Since we went flying today, it is obviously my turn as the pilot in the family to blog about our day.
We were up before 4:00am to join in a hot air balloon ride over the fairy chimneys of the Love and Red valleys that the Göreme area of Capppadocia is world famous for.
Hot air balloons are an amazing way to fly, as smooth as a silk flag in a light breeze with the mute button on, punctuated only by the occasional burst from the gas burners creating the hot air.
The fairy chimneys or kalelar (castles) to the locals are made of soft “tuff” rock formed from volcanic ash. These unique conical shaped pillars of up to 40m often with a harder rock cap, giving some the appearance of an overgrown mushroom, have been created by the erosion of the surrounding material by a major flood and refined further by rain, wind and snow. In some ways there are similarities with our own Bungle Bungles but still very different.
Floating silently past or over them by a mere few feet is an amazing sensation. The numerous caves carved into the soft rock to create houses or even whole villages dating back as early as the 4th century, adds to the mystic and ancient feel of the landscape. If this at sunrise with the rich depth of colour that ensures is not enough, fifty plus hot air balloons of every colour of the rainbow emerging gracefully and mingling with each other and these conical pillars is a most memorable sight. The photos attached can capture but a portion of the experience, however they are still amazing.
The only ungraceful aspect to hot air ballooning is alighting the basket and the landing!
The rest of our day was spent exploring these intriguing pillars on the ground and the churches and houses carved into them and the surrounding tuff rock cliffs. A large portion of our day was spent at the Goreme Open Air Museum which is a cluster of churches carved into the cliff face that gives an insight into early Byzantine Christian life from the 4th century onwards. They contain many frescos that date back to the 9th century which for preservation purposes we were not permitted to photograph. To see such old paintings and to sit in unique structures carved into the rock where Christians lived and died makes you reflect on what motivated them. At times out of necessity in the face of persecution and at other times out of their conviction of what made for a godly life.
On a lighter note our last stop was at a pottery demonstration in a Pottery business that has been in the one family for over 200hundred years where everything is done by hand. We saw not only beautiful finished products but also the intricate craftsmanship at work creating these masterpieces.
Now it’s time for some more Turkish culinary delights. Enjoy!