Last night, after a 5 hour drive through the Turkish countryside, we arrived at our hotel in Cappadocia. When we got to the village that it is located in, our driver realized our car would be unable to fit in the street—we would have to walk. Latif, our tour guide, called the hotel and had someone meet us to show the way. It was so dark that all we could see was whatever the flashlight lit up—sometimes it was the path and sometime it was Latif trying to spook us with the flashlight under his chin.
We got to the hotel after the hike, and were shown into the dining room. It was warmly lit and smelled wonderful. The manager, who Latif realized was a classmate of his at university, came out to greet us. She offered us a mouth watering list of local, organic food, and when we declined (we had already eaten) she told us that it was available to us 7/24. Then she showed us to our rooms. Keep in mind that we have all gotten used to sleeping on hostel mattresses (nice, but not so comfortable), cars, and trains. We would have been happy with a few mattresses, a toilet, and a working shower. But when Kacey, Kate, Freida, and I walked into our room, what we saw was more than we could have hoped for.
A large room with two small incredibly comfortable beds, one giant incredibly comfortable bed, a bathroom with hot water, and a fireplace. The walls and ceiling were beautifully carved (did I mention that this hotel was carved in the side of a mountain?). After the past few days of being constantly sweaty, exhausted, and un-showered, this place seemed like heaven to us. We all took our turn taking long showers, and then went up to one of the terraces to sit with Chisnell and his brother. We could not see a lot, except the lights of one village on a mountain across from us, and the lights of another on a different mountain.
Soon after we sat down, the last call to prayer of the day began. First, in the closest village to us, then in another village, and then in another--three beautiful singing voices echoing through the otherwise silent mountains. The call to prayer has always struck me as beautiful, and here it is especially so.
The air was pleasantly chilly, and we were all bundled in our warmest clothes when the manager came down to talk to us. She introduced herself again, and then began talking about the village here. There are only 12 kids here, the rest of the population is over 30. The young people have all left for the city, there are no job opportunities for them here. All of her friends left as soon as they could, and thought she was crazy for staying. She joked that she would live ten years longer.
When I walked out onto the terrace this morning, I was amazed. It was totally quiet, except for the sound of a rooster. We are surrounded by mountains and only the two villages I mentioned earlier. It really is amazing. We have plans this week to work with the villagers and get to know the local customs. These are two of the main reasons we came to Turkey, and I think it’s going to be excellent.