So much has happened in just under a week. Each day has been an adventure, something new to see, places to explore. Streets to wander, new people to meet, food to try. Since my last post, we've headed in in loop, following the Mediterranean Sea west. We've stopped in a few towns along the way.
The past few days have been spent in Cappadocia, an area filled with tall pillars and volcanic peaks. The rock stays cool during the day, and for this reason people have built their homes into it. We are staying in a hotel situated in a cave, if you prefer, you could potentially opt for the fairy chimney or hoodoo, a tall peak of rock that protrudes from the ground. Cappadocia is similar to the Badlands in North America, except people actually live in the hoodoos here. The best way to see the area is a morning sunrise hot air balloon ride, which is quite possibly the best experience of my life. It was something extremely magical, lifting in the air, helium and fire, with 50 other balloons. Rising above the mountain range, the sun peaking its way out.
Olympos, not to be confused with Olympia in Greece, consisting mostly of guest houses and tree forts. An 8-hour bus ride, with 3 transfers, we were dropped on a narrow road in a tiny town bustling with back packers. Following the road a few meters, which ends at the Ancient Lycian Ruins, most likely a fascinating site, but at 35º the only place I wanted to be was the beach. I reached into my pocket, paid the Lyra and walked quickly through the ruins finding the cool turquoise water on the other side. I hear that at night, you can see flames, natural gas jets, shooting out of the mountains. Whats even more magnificent, is that they have been burning for thousands of years. Maybe next time, when the weather isn't quite so hot, I will venture up the mountain to see the wonder.
Olympos is situated between the mountains, in a lush humid forest. A day or two spent soaking up the sun and bathing in the water, we were relaxed and refreshed. We took a bus to Kas, pronounced 'cash', on the Mediterranean Coast. Beautiful views, gorgeous coastline, islands, water sports, kayaking. A bit of a tourist town, cruise ships docking for the day, fancy restaurants, total class. We stayed one night, and headed to an area worthy of the 8 hour bus ride with no AC. A little more rural and rustic.
Pamukkale, a small town, full of guest houses, swimming pools, and spas. The tourist hub for a set of hot springs and travertines. Terraces of carbonated mineral water line the bright white mountain side, a truly jaw dropping view. White minerals hardened into round curves, bubbles, and pools. Each pool is filled with turquoise blue water, perfect for cooling off. At the top of the hill is the ancient city of Hierapolis, which is worth a wander. Ancient Roman Ruins scattered on the hill, a Roman Bath used to bath before entering the city, preventing disease and the plague. A few well preserved sarcophagus', and a colosseum. The area is abundant with fig, peach, plum, pear, and pomegranate trees. A very beautiful place to see.
We are now back in Istanbul, near Taksim Square. The nights are loud, the room is warm. With no AC and a simple fan, it is easy to pass out from heat and exhaustion. I have shopped, partied, and eaten Turkish Delight for days. Today, our last day, will be spend catching up with friends and saying goodbye. Tomorrow, I will be back in Seattle, likely longing for the sun, not to be confused with the heat. This trip has been a wonderful experience. I am very fortunate to have seen such beautiful countries, mostly in part by the beautiful people.