A Bittersweet Adventure
by Fred Moore - June 2007
Today is a bittersweet adventure; our very good friends Jim and Chelly are
making their last long weekend trip in Turkey. It's bittersweet because they
are still holding tight to their many memories of the past seven years living
here and now having this one last adventure before moving on to new explorations
This, our last adventure with our friends is bittersweet for us as well; we'll continue our live here but with a vacancy in our group discussions and decisions of where to venture next. It has been our great pleasure to travel with these two very similar hearts filled with a passion for discovery and further cultural education. We've had some hilarious times together as we supported each other and harassed one another over places to visit, people to see and things to do. Our similar interests have made the past several years more fulfilling and far more fun as we collectively discovered and walked through ancient ruins and visited multiple carpet shops in our joint pursuit of our passions and education.
Our weekend this time starts as we leave Adana around 3 in the afternoon. We drive through a golden landscape with combines harvesting grain on both sides of the road. We see herds of cows, flocks of sheep and herds of goats grazing along our route. We're going to begin our trip with another overnight stay at the Sezer Motel in the mountains above Pozanti this evening. You will remember this motel includes dinner and breakfast; it's located in a beautiful setting as tranquil as any place set away from the hustle and bustle of city life. The motel is only an hour and a half from Adana!
Jim pulls the van off the road into the parking lot at the foot of the motel; we ascend 15 or 20 steps to the raised patio fronting the motel. We leave the appropriate identification at the desk and we're led to our rooms. We leave the main building taking another bank of stairs to a building just behind up a few more steps. Once inside our host (Kasim) starts up yet another flight of stairs; we beg him for rooms on this floor. We realize the view from the third and top floor will be awesome but stairs and 'old' folks just don't belong in the same sentence!
Kasim relents and says, 'just one minute'; he leaves us and goes for keys to these rooms on the ground floor. In what seems a flash, he's back and we get adjoining rooms facing the parking area, overlooking the main building. Each room has a large (queen) bed and a single bed, along with plenty of room for even a family.
Everyone wants to relax and we all settle into our own mode; Carol and I choose to walk back to the patio outside the main building and enjoy the afternoon air. We settle into plastic armchairs around a plastic table; the patio has probably twenty of these. The breeze through the trees, the occasional car or truck on the road out front and the stream rushing past between the road and the parking area make this a most relaxing location. The sun has advanced on its journey west far enough so the mountain across the road has taken its bright rays from our perch. This is a most beautiful escape from the heat of Adana.
Kasim has come out to offer us refreshments, Carol opts for tea and I get a glass of cherry juice. Carol is reading a book and I simply consume the sights and sounds of the wilds around me. Jim and Chelly are relaxing in their room.
I fear I repeat myself often in this setting but again, the mountains are just shear gray/brown rock faces protruding from the earth, skirted with multi-colored green forestation interspersed with summer homes and year round villages. As I sit here contemplating the day, I scan the landscape around me. There must be 4, 5 maybe 7 shades of green on my panorama; there are willow, poplar and evergreen trees, grasses both wild and domestic along with grain fields waving in the breeze. The mountain out in front of me looks as though one could reach out and touch it; it's brown, gray, white and black with green vegetation popping out at will across its face. The cliffs are pock marked by the passing of the ages and there are crags, crevices and caves along with rockslide debris all across my view.
Here's Jim and Chelly, must be time to go inside for dinner. We could actually have dinner on the patio but we opt to go inside away from the bugs. Communing with nature is one thing as we relax and enjoy the mountain air but something very different when it comes to eating. Our dinner choices are fresh fish or chicken, Jim gets the fish the rest of us get chicken. We enjoy great food, great service, pleasant conversation and plenty of each. After dinner we simply retire to our rooms and call it a day.
What a restful sleep! We had the windows open all night and the mountain air was crisp and clean; this morning I opt for a walk around the grounds of the motel. I'm always up far earlier than my traveling companions but I'm a morning person and I truly enjoy greeting the day by watching the sun rise. I walk something over a mile to work each morning and enjoy the sounds of a waking day. I slip out of the room as quietly as I can and walk down to the rushing stream and then up to the soccer field above the main building. The sun has begun its climb out from behind the high mountain that is a backdrop for this motel complex. I return to the front patio and settle into an armchair to take in the splendor of the landscape and the day about to unfold before my senses. In this environment all of the senses are stimulated: sight, hearing, touch, smell and yes, even taste.
As the sun crests the mountain behind me it brings the mountain before me to life; it's a wash in sunlight and the shades of green from last night seem far less distinct this morning. The traffic on the road is quite steady in both directions as people make their way out and about, some to work others for pleasure. The air is still quite cool and my short sleeve shirt is almost not enough as I simply sit and consume the riches before me. The stream races by and seems more prominent in the morning calm.
There goes a large bird across my panoramic scene, looks like a hawk or maybe a falcon on the prowl for breakfast. Here too, in front of me, are two treetops from the trees that front the parking area below. There are a number of small birds coming and going through their branches carrying small bits of what appear to be nest-making materials. They all seem to be flying into the eves of the patio roof above me.
Talk about getting away for the weekend; the sights and sounds of nature abound here and induce a trance. I close my eyes and find I can be anywhere with anyone, the world simply dissolves and my subconscious builds my imaginary world. I open my eyes after a time and find two pigeons playing tag on the hillside across the road. They playfully soar across my sight line and disappear into one crack or crevice then reappear to repeat the performance once more somewhere else on the cliff. On the parking lot below I see two more birds, small gray/blue, enjoying the morning with play; these two appear to be dancing as they fly up a few inches from the ground and drop again. I wonder to myself, are they in a mating dance or are they simply annoying one another.
There, just across the road, an older man riding a horse; he is probably on the way to his field for the day's toil. He could be headed for a vineyard, one of the apple orchards or simply a field to cultivate a crop, it's all here in this valley. Agriculture abounds throughout the area and all of it takes a great deal of hard work. As I watch the gentleman move across the scenery on the other side of the road, he tugs the horse's rein and directs him down to toward the stream, then he disappears from my view.
Oh, right on the table in front of me, a little bird with a beak full of building material; I can see this little guy has interior decorating on his schedule for today. I can't tell if he's one from earlier or not but it's obvious today is build, mend or decorate day. As I look up from the table a dolmus (a shared bus) has stopping out front; an older lady gets out carrying a large tote bag and walks off down a lane toward the stream.
Kasim finds me enjoying the morning and offers me tea or coffee, I thank him but decline both as I wait for the others and breakfast. It has to be nearly time to eat; I've been lost in this enchanted world for over an hour. The thought no more than fades from my mind and my companions appear. I join them inside for a leisurely Turkish breakfast. Jim and Carol enjoy an omelet, Chelly has hard-boiled eggs and I simply enjoy the traditional Turkish fare without any eggs.
After a full and well-presented meal, Jim and I go to clear our bills. The evening with both dinner and breakfast is 100 TL. We've had another wonderful, relaxing stay.
We pull away from the motel and head north on the winding two-lane road that skirts the stream that meanders through this lush green valley. We're headed for Camardi but too we're looking for a side road to a little carpet community called - Yahyali. Carol and I have several Yahyali carpets and want to see the town they come from; Yahyali has been producing carpets and kilims for more than a century. You must know by now nearly all our trips involve the pursuit of knowledge about Turkish carpets and kilims.
As always the air is crisp and clear above the Cukurova Plain but the landscape
around us is far more lush and green today than usual; there's been a lot of
rain up here lately. The greens of the meadows and orchards seem greener and
the sheer black mountain spires seem richer; the contrast between the past and
the present is notable. The blue sky above these meadows and mountains adds
brilliance to nature's vast canvas of color today.
After about an hour, we begin looking for our side road, a route we're not familiar with. You will remember Turkish maps don't always lend a serious helping hand in these pursuits; not all roads are shown on the maps we're found. Oh, there's our turn, we've passed it right by, we'll have to turn around up ahead where we can find a place. Here, we'll turn around here; it's a wider spot in the road with the added benefit of a field entrance. We return to our desired road, make the turn and then almost immediately have to make another decision on whether to again turn left or go on straight-ahead up into a small village. This will be a fate call because there is no sign to indicate which way is appropriate. Many times in this country we make route decisions on a hunch, we'll soon see how right we are. The road straight ahead ascends slightly into a village and we opt for the left turn that appears to circle the village. We also decide on the left turn because it seems like a better road surface and it's going in the right direction (more or less), since it appears to curve around the hillside the village is perched upon.
As I said, we never traveled this way before so this road takes us on to new discoveries. There's plenty of open country out here and the fields are richly endowed. Oh no, this is not good; I'm beginning to question our choice of routes. This road has taken a noticeable downturn, as the surface becomes one pothole after another. Jim takes extra precautions trying to maneuver through and between the ever-increasing deterioration of road surface beneath the van. Thankfully we only have to endure this lack of road surface for a few kilometers and we come to an improved asphalt roadway. It has become obvious now that our choice of roadway is not going to get us to Yahyali in the 36 kilometers the sign indicated at the outset of our first turn. It doesn't really matter, the day is young and the landscape before us is breath taking.
We're making a left curve here and I ask Jim to stop the van, the valley stretched
out from the edge of the road to the mountain on the horizon is beautiful and
I want a photograph. Jim decides to stretch his legs while I photograph the
valley. On our way once more, the road turns toward the mountain and we raise
and fall with the landscape as we press forward. We may have missed it or as
is more likely the case, there was no sign to point our way. We're not concerned
however because we are seeing another beautiful part of this country.
It's interesting: on the plains around Adana the fields of grain were golden and farmers were harvesting as we left for the mountains but up here everything is still very green. There won't be any harvesting here for several months. As we continue our drive through this area we pass through stand after stand of apple orchards. We see one small village after another tucked away on the hillsides at the foot of the mountains. The mountains above the hills we drive through are solid and barren rock. They stand majestically against the powder blue sky above. We stop a few times as we enter this small village and then the next; we want to ensure we're actually still headed for our chosen destination. Each time I ask a local gentleman if we're still headed for Yahyali, they respond yes and say 'doru', meaning 'straight' as they motion down the road. Once more we come to a main highway and there's a service station across the highway - we decide to stop and stretch after the long drive through the country.
Oh, here's a real reward for choosing to stop here; there's a stork sitting in a nest just behind the station!! We've never seen a nest this low. Usually they're on very high power poles - this one is almost close enough to reach out and touch. We can only just see the stork's head above the rim of the huge nest. I take a few photos; we decide to watch the stork for a few minutes while we relax from the long drive. Minutes into our observation, the stork stands up in the nest and appears to be feeding its young although we can't see anything below its rim.
Isn't it funny, this nest is a condominium. There are many small birds flying
in and out of the sides and bottom of the massive construction (it must be a
meter across); they all share a home inside the nest, we believe. I'm no ornithologist
but I'm going to call the stork, a female. She stretches her neck fully and
begins to jerk ever so slightly; this appears to be regurgitation because after
a moment of motion she plunges her long orange beak into the nest and we all
conclude she's feeding her young. What a wonderful encounter this morning!
Before we get on our way Carol asks a station attendant about Yahyali; once more we get the response, 'doru', pointing us in the correct direction out on the highway. We discover out on the road we're only a few kilometers from our goal; it turns out our trip has been 55 kilometers instead of the 36 indicated on the sign back on the valley road. We feel like we probably should have taken the road over the hill and through the village back where we started. It doesn't really matter; we're on no timetable and our drive was through beautiful new countryside.
Yahyali is a community of 25,000 people, quite a bit larger than we had anticipated it might be. I had though Yahyali would be much like Taspinar, just a small village. We're here to find and visit two carpet shops on the main street. The first one we come to is Parlak Yahyali Halicilik; it's not open but there's a gentleman passing by and he says he'll get the owner, we should wait a few minutes. He disappears up the street and minutes later Nedim comes to open the shop. It's a small shop but well presented with several stacks of pieces, both carpet and kilim. Nedim inquires into our interest and then begins to throw pieces out into the center of the shop.
We proceed down the street in search of the other carpet shop we've been told is here and we don't go far at all; there on the same side of the street is Motif Hali & Kilim. We park the van at the curb and go inside. This shop is far larger than the last and has two separate large halls. We begin in the first hall with Fatih showing us new production pieces; we looked at several pieces but quickly moved over to the used carpet hall as Fatih sees our taste doesn't fit in this part of his shop. We're once again surrounded by stacks of beautiful Turkish art; carpets and kilims are simply masterpieces for the floor. This hall has a number of older carpets and kilims hung on the walls. It's amazing to me; just when you think you've seen it all, there's a whole room full of classic pieces even more masterfully made than anything you've seen before.
Jim has discovered a stack he must see and on his own initiative begins to pull out one piece after another for a better look. After searching the stack, Jim has found six or eight carpets he wants a better look at. To do that, we take them out into the day's bright sunlight. One should never buy a carpet or kilim in obscure lighting no matter how bright it appears. True color only comes to your eye in natural light, repairs are far more evident in natural light and wear is more noticeable as well. Unfortunately some dealers understand this concept and would rather you didn't look too closely.
Another hour has marched away and we're not making progress here, these pieces are very fine examples of Turkish tradition but they require decisions we're not willing to make today. We thank Fatih for his refreshments and his show of carpets and retreat to the van leaving all these pieces where we found them. Many times we walk away thinking we should not be leaving this piece or that one behind but you simply have to draw the line somewhere. There are still pieces in my past I know I should have had but there will be pieces in the further to consider as well, so we go forward and don't look back.
Back on the highway now, we head toward Develi where we can make a turn toward Urgup for lunch. In Urgup there's been a tragic rockslide (killing three people) and the streets down town have been re-routed making our usual way into the city a little more congested than usual. We go to our usual restaurant for lunch but it seems different and we find it has been taken over; we're not at all happy with the change although the food is 'OK'. After this little disappointment we go on to Goreme to our home away from home - The Ottoman House. We take our bags inside and hang up our clothes; we agreed to meet in the lobby in fifteen minutes.
With our things taken care of we meet Jim and Chelly down stairs and load back into the van to go to Avanos. From here on Jim and Chelly are visiting with old friends at a number of carpet shops to bid them farewell. Our first stop is Galerie Yoruk where we visit with Ali; this is a shop with some very lovely older carpets and kilims, many one of a kind. Ali unfurls several old carpets he has recently acquired; one of them is emblazoned with the Hittite double eagle motif, very unusual. He also shows us a prayer carpet with a cemetery field, this is a fine old example and one that should adorn the walls of a museum, in our opinion.
Ali is busy with a number of customers so after a short visit Jim and Chelly say their goodbyes and we go down the street to other shops. Chelly buys a couple pieces of pottery in one shop (Avanos is famous for pottery) where the owner demonstrates the durability of her pottery by throwing it on the floor. I don't think she feels she made her point though because now she's standing on the piece and insists I too stand on it to show its strength. It's quite difficult to stand on a round clay pot too!
After Avanos we return to Goreme to have dinner at Le' Orient. Jim has rack of lamb, Chelly has a beef filet, Carol has SOMETHING and I simply have bread and soup (I'm not feeling very well). The restaurant service lacks attention (in my opinion) and it appears only one man is serving this afternoon; the place is very busy so it slows things down even more. We spend an hour or so talking about our day and what we've done then we return to our hotel for the evening; we've had a very full day.
My morning starts early as usual; I dress and go to the terrace to greet the day. The sky looks quite angry this morning; it's black and filled with jagged strings of solid gold lightening. There are occasional thunder claps off in the distance and more lightening across the sky; there won't be the usual parade of balloons in the sky today. Now it's beginning to rain, ever so gently and it has the morning crew running around outside the terrace covering to collect table clothes from the tables lining the edge of the roof.
The dark weather has lasted less than an hour while I sit waiting on my fellow travelers to join me for breakfast. Once breakfast is complete we make our way down out of the hotel and into the van, we plan to start our day at the open-air museum shop. We rarely come to Goreme without a stop at this shop of handicrafts from all over Turkey. Today I buy a cane; it's a 'Devrek', a very fine hand crafted stick. We also look at a carpet that is a copy of the oldest one ever found; it's the Pazyryk design. The Pazyryk Carpet was found in Siberia frozen in a tomb that was excavated in the late forties, it's a very unique motif. It looks as if it were a board game and there is some literature to back that up but no one knows for sure. This copy is very close to the original in design but a foot smaller all around; it's also $2,700 and well beyond what I'm willing to pay.
Now, we're off to Urgup to see our friend Murat at Le Bazaar D'Orient. We park in front of Murat's shop and go inside. I spot a very nice cane as I enter the shop and make a point to ask about it; it's Turkman with inlaid silver and brass and comes apart in three places for easy storage and transport. I inquire after the price and decide it must join my cane collection. Simultaneously, Murat is rolling out his newest collection of sale items. This is a shop that simply should not be overlooked if you visit Urgup.
Murat has been visiting Uzbekistan and has returned with some most interesting handicrafts from there. He's showing us some extremely fine ceremonial sashes or belts made with very intricate detail in muted colors. It's obvious these pieces were rich and bold color many years ago but they have mellowed well and have become extraordinary old textiles now. He's also unfurling some aged Urgup carpets with fine detail and muted colors. Again I have to say, these are something new to us, even after twenty plus years of viewing carpets. We're never disappointed in our visit to Murat's shop; we get a new appreciation for carpets and other textiles every time we stop.
I've brought an old carpet with me today that Carol and I purchased in 1983 in Ankara. This piece needs serious repair and I've asked Murat if he can tell me what it is. We've already shown it to one shop owner and he had NO idea what the piece was. Murat hesitates only briefly and is thrilled to see we own a Kemalia. We've seen just two in our years of getting a carpet education; Murat is quite taken with the rich blue of the central field in the carpet and the floral pattern of the piece. He takes a moment to educate us further; this is a rare Turkish design as it takes its pattern from the Persian carpets in and around Esfahan in Iran. We ask Murat if he feels the piece can be repaired (we know all pieces can be, but some aren't worth the cost), I suggest a dollar figure he counters 'maybe, but probably some less than that'; we decide to leave a deposit and the piece with him. The repair will take 4 to 6 months and we have the time, I tell Murat not to rush it.
Jim and Chelly offer their farewells and we tell Murat we'll return. We leave the shop and step next door; Jim & Chelly know this shop owner as well and want to say goodbye to him too. While in this shop we meet another shop owner and Jim wants us to visit his shop today as well. We look at several things in this shop and drink more tea but leave empty handed. We load into the van and drive up to Hakan Hand-Made Carpet's & Kilim's; not sure why both of those words are spelled in the possessive but I'll leave them that way as that's how the business card reads.
This is a small shop up a short flight of stairs, as we enter we see a number of old pieces and meet Hakan's brother and cousin. Hakan has sold to Jim and Chelly over the years and they wanted us to meet him and see his collection. Here at Hakan's shop we're right across the street from that tragic rockslide. It appears the entire face of the hill collapsed onto the buildings below. Hakan was somewhat distressed that the slide took place three months ago and nothing has been done to clear it or open the street in front of his shop; there is some concern more of the hillside could come down. At the angle of the shop from the hillside we can see behind on of the buildings damaged and there are several huge boulders the size of my car back there!
Back to the showing of carpets and kilims, Hakan shows us several pieces and pulls a book from the shelf to highlight his fortune of having a carpet or kilim that represents the catalog piece in the book. Hakan has several lovely pieces but we buy nothing today. Jim and Chelly offer their thanks and goodbyes, we ask Hakan about a place for lunch. He motions to a place at the foot of his steps, Han Ciragan Restaurant. Once more we offer our thanks and descend the steps into the restaurant below. We pick a table in the shade but the tablecloth is very wet, several others have a similar problem. We finally settle for one half shaded but with a fairly dry tablecloth; they've been washing down the walls of the patio and got water everywhere.
A young lady brings us a large bottle of water, menus, plates and flatware, then retreats. We talk about our day to this point and about what we'll do next. It's quite awhile and I begin to think we've been stood up; I think we've made a serious error in judgment stopping here. No, wait, here comes a lad with a huge tray of appetizers; we decide on about half of those presented for us. One of them is a zucchini patty; it's ground zucchini made patty style then coated and fried, oh my, it's great; we opt for another order before lunch is finished. We've decided this place goes on our list of good restaurants, it will be visited again.
Now we're off to Uchisar to visit with our friend Taner at Ala Turca; the sky again has become dark and ominous, it's going rain again. We stop at Taner's shop and find he has moved (we knew he was going to and now he has). On our way to his new location, a kilim catches our eye at another shop; we have to stop. This is Yedek Tribal Textile, it's a little shop with high stacks of bags and kilms. We have several pieces thrown out onto the floor and decide to think about them, we promise to return and get on our way.
Taner is now located at the foot of the castle at Uchisar. It has begun to rain pretty heavily as we pull in to park, Jim and Carol dash through the storm to the door of the building, Chelly and I stay put to wait it out. Well that certainly didn't work out as we anticipated. We though it would die down in a few minutes, wrong; it got far worse. As Chelly and I sit in the van the rain intensifies and then turns to hail! Chelly says, 'it sounds as if we're sitting in a popcorn popper'. We're looking at the car next to us and this is pea size hail and it's coming down very forcefully; I wonder to myself if it's going to break a window, it's so strong. We're sitting in the van for twenty minutes before it lets up a little and we dash for cover into the shop. Taner's new shop is much larger and contains copper, brass, coins, and wood objects as well as carpets and kilims.
Taner greets us graciously and offers refreshments. A very small, very active puppy also greets us; he races from one end of the shop to the other. I stoop down to give him a greeting and he rolls over for a belly rub, then he playfully bites at my hand; his teeth are very sharp. We do a walk through of Taner's new shop, there must be six or eight adjoining rooms and it's arranged very nicely. We settle into a back room and Taner shows us several of his new pieces; Carol and I spot a kilim we must have, we get the price and it's ours. We also purchase a couple of flower design wood fabric stamps that are quite striking. During the course of conversation, we ask how the new location is working for Taner, he says he's doing very well and wished he'd moved some years ago. This space has always been in the family, he's been using it as storage for the last several years. Should you visit the Uchisar Castle area, Taner's shop is a must see!
Once more Jim and Chelly offer their farewells to an old friend and we retreat to get on with our afternoon. We drive away and return to Yedek just around the corner; this time, to buy the pieces we had left earlier. We can't spend much time here because we have a dinner date with friends. We head back to Goreme and visit with Hasan at Rose Carpet. Hasan is another old friend Jim and Chelly have known for their full tour in country. Hasan's shop has some nice pieces, both carpets and kilims and he maintains reasonable prices.
This afternoon Hasan is entertaining some gentlemen and we simply settle down to see what they're looking at. It's always a pleasure to see what others are buying and we very much enjoy the show. Hasan spends several minutes making a pile of pieces on the floor in front of us while explaining each piece's origin. Once he's through he tells his visitors he will now take up all of those he has thrown down and price them as he removes them. He also encourages them to simply say the word and he'll put the piece aside they wish to see again.
Once the stack has been removed from the display area we interrupt so Jim and Chelly can say goodbye. We tell Hasan we must get going because of our dinner date. We leave Hasan and make our way to the hotel to meet our friends Don and Jill for dinner. Jill has assured us we're in for a real treat tonight; we're going to Kose, a Cappadocia Pansion for a three-course meal. Jill has told us about this place many times but up until now we've never made the dinner. She has gone ahead earlier in the day and made our reservation for tonight; she has also explained that dinner is a set menu. Therefore, tonight we have made specific plans to eat with Jill and Don. Here they are now; we discuss whether to walk or drive, we decide to drive. We go out to the van and follow behind them as they drive to the pansion.
As we discover its location we're glad we didn't decide to walk. Oh, it's not that far I guess, but we're old and it's at the far end of the tour shops and restaurants from The Ottoman House. Jill has come here often and knows the routine, so we follow her lead. Reservations must be made in advance (before 1:00, I believe she said); the dinner is 10 TL plus drinks and tip. Tonight's dinner is a stew cooked in a small clay bowl, there is a salad and borek to start us off and ice cream over fruit to top it all off. We find the food quite good and look forward to a return engagement.
After dinner Don and Jill tell us about the road out away from the pansion, a different way from how we came in, so we again follow them out. Once we're gotten out on the main road again, we go our way and they go theirs. We make our way over to Tribal Collections to visit with Ruth and Faruk for a little while. We've just missed Ruth, she's gone for night; no matter, we'll see her tomorrow. We spend about an hour looking at the newest collection of camel bags Faruk has acquired for resale. All of these are lovely but we buy nothing; Jim and Chelly do buy another salt bag though.
This has been a very exhausting day so Jim and Chelly offer their farewell to Faruk and we retreat to our hotel for the night. Besides, Jim and Chelly have signed up to fly (their going to go on a balloon ride) in the morning and want a good night's rest.
It's 5:30 and I'm wide awake, I decide to dress and go up to the terrace and watch for Jim and Chelly to ascend in their designated balloon. They've been picked up here at the hotel this morning at 5:00 for their flight, so I should be able to see their lift off in just a few minutes. I scan the horizon to the east of the hotel where the balloons usually begin their ascent; in just a few minutes I begin to see balloon canopies expanding and rising above the buildings. I'm looking for the Sultan balloon; it's the company Jim and Chelly have been booked with. Ah, there, just to the right of my viewing vista the Sultan is expanding and rising ever so slightly. There are sixteen balloons in the sky already, the Sultan appears a little behind the takeoff window but there it is, it's up now and it's moving north following the hills toward Avanos. I don't get to follow its progress; it drifts out of my line of sight quite quickly.
I spend my time sweeping the sky for views of our friends, no luck, I know they're up there somewhere and only hope they're enjoying their flight experience. We were told the return from the flight would be at 8:00. I decide to go for a walk in the village and wait for Jim and Chelly to return so we can enjoy breakfast together. After I return to the hotel I take several photos of the sky filled with balloons to pass on to Jim and Chelly.
It's nearly eight now and Carol has joined me on the terrace. I hear a van turning the corner down the street and go to the edge of the roof to investigate; it's pulling to a stop in front of the hotel, there they are Jim and Chelly in one piece, HaHaHa! I snap a photo of their triumphant return and speak to them over the edge of the roof. In just minutes they join us for breakfast, Chelly is animated in her enthusiasm for the adventure, saying they should not have put off this Cappadocia attraction for so very long. She says too, that had they done this far earlier in their visits to the area they would have done it many more times. I don't get the same sense of excitement from Jim.
Chelly assures us that we've missed a tremendous opportunity and tells us we must do this on another trip, Jim agrees it's worth the cost. Chelly also tells us, in her opinion, the only challenge to balloon flight is getting into the basket! They tell us they were in a basket with eighteen other people; people from Spain, Russia, Japan and Britain. Chelly says they raised some 5,000 feet; she said she thought Jim went a little ashen at that altitude; he looked fine at breakfast, HaHaHa.
Once the excitement of the balloon flight died away we began talking about our day's plan. Jim and Chelly have a few more friends to see before we leave from their final trip to Cappadocia. Our first stop is Tribal Collections to visit with Ruth since we missed her the night before. She offers us refreshments and we visit for about an hour. Jim and Chelly say their farewell and we begin to leave, but wait, Chelly wants some pumice stone. Hasan, the man who works for Ruth & Faruk says he has plenty of pumice at home and we should simply take some from him, no charge. We load into the van with Hasan to show us the way; we weave our way up some very narrow passageways to the top of the hills and find ourselves at Hasan's home. In the courtyard is a pile of pumice stone and he offers Chelly the stone of her choice, picking up several very large pieces to demonstrate their lightweight, there are many different sizes to pick from; before we leave Carol too gets one of her very own.
While searching out just the right stone, several ladies appear hawking hand crafted head scarves; Carol and Chelly of course have to have one a piece, they only have twenty of them already at home. Hasan isn't real happy with this turn of events but no matter, both Carol and Chelly are pleased to buy the beautiful handwork offered them. With the stones and the headscarves we load back into the van to retrace our route back down to the carpet shop to drop off Hasan.
Just down the way and around the corner from Tribal Collections is another shop owner Jim and Chelly want us to meet. The name of the shop escapes me currently but it's run by two gentlemen named Ali; there's old Ali (he knows the old pieces) and young Ali. The shop has an initial large room and then a much larger room behind that, we go into the very back and visit for a while as we look at some very nice offerings. We spend a half hour maybe more but come away with nothing. Jim and Chelly say there farewells and we move on.
There's a UFO Museum in the valley just minutes away and Jim has always wanted to visit so we check it out. We've seen the sign for the place every time we've visited here because you must pass it to get to the open air museum. Jim pulls the van up in front of the building and the ladies pass on the opportunity to visit. Jim and I ascend the steps and pay the fee to enter; I don't really know what I expected to encounter (like that word) but it's not what I expected. There are halls lined with literature, and more literature and more literature; every Turkish newspaper and many of the prominent world magazines must be represented here. If there are two hundred articles there must be two thousand! UFO sightings from around the globe are documented here; I saw articles addressing Presidents Carter and Ford not to mention world leaders from numerous countries. Should you be at all interested in furthering your in-depth knowledge of all things un-explained in the heavens, this is your library; bring lunch, your visit will require many hours.
With that curiosity settled we get on to lunch at the Cappadocia Kebab Center
just up the street from Tribal Collection. We've eaten here before and it great
food at a great price. Jim has their spaghetti plate; Chelly has Iskender kabob,
while Carol and I enjoy chicken donor kabobs. This is a tiny little place, nothing
fancy but the food is fast and plentiful. This tops off our weekend, we get
back to the van and head home.
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