Finally together in Cappadocia

Better late than never.

Frantisek reached me in Istanbul with three days of delay, after that we had already postpone the departure of several days till I couldn’t wait any longer and I left with him. Honestly I was not sure whether he would show up at all. Eventually he arrived on the last day of my staying in Istanbul.

He missed Taksim, the wonderful view of Galata Tower by night, the amazing Ottoman royal Palace, the lady at the coffee bar that showed to me the Turkish hospitality that I had already tasted the day before with Isik and Gokan. I need to send her a postcard from India in exchange of a cup of coffee near the Galata Bridge. With Frantisek we managed to see few more things, to get an inviting sandwich with grilled fish by the Galata Bridge and to cross the Bosphorus to go to the Asian part of Istanbul to visit our old colleagues.

In Turkey they have a different time zone than Central Europe, one hour. Our problem was that Frantisek moved the hour in the wrong direction... So suddenly instead of two hours to talk with our friends, we had few minutes. Thanks again to the kindness of the Turkish people, we got a ride to the ferry boat that otherwise we would have missed.

After 12 hours bus riding, we arrived in Cappadocia, Goreme. Cappadocia is not a place for tall people. I’ve realized it at the cost of my head hitting continuously the ceiling of the caves in the Goreme valleys and in the underground city of Darenkuyu. It was a nice long trip for my long legs with the lovely lullaby of a 6 years old French kid who was crying all night long next to me for who knows which reason. Maybe because at 6 years French kids don’t like to travel in a bus for 12 hours in a cold land without friends to play with. Those French kids are spoiled.

The name “Cave hotels” should have given us some hints of what to find as accommodation. “Wow, a cave hotel!” Said enthusiastically Frantisek. I couldn’t be less excited “Let’s sleep in there!”. How can you say no to an hotel whose name is “the Flinstones cave hotel” or “the Nomad cave hotel”? We felt real travellers and we wanted to have a cave experience. Unfortunately caves are really refreshing in summer, when the heat and the sun storm through Cappadocia looking for pure white Scandinavian skin to roast it, but in winter there isn’t much to cool when outside it’s around 0 Celsius... Therefore we had the opportunity to test our sleeping bags and heavy materials for the Himalaya. There is a secret that we found out only at the departure day.

“The penguin in the room complained that it was not as cold as it should be last night.” I replied ironically to the owner who asked me if we had a good and comfortable sleep.

“You know, we have some electric heating that we borrow to the guest when they feel it’s too cold” the owner comments let us speechless. We were almost to stalagmites in that room while we could have had a comfortable sleep. Never mind, we proved we are strong men that are ready to face the force of nature in their extreme roughness... Next time I will challenge them in a heated room with tea and biscuits, please.

The early Christian communities who lived in Cappadocia were a bit of a loser, let’s said it straight. They were beaten by everybody, and most probably they were also very poor at playing football to the point that their shame brought them to dig holes in Darenkuyu, the underground city, and scratch the walls around Goreme, down in the valleys, to hide themselves and to live there.

The underground city is a great symbol of how ingenious and creative a community, who needs to survive, can be. Digging holes 20-30 meters below the grass is not easy, I have to admit it. In the labyrinth of corridors, rooms, churches, I lost definitely my long lasting battle with the low ceilings which somehow I decide to challenge with my head. However I admire them for their inner strength to survive and to continue with their belief, I couldn’t imagine the smell in those alleys.

I had some hints from the Goreme valleys and its churches and houses built on the sides of the valleys, up hill, where no enemy could find them. At every turn our camera animated itself and started taking pictures over pictures without control and without us being able to stop it. What did we photograph? Stones and Rocks to be practical. Martian landscapes and living rocks that still of the dinner cooked thousand years ago or talk to us about the man who hold his wife’s hand to go to the mess or for a walk, to be romantic or opium smokers.
After two days of impressive rocks, I decided I had enough stones in my mind for at least another two months, till Nepal. We jumped on the bus towards Iran, through the Turkish Kurdistan, this time without little sweet kids crying all night long, therefore I didn’t sin of homicide.