Autumn 2010

At the time of writing it is the first week in December. We’ve got brilliant sunshine, the thermometer is showing over +20 and life is feeling great! The flowers are exhibiting their colourful beauty and the wagtails are wagging their tails. Christmas atmosphere? Weeeell, I expect it will turn up eventually.


We have our everyday duties to perform as well, of course.  Like doing the washing and everything else that needs doing, but this Autumn we have been on a longer excursion with Sören and Eivor on “Apostrof”. We went to Cappadocia in the central part of Turkey, also called Anatolia. More about this below.




Ordinary Day

This is what our boat looks like when we have done the washing. We wash by hand and we have a good routine that works well. We put all the white wash into boiling water to soak over night. In the morning it doesn’t take long to wash and the rest of the washing just gets done in no time at all. It’s nice chatting to the others at the same time as well.





There is always something to be done. Here are Sören and Eivor working on their dinghy.


We have also had a fair bit to do. The seacock from the toilet, i.e. the pipe going from the inside of the boat to the outside, broke. What happened was that the handle closing the pipe snapped into two. The chandler said: “… I’ve never heard of this happening before”.  Well, well. It was brand new as well – bought in April. We felt that we couldn’t just leave things as they were, so we bought a new one in a completely different design. In hard plastic and made in Italy. We will see how this works.



We didn’t feel like taking the boat up on land again to do the repairs. The other alternative was to do it whilst still in the water. The question was how. If we took the seacock off, we would get flooded. So, the only solution was to make sure that the water didn’t get in. Mike prepared a wooden plug to fit into the hole on the outside. A piece of inner tube for a bike tyre was put on for extra packing and a metal eye for a string. Then it was only a question of putting the goggles on and diving under the boat… Mike did this (!).



 It was nerve-wracking to say the least when we had to disconnect the pipe. Would the plug do the job or would we sink? Not a drop of water came in! It was with a sigh of relief we carried on with the work.


The new connection was fitted quick as lightning! A different design which gives you the option to clean it inside without taking it off.  Good idea, we though, but we will see if it works.



Now we just had to get on with the next job that needed doing. We needed to renew the matting on the deckhead.  Mike chose to use plywood boards apart from the vertical part. A bit awkward, but it was nice when it was finished.


After these “little” jobs we decided to go on a longer excursion to Cappadocia with Sören and Eivor. We had heard a lot about this area and that it was a “must” to visit and experience if you were in Turkey.  Sounded exciting.





On the map you will see the route we took.  The name Cappadocia actually means” The land of beautiful horses”.



On our way


The distance from Finike to Cappadocia is about 700km, so we were looking into different ways of getting there. In the end we decided to hire a car. On the 9th November we packed our bits and pieces in the car and set off.


The leg Finike-Antalya was familiar and the views we had already seen several times before. After Antalya everything was new and we avidly peered out of the windows to look at everything. We saw cottonfields with a lot of people picking the little white balls by hand. Tractors and lorries were laden with big cotton sacks.

 We soon turned towards the mountains and the road started to meander upwards. The stalls along the road were now filled with bananas instead of oranges. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop and take pictures, as the plan was to get to our destination by evening.

The information I am passing on I have picked up from various sources and very interesting it is too. So any misinterpretations or faults are entirely my own.


But we needed to eat. We stopped and had our picnic standing up. The area where we stopped is very near Konya and looked like a barren steppe. A cold wind was whistling around our ears and this experience was quite different compared to the luscious landscape and warmth we left behind in Finike.



Millions of years ago the mountains in this area became volcanic with lava and ash covering the landscape. The layer was over 200m thick. This layer created the unique tufa stone together with basalt. This stone has then eroded into the specific constellations known to the area. Different eras of time passed – including four ice ages. When the ice at long last melted big lakes formed especially in the Konya and Aksaray area. Tuz Gölü (The Salt Lake) is just north west of Aksaray and the salt content is 32,4%.  The main part of the salt production in Turkey comes from this lake which grows to 164,000 hectares in the spring.

 This barren steppe covers a large area and was also a lake up to c:a 16,000 – 8,000 B.C.  We travelled several hours before we saw any change.


The change consisted of big sugar beet fields. We also saw a refinery taking care of all the beets.





It was dark when we arrived at Göreme which was going to be our base for a few days. When we turned down into the valley we caught our first glimpse of “Fairy-chimneys” as they are called. We checked into Bedrock Cave Hotel and had a good nights sleep.



At dawn Sören took this photograph of the view.



At breakfast we planned how we were going to spend our days to maximize the experience. We decided to do some sight-seeing by ourselves the first day. For the second day we put our names down for an organized tour as it covered a lot.




Just outside Göreme there is an Open Air Museum. Here we got a first sample of ancient life in Cappadocia.



The history of Cappadocia and Anatolia is very complex and interesting. The area has had a great number of different rulers, been crossed by several trade routes and is also the area where Christendom developed after being born in Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul was born 10 B.C. in Tarsus, Anatolia. If you are interested in history there is a lot to find out. We are only going to scratch a little at the surface.



The Museum consists of churches and a Monastery carved out of the characteristic tufa stone.  The soft stone could be worked even without metal tools and hardened after the process. The friezes found date back to the 7th and 12th centuries A.D.  Sören’s photo.



The churches were decorated with paintings. Here are some on the outside of the church.



This monastery is called the “Nun’s Monastery” and consists of six floors. On the first and second floor there is a dining room, a kitchen and some other rooms. There is a church on the third floor which can be reached through a tunnel. The tunnel can be closed with a big bolt stone looking like a millstone. There are other rooms on the subsequent floors.









Ürgüp comes from the word Ur-Kup which means “many castles” and is a fitting description considering all the fairy-chimneys about. Here are two of the most famous ones.

 It certainly is astonishing. How come that the stone can balance like that? The course of time must have played a joke or two in Cappadocia!



And how did a snail end up there?



The Autumn colours were glowing beautifully in the landscape.



We carried on to the township of Ürgüp to have some lunch. We ended up a little outside of the centre and decided to have a look at the architecture. This house looked a bit different so I took a picture. A kind man invited us in to take a closer look. (A carpet salesman, we thought).



It turned out to be an old “Caravanserai”, i.e. lodgings for the camel caravans that used to travel the “Silk Road” between east and west. We were right, he was a carpet salesman and told us that the house today was a central warehouse for handmade carpets. He showed us around and wasn’t pushy at all.  The house was very big and had an interesting history.



We were offered a special tea made out of 13 different herbs. This tea was supposedly good for the digestion and also for loosing weight. He was looking straight at me when he said this, but assured me that he didn’t mean anything by it! The weight loss is going slowly - but surely and without tea. But I didn’t tell him this!



Sure enough, he showed us carpets. We told him firmly, but nicely, that we didn’t want to buy anything and that we lived on boats. He didn’t take any offence at all and carried on telling us about the carpets. They certainly are beautiful with their colours and patterns.



We thanked Hassan for a most enjoyable tour, nice tea and carried on towards the centre of town and some lunch.






We drove about 5km south to Mustafapasa. Here you can see clear evidence of an earlier Greek habitat in the architecture.



In Cappadocia you integrate modern housing into the old way of building, i.e. using the mountainside. A very interesting architecture.



A donkey grazing by the roadside.



This is the entrance to St. Vasilius church.



We saw this strange plant flowering on the pavement. Unfortunately I haven’t found the name of it.



There is a lot to buy everywhere.






The afternoon was wearing on and it was time to turn back to Göreme. We decided to go another way back and ended up in Pasabag! First we stopped to admire some fantastic stone constellations and the pink colour.  As you can see we were very lucky with the weather. Earlier we were told that the film “Star Wars” was filmed in Cappadocia. We can understand that.



It seemed as somebody had chiseled out this figure with some determination.



We carried on and turned a corner and saw this! Quite fantastic! How are these constellations created? And how is it that these shapes – looking like phallus-symbols – are called fairy-chimneys? These “chimneys” consist of the tufa stone and basalt formed millions of years ago and have since been exposed to erosion. You can see the different layers of volcanic rock from different eruptions. But isn’t it strange that what is left is this particular shape?



People used the “chimneys” to hide in and as places of refuge. They dug out rooms and built their dwelling places with “windows”. When light was shining out of these in the night people believed there were fairies living in them. One famous inhabitant was St. Simon who fled from Jerusalem in the 5th century.




Many monks made their way here to seek the solitude of the place. That is why the area is called “Monks Valley”.




Here's a couple more pictures:

The surface is like a moonscape Several layers of tufa stone

On our way back to Göreme we passed the launching place for the hot-air balloon rides. It would definitely be an incredible experience to fly over the landscape just as the sun is rising.  But we thought it was too expensive and declined.




After a very eventful day it was nice to turn in and look forward to the following day.




The green tour

We were up early and were picked up and taken to the bus station. We met up with the rest of the group who came from Sweden, England, America, Japan, Korea, Iran and Lebanon. Our guide was a very nice Turkish lady.

 The first stop was at a Panorama spot overlooking Göreme. The picture speaks for itself





The next stop was going to be Derinkuyu where there is an underground city.

 Since prehistoric times people have lived in caves that they chiseled out of stone. During the harsh conditions of the ice age the development of rock-dwellings continued. Later there was a need to hide and seek shelter from different persecutors. The dwellings that were created can be likened to ant colonies.

 The underground city of Derinkuyu was opened to the public in 1965. It is 40m deep, but if you add the well the depth is 85m. There are 52 vertical ventilation channels. The bottom of these channels were water wells. Up until 1962 these wells were used by the inhabitants of the town, i.e. above ground. It is believed that there were 30 such dwellings connected by tunnels and that they could accommodate 10,000 people simultaneously. The largest one is Derinkuyu with an area of 2,5km2 and eight floors. There is a stable, winery, church, morgue, school, kitchen, living accommodation, hygiene areas and stores.

 I am only 1,56m tall and had to bend myself double to get through the tunnels. You can imagine how it was for Sören being 2m tall! The rooms had a good standing height though.





This canyon extends for 14km between Ihlara village in the south and Selime (Salomon) “castle” in the north. The sides are 100-200m high where big blocks of Trakyt rock have fallen down. At the bottom the Melendiz river is meandering. We walked along the river for a few kilometers to a restaurant where we had lunch.




But first we looked at a church, the Agacalti church, carved into the rock. There were missionary schools where they were educated and it was through the paintings the Christian faith was passed on. This church is from the 5th century. Why weren’t the churches built above ground? It wasn’t until Nicephoros Phocas came into power 956 and the arabs stopped their attacks,that the monastery life continued above ground. Before that they hid in the rocks.



The cliff face looked quite dramatic.



One day this “little” rock is going to fall down…



Here we found more dwellings carved out of the rock. There were also a lot of smaller holes and we wondered what they were. The explanation was – dove cots. To keep doves/pigeons is a very old Anatolian tradition which goes back to 3000 B.C. The doves are also considered holy. Cappadocia is an area where vines are grown and to get better crops pigeon droppings is used as fertilizer. So the secret to growing nice grapes is tufa stone and pigeons! Up until the 1970:es pigeons were used like this. Then the inhabitants realized the potential of tourism and changed their source of income


We carried on with our walk along the river and enjoyed its’ beauty. The sun was shining on the different colours of the rocks and then the light reflected into the water.  It was a magical sheen.



Talking about magic. Mike took this picture. Doesn’t it look like Harry Potter’s magical tree? You almost expect it to twist and try and get you with its’ branches…




We had a nice lunch in beautiful surroundings before we went on..





This monastery was the largest we’d seen in our travels. Very impressive. It was a very strenuous climb up to it, but was definitely worth it.. You marveled at the architecture and techniques used to make everything work.



How long will it take for the column to collapse?



The journey back to Göreme took quite a while and when we got there we looked forward to food again!


In the evening we tested a local specialty, namely pot-kebab. You cook a kebab in a clay pot over an open fire. When it’s ready you smash the top off. Interesting is the word…




On our way back to the hotel we saw this nice VW-bus with an “extension”.  Groovy, we thought!



Our days in Göreme and Cappadocia had come to an end and it was time to head back the following day. They were true – all the reports we had heard. If you are in Turkey and have the opportunity of getting to Cappadocia, you should definitely not miss this experience. We warmly recommend it.



In a few weeks it is Christmas again with all that entails. We wish everybody A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with this picture. Rock constellations from Cappadocia with holy doves:

“ Good Night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”