

Wacky hills…

and herds O goats.

This church was outside the entry to the underground city.

From Wikipedia: Derinkuyu Underground City was opened for visitors as of 1969 and to date, only ten percent of the underground city is accessible for tourists. Its eight floors extend at a depth of approximately 85 m.

The underground city at Derinkuyu has all the usual amenities found in other underground complexes across Cappadocia, such as wine and oil presses, stables, cellars, storage rooms, refectories, and chapels. Unique to the Derinkuyu complex and located on the second floor is a spacious room with a barrel vaulted ceiling. It has been reported that this room was used as a religious school and the rooms to the left were studies.

The large 55 m ventilation shaft appears to have been used as a well. The shaft also provided water to both the villagers above and, if the outside world was not accessible, to those in hiding.

Some of these pics were with a flash some were not…

Religious school

Baptism pool, less the water.

One of the Japanese guys was snookered and teased by the ladies selling dolls. He came back to the van laughing. The ladies were still laughing when we left. I did not hear the joke.

The town of Ihlara has a bit of building which look like this…

Next on the agenda a riverside, canyon stroll.

From Wikipedia : The dramatic Ihlara Valley gorge, cut by a small stream (the Melendiz Suyu) through the volcanic Cappadocian landscape, holds about 60 Byzantine churches, chapels, monasteries and hermits’ caves dating from the 11th to 13th centuries.

Alpea and one of  the Canadians are in black and red.

A church built in rock, the door is in the left corner. It was something to see. The inside was covered in …


Three wise men. Much of the bible was on the walls, the lighting was not great and flash degrades the art.

I was pretty happy wandering along the trail. Alpea at one point decided to wait on me. When I was close enough he said “You are always the last.”  I replied “It’s all about the photos.”

There were several spots where one had to maneuver over and around rocks, it was raining a bit so slippery was everything. For what ever reason the 4 Japanese guys decided I was their responsibility, I was given a hand every time anyone of them decided I was better off with help. Another one of those times when I would have been fine alone but accepting help makes people feel really good, I let them have it.

One of the Japanese guy was in front of me with one if the french gals. He turned, pointing to the large cave whispering “Mouse house?”  I nodded then said “Dragon Den”  He much preferred my answer.

Even with help from one of the Japanese guys I managed to land on my ass in the mud. I was reaching for a branch to help steady me and found it was a thorn bush. I was laughing way before I hit the grown. The Japanese guy looked horrified at first then started to laugh so everyone joined in before I was out of  the mud. Alpea later said he had gone down two days before and had the scars from Wolverine to prove it. (three long gashes on his palm)

I love this one.

My Japanese protectors. I think they were posing at the french gals request but the Italian guy and I both took the opportunity to have snap a shot as well.  Did I mention they were singing “Stand by me” together for most of the walk. They were great fun and full of energy.

Alpea had the driver to stop at what looked like a view point. The was one of the views..

and this..

and this.

Little did I know the first photo from the view point is…

From Wikipedia : Selime Monastery, the biggest rock-cut monastery of Cappadocia with a cathedral sized church. Selime monastery was carved by the monks in the 13th century and apart from the church has monks quarters, a large kitchen, and stables for animals. The walls were once decorated with frescoes of which very little remains.

When I arrived at the top, mind you muddy steep hill with wacky water trench looking things in the rock, Alpea said “Nice climbing” I grinned saying “At least I managed to not land on my ass this time.” The view point is just to the right of this photo.

This was the view from outside of ….

This room.

See the trench ..it was to small for a foot so ya kinda had to shift your weight back and forth while moving you feet along the wall. Spiderman would have been proud of me.

It was fairly nasty on the way back.

We musta stopped at another fairy chimney view point in the way back.

Wacky colors.

Last in the days events was a visit to an onyx factory where they showed us the grades and colors of onyx along with how they cut it. There was a showroom upstairs, they were serving apple tea and hopin you would spend some money on the pretty rocks.  I did not see anything I could not live with out but the Italian gal showed me her fav, it was a Turkish Turquoise string necklaces with gold filling the inconsistencies in the stone, the price was just over 3 grand. Pretty though, I was allowed to touch it.

By the time we were out of  the show room is was dark, it was even more so by  the time my feet found SOS. I dropped my bag in my room and popped upstairs to let them know I was back and ready for bed. They offered me dinner but after 7 days of moving every day, the very social fun dinner for the night before and a full day of being with people my head was pounding so I was off to bed.

The next morning it was not any better, even with two different pain killers in me I had a migraine. I had pushed my body and brain into rebellion.

I did not go anywhere Day 27.

No worries, Day 28 dawned with sunshine and energy.

Day 25 ~ Karaman to Goreme

Filed under: Photos,Turkey — she_travels at 12:16 am on Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I completely forgot to mention, when the big bus was leaving Ermenck we stopped at the PTT (post office). They loaded all manner of PTT tagged boxes and bags. Today, the bus stopped in the middle of a proper 4 lane divided highway. There was another bus(same company)  stopped going the other direction, the two attendant guys met in the middle to hand off something which looked a bit like a wrapped up, labeled baseball bat. My guess, my bus forgot to “mail” it and the other guys had to fix the boggle. I have no idea what the bus company did before cell phones.

I had to catch a bus to Konya at 8am, the hotel was some distance from the bus station so I went out early looking for a minibus to get me there in time. Ya gotta love the city before anyone wakes up.

Bus baggage.

This was part of the bus station grounds, first lawn I have seen.

Between Karaman and Konya.

I know very bad pic but look at that mountain back there.

Mosque near the Konya bus station.

Wacky buildings.

Konya bus station, I thought it was a stadium before we pulled in.

As I remember it I had not completely decided where I was going from Konya. When one of the bus hawkers asked I  had to choose so he would know what the heck to do with me. “Aksaray”  it’s on the way, sorta,  to Cappadocia. This hawker was not working for the correct company, he turned pointed and called someone’s name. When I saw a man come out of the group he had pointed out I walked that way. “Where are you going?”  This guy looked like  Santa Claus’ brother,  I would have followed him anywhere, ok maybe not anywhere but with those laughing eyes, warm smile and silver gray hair. Whew! be still my heart. I told him Aksaray, he nodded then asked where I was from. If I have a dime for every time I was asked I would have this trip more than paid for. Cool way to pay off an adventure.

Around the corner to the ticket counter. Some where along  the way I started thinking having seat four (the one next to the door in front of the bus was more important than many things. The guy behind the counter said something to Santa’s brother ( let’s call him Bob). Bob looked at me “10:00 bus finish to Aksaray, 11:00?”  I was surprised, “finished? full? wow? hmmm.”  I saw the sign behind him (I no longer attempt the names of the towns) I pointed. He said “Goreme?” I nodded knowing it is in Cappadocia,  The ticket guy said something,   Bob said something to me I didn’t understand, a map of the bus seats appeared in his hand “four?”  I am such a silly child some days, I started clapping and laughing. Bob and the ticket guy seemed pleased with the reaction. This is where I noticed there were several men glancing our direction…maybe seven. Bob said to me “Me the teacher” then he switched to  Turkish, I didn’t understand. He repeated the Turkish phrase, and said again “Me Turkish teacher.” I nodded and repeated  his Turkish  as best I could. All nine of those guys laughed. OK,  what is the joke gang. Bob decided to tell me,  he repeated the phrase then switched to English “I love you”  I looked at the men laughing around me and said to the ticket guy “I walked right in to that one.”  Bob was very pleased with himself, ya gotta wonder how many gals he pulls this trick on. It  may be very few chicks are as comfortable as I am with the bus guys…they really are a hoot and helpful.

“Tea?”  “Yes, please”

My ticket and tea in hand I found a seat, Bob sat across from me. He is married with seven children, two of them married. He is a Turkish Whirling Dervish dancer. When the tea was gone he took the glasses and disappeared, musta had to go back to work. Nice guy, fun and friendly, most of them are, they just wanna chat cause I will.

Everyone was in the bus ready to go,  the door closed…..nothing. I was confused cause most times the bus is moving with the door open and the attendant guy is outside someplace. At the stroke of 11am there was a horn sorta sound coming from the bus station, the bus moved..I looked to my left…there were no fewer then 11 buses backing up at the same time. One by one they turned and pulled forward, the attendant guys from three of  the buses in front of mine hopped out the back door, ran hell bent for leather to the gate, paid the duty to the bus station and manged to hop back on the correct bus before it was out the gate. It was something to watch. I have no idea why the bus I was on did not pay duty, maybe each bus station has a company with hub and they don’t pay. I should ask someday over tea.

There is a whole lot of nothing between Konya and Goreme. The driver on two occasions mimed wind, said it blows all the time. This was after he heard the camera click.

Working on the road the world over, cool clouds.

Lots and lots of nothing.

I saw a deer road crossing sign so I kept my eyes peeled for antelope.

Look green!! Someone must be about.

Whew, I found the mountains again.

Mountains and water,  things are looking up.

Another in the endless road series.

First photo of Goreme, one of the towns in the Cappadocia area.

The bus drops you pretty much here. I saw a big sign which said “Information” ,  good place to start. I had the name of a hotel someone recommended, I no longer remember who or where.  While I was looking at the info on the walls in the info place, waiting for someone to show up, someone did but he said he was not the info guy. He asked me the name of my hotel. I showed him the paper I had it written on. He dialed the phone, most of the accommodation had a free shuttle to and from the bus stop. No answer, he dialed another number, got an answer and said they would be along in 5 mins. He then mentioned he was the tour operator from across the way, if I wanted to I could go have a chat with him when I was ready. My mind was pretty much on the shower/bed thing so I waited for the hotel guy.

Several cars went past, two even stopped but only one stopped right in front of me. There was no label on  the car, nor did the driver say where he was from, but in some way I understood he was the guy who came for me. He stopped the car walking distance from the bus stop, sorta up a hill. He pointed down the hill to another accommodation place, he said that was the place I had on my paper but it is closed so this is the other one of  the same owner.

The view was amazing but the minute I walked in I knew it was out of my price range. They showed me a small room with a nice bath and bars on the window (gotta wonder why) I think it was a cave room. They wanted 65euro..ish..to much. The lady offered to let me look around a bit and come back it nothing else was suitable for a price.

I didn’t walk far, up and over the rise in the hill. I didn’t see a sign to tell me the name the place, nor did I know if it was open. I went up a flight of stairs and found a room with glass walls, tables, a HUGE view and two people talking. “Are you open.” The gentlemen said “Yes.”  “Do you have a room I can afford?”  “Yes, would you like to see.”  “How much?” He said “45”  I looked at him and  the lady he was with, “45lira?”  The lady at the table said “45 lira.” She sounded American.

I took my bags and followed the guy down the stairs to the 45 lira room. It was wonderful bigger window with no bars. I dropped my bag and said “I will take it.”  he laughed at me and asked my name “Annette”  “Vulcan”  I musta squished up my face he repeated the name and then added “Like a Volcano.” I nodded thinking yeah like Spook from Star Trek’s home world, Vulcan.

One of the guys running the place asked for my passport while Vulcan went to get me tea. During tea the guy with my passport took out a map of Cappadocia, asked me if I had any idea of what I wanted to do, when I said no he made suggestions for things I could do free and or alone and those things which were better done with a tour group. It was wonderful to have his thoughts and ideas.

I wanted to see the underground city, when he told me the same tour does a walking bit in the Ihlara Canyon I was in. I told him please the underground city tomorrow, this way I do not have to think.

Unless you have traveled as I do, ya don’t know that every moment you are making a choice, where to do I go, what do I do  while there, where will I stay, how to I get there, where do I get food, …it’s constant, so every once in awhile going with a tour group is fine with me cause..I don’t have to think. They tell me when to be where, teach me something and feed me, hell they picked me up at the hotel.

There are two, three sometimes five family members running this place, it’s called SOS Cave Hotel. I have traveled a fair amount and these guys understand hospitality without the intrusion. They want nothing but to help you with anything you need. I am starting to sound like an advertisement, for those of you reading the blog for information, stay at the SOS Cave Hotel when in Goreme,  they have a web site.

When tea and conversation was over I thanked the map guy and told Vulcan I was off for a walk, I needed to move and I wanted to see some of the rock before dark. He told me to follow the road and wander all I wanted there was no way to get lost cause the canyons all come back here.

I was headed that way, this is from SOS’s terrace.

See the face?

Shapes and colors.

The sun was setting and it was threatening to rain thus the clouds and color.

Mistletoe? or something like it.

For the sake of art.

I  had dinner that night with Vulcan, his cousin and the gal from America (Cali). I ate what they put in front of me, they can cook,  all the food was yummy.  It was wonderful to sit with them chatting like a new family member. The gal from Cali had been here in Sept and came back she liked it so much. Man, we chatted for hours, I think I  finally got to bed about 11. The bed, holy hannah the bed was comfy, I ended up staying two days longer cause I was loving  that bed so much.

Alrighty, let us go see the Underground City and Ihlara Canyon.

Foot Note?

Filed under: Kind Strangers,Turkey — she_travels at 12:57 pm on Monday, March 1, 2010

I landed here (Ufra) after 9 hours in a bus. The otogar (bus station)  is some distance for the centrum (center of town) and all I saw were taxis in the lot on the way in…no dolmus (minbus).

The first person I asked said “no dolmus….taxi”. If you have not heard me say this before,  taxi drivers the world over are extortionist , I avoid them like nothing else on the planet. I would rather walk 6 miles as to pay a taxi.

I asked how much. He said 7lira…when he left the guy next to him pointed out the door and said ” Dolmus”..huh? ” How much? ” He said 1lira.

Ok so either the 1st guy didn’t know or….. I walked out of the building the way he pointed, I didn’t see any dolmus…hmm there must be a trick. A gentleman walking to me musta noticed my confusion. “Where are you going?” I said “Is there a dolmus to the centrum?” At the same moment he pointed to the otogar gate I understood. There are no dolmis in the otogar but if ya walk out to the road,  easy peasy.

I was stopped by a taxi guy on the way out “Taxi lady?”  “No thanks, Dolmus” He grinned  when two other guys came up saying “Taxi”  I stood there for a minute shaking my head when one of the guys said “7 lira”  I shook my head saying “To much money, Dolmus  is 1 lira.”  Ya know instead of walking off in a huff they laughed with me understanding I had figured out the trick.

Some one behind me musta heard my English “Where are you going?” I turned seeing two very cute 20 something guys looking at me.  “The dolmus to the centrum.” One of them said “This way.”  These guys talked to me all the way to the main road, flagged the bus and said good night.

I was not in the bus three minutes before a guy of  maybe 30 sat down in front of me. I don’t even know how it happen but he paid my 1 lira and started talking, he was with a friend on his way to the hospital to see a family member, he works in Marmaris  during the season, his girlfriend is British.  When he found out I was in my way to the centrum to find a hotel, he took me under his wing until we found a suitable spot. He was very concerned in the beginning of the adventure cause he only knew of three hotels and all were over 100lira. EEK.

His friend called a friend hoping to get some help…I had my guide book in my bag but they seemed to be having so much fun I didn’t want to take it away from them. Accepting help is a art form, it took me years to learn so..I let them have it.

In the end I spotted something which looked like what we were after on the way to one of  the expensive places. The guy with the British girlfriend talked to the guy in the hotel…20 lira, the bathroom is down the hall but no worries there.

I tell ya, no guide book needed in this land. The people are far to happy to help just cause ya need it.

I was so taken aback by the kindness of these people I had to say something tonight.

OK..back to out regularly scheduled program. Karaman to Groeme.