Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Day With Jihad...Kapadokya(Cappadocia) Undiscovered

Mehmet who has been my host in Goreme, who I fondly think of as one of the Goreme mafia, seems to have his hands into a bit of everything here...By everything..I mean he has been my carpet guru, owns a travel agency, hotels and one of the hot air balloon companies. A few days ago he informed me I was to meet him in the lobby the next morning , he was putting me on his favorite tour of the area and the locations would unfold as I toured...

What a treat. It was a beautiful day and our guide was humorous, engaging and incredibly knowledgeable. He immediately began by introducing himself..."Hello my name is Jihad." According to the Qur'an and the Hadith, jihad is a duty that may be fulfilled in four ways: by the heart, the tongue, the hand, or the sword. The first way (known in Sufism as the “greater jihad”) involves struggling against evil desires. The ways of the tongue and hand call for verbal defense and right actions. The jihad of the sword involves waging war against enemies of Islam. Believers contend that those who die in combat become martyrs and are guaranteed a place in paradise. I assure you he had none of the latter in him!

Soganli Valley, one of the most secluded and tranquil valleys in Cappadocia. We begin our hike along one side of the valley, visiting many cave churches and we returned along the other side of the valley to a quaint village.

Exploring 1000-year-old Rock Church and Monastery
Archenclos rock church and Keslik monastery in the Soganli Valley dates back to at least the 10th century. It housed hundreds of monks. Inside the dwellings, you can see, carved from the stone, chimneys, fireplaces, bookshelves, a kitchen, and frescoes.

Derinkuyu Underground City
The extensive networks of passages, tunnels, stepped pits and inclined corridors link family rooms and communal spaces where people would meet, work and worship. The cities were complete with wells, chimneys for air circulation, niches for oil lamps, stores, water tanks, stables and areas where the dead could be placed until such time as conditions on the surface would allow their proper disposal. Most importantly, carefully balanced moving stone doors, resembling mill stones, were devised to quickly block the corridors in the event of an attack. Of course, these doors operated from one side only! There are said to be over 200 underground cities in this region with only a fraction of them discovered.

back to the peaceful Sultan Cave Suites

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Urfa, Copper, Baklava...Adventure

48 hours in southeastern Turkey...After driving 7 hours southeast Murat and I arrived in Urfa (Sanliurfa), a town which is situated on a plain under big open skies, about eighty kilometers east of the Euphrates River. I wanted to come back here for the copper market where you can find craftsmen working like they did thousands of years ago. I love the travel and hunting (shopping) I do and I am always on the look out for my next best meal or food discovery, and this region delivers. It is a crossroads of Syrian, Kurdish and Turkish cultures. Anywhere else in Turkey the cooks might use 4 spices in a dish. Here, they use 15, the results being often spicy and mouthwatering.  Pistachios are a staple and the baklava is as good as it gets!

After hours of shopping we headed back to Goreme with a trunk filled with copper and a few kilos of baklava...

a shot while leaving Goreme for Urfa...çok güzel(very beautiful in Turkish)

hand made and carved, this is before they have tinned it.

copper dealer who remembered my last visit with my daughter...

proof of life!

Murat mesmermized by the goat skin drum he purchased

beautiful spoons...

Pigeon breeders
Baklava from Dilim Pastanesi in Sanliurfa

the road back to Kapadokya throught the Takir Valley...the Toros mountains in view
On the way back from Urfa Murat mentioned that his grandfather and great grandfather used to travel this route on donkeys to trade in this region.  I closed my eyes and tried to imagine.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Goreme Less Than 24 Hours...Room 2

My fabulous host has a full hotel and I am his guest. Part of my job is being flexible. I have moved rooms already as he generously juggles me around.

Göreme located among the "fairy chimney" rock formations, is a town in Cappadocia, a historical region of Turkey. It is in the Nevşehir Province in Central Anatolia and has a population of around 2,500 people and has become a place where people come to balloon, ride horses and hike, so it is a stop off tourist visit for 2 days.

I could park here for weeks, maybe months...The last time I was here with Ryan, my daughter and Mehmet was just building and renovating this gem. Now there is a restaurant, spa, several sections and because he has been a carpet and textile dealer for the past 20 years, there are all sorts of treasures.

the very popular patch work kilim carpets

this robe from Uzbekistan gives me the chills..

 This a must stay...ask for Mehmet, or Mustafa!

From Construction to Perfection

I landed in Turkey last night after a long but exciting journey. Exciting mean all flights were on time and the flight was empty. I indulged myself with some of my favorite Turkish delights on board, sour cherry juice, cheese, wine, ambien and sleep! I woke to an airline breakfast of one of my favorites. Feta, tomatoes, olives and Chai and Aryan, a salty yogurt drink. I was happy and had not gotten off the plane. After a bit of a delay and a long walk to I found my next flight to Kayseri. Greeted by my friend Murat I was driven to Goreme in Kapadokya, central Turkey, my ultimate destination for the next few days.

my loft just before leaving USA

My my room in the Sultan Cave Hotel in Goreme, Turkey. My friend Mehmet had been working for several years on this masterpiece. more to come.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Travel Disaster Averted!

Having my own business has apparently made me quite the space cadet.  I was all ready to go on my buying trip to Turkey & India this Tuesday...when my lovely friend in Delhi I was to stay with and shop with was checking in to confirm... Now, I have traveled a lot, so I knew what the weather was going to be, the holidays, when and where the craft markets were, how much cash to bring, passport, etc etc. but... somehow the Visa to make entry to this beautiful country skipped my mind.  24 hour rush you are thinking?  Alas, we celebrate Columbus day. I don't even know what this holiday is? In my defense many of the countries I go to have Visa upon arrival!

Instead of this being a disaster.  It has turned into an amazing circle of events. My friend Ann(in India) decided to go to the markets with her camera and all morning it was like I was buying stocks. She was snapping photo's(while I was unpacking all of the summer clothes I had packed for India) sending them from her phone to mine giving me quantities then waiting for me to confirm. It was a fast paced and exciting... 4 hours and heck I wasn't exhausted at all...Below are some of the yes's.

Beautiful throws and scarves from a once a year craft fair in Delhi, most of the these come from a town near the Pakistan border filled with fantastic weavers... Bhuj, Gujarat...I can't wait until they arrive.
These adorable birds were a yes, unfortunately, all but these few were gone!

Me my last trip to Goreme in Kapadokya...

I have emailed friends in Turkey and planned for an extra week in Kapadokya, re-packed my suitcase with with cool weather clothes and heading to one of my favorite places on earth... fall, mountains rural, relaxing and LOTS of textiles and vintage copper. I will now be able to spend more time in places other than Istanbul,Turkey scouting out carpets, copper, and more Turkish delights with old (and hopefully new) friends.

Disaster averted!

If I've learned anything from my travels it's that flexibility often leads you down those narrow, untraveled paths to friends and finds. 

Tesekkurler ve Gurusuruz!