Man, I thought, could I drink my own pee?
This gem struck me as I trudged behind our guide, Latif, in the hot, hot sun. My brother watches a lot of Bear Grylls (a lot of Bear Grylls), and this seemed to be the exact type of scenario in which Grylls would consider this extreme survival move. Lost in a labyrinth of rocky cliffs, surrounded by steep hills to either side in midday heat. What other recourse was left?
Of course, we weren’t lost. Latif is too much of an expert, and our seemingly random traverse of narrow paths was not truly undirected. And although there were narrow escapes and stumbled scrapes, the trek was not deadly either. We scrambled up and down steep faces, but little cuts and dusty legs are not exactly dangerous. It was, however, beautiful. Our trek through the so called “Valley of Love” was a little over an hour. And it was gorgeous….
In Cappadocia (Land of Beautiful Horses in Turkish) there are two distinguishing features of the landscape. The aforementioned hills dot the landscape, with homes and hotels carved into their sides. And then there are the spires of rock, the “fairy towers”. These are volcanic rock cliffs that have been eroded into Dali-esque shapes. They are tall and impossible-seeming, and amongst these we wandered-- over, under, and between.
Latif described to us the history and geology of these formations our first day in Cappadocia. Today, in the “Valley of Love,” we saw many of the third type of “fairy towers,” the mushrooms type. These are tall and cylindrical, with caps of rock on their very top. Don’t these look like mushrooms? Latif queried. Yes, all of us girls nodded silently in agreement. Very much like mushrooms.
As hot and al fresco as our afternoon was, our morning was just as cool and indoors. Well, not exactly indoors…. We visited the underground cities. These too were carved into volcanic rock, five or more levels down. There were living spaces and churches, stables and lots of wineries. A ventilation shaft appeared bottomless, the ceilings seemed to lower below passable heights. But pass them we did. Who could live here, in a hobbit hole deep as a cavern, musty and tiny? Certainly not people over 5 foot 4 inches. So maybe Kacey and I would do just fine.
Kacey and I had one last adventure before the end of the day. Our hotel staff brought over a horse from a local stable, and we two clambered up and rode into the sunset.
We survived the low, the high; the hot and the cold. And thehorse. With just five days left, perhaps there is nothing else Turkey can throw our way to stop us.
By Freida Blostein (2012)