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Typical Turkish storefront with the men hanging out, usually playing backgammon (tablah) and drinking tea while the women work in the fields.

Cappadocia (aka, Wackydocia) A region once in the heart of the Hittite Empire on the Silk Road.  

10 million years ago 3 volcanoes erupted and spread a thick layer of volcanic ash over the region which hardened into a soft, porous stone called tuff.  Erosion has created columns of cones, fairy chimneys and phallic appearances.    The tuff was easily worked with primitive tools and people lived in them until 1923 when the Ottoman Empire crumbled.   Many people also carved caves into the ground to hide for months when invaders came through the region.

If you have ever watched the TV cartoon, "The Flintstones", you will have a sense of what this place looks like!

IMG_1302.JPG (30166 bytes) We stayed in the city of Goreme.   Some of the valleys include:  Pigeon Valley (people kept pigeons on the top floor to make their fertilizer, use as carrier pigeons and eat if necessary.    Rose Valley, and Love Valley (for the phallic areas, get it).  Check out the name of the pension we stayed.  Maybe some words don't translate well in Turkey.
Don't let the tan on our faces fool you, we arrived from the coast after a week in the sun and wearing only swim suits to find 24 hours later snow coming down.  Brrrrrrr!!!  No winter clothes!   It was the 1st real cold day of the year, so the pipes in the heaters were not ready.  A night sleeping in all of our clothes just makes for another good travel story. IMG_1290.JPG (16176 bytes)

Julia celebrated her 30 something birthday here in only the style fit for a Texas girl, a day horseback riding!   Nobody told the horses that Bruce was paying the bill, because the lead horse gave Bruce a good mule kick right into his shin!  yowwwie!  It sounded like it broke the bone in half, but luckily the day before, the horses had there shoes removed for the winter, so the metal wasn't there to smash the bone.  However, there was a nice inch or so gash.  A nice souvenir of Wackydokia!  

Rose Valley  Check out Bruce's beard...it's growing because there's no hot water for shaving (or showering).  To the Hamam we go...

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Pigeon Valley Named for all of the pigeons that lived in the rooms of the cave homes.  Pigeons were used to make fertilizer, send messages, and if necessary to eat (when the people were hiding from invaders).  The rooms were carved right into the hillside.  The main room is nearly 25 feet tall.

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Fairy Chimneys in Love Valley

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Happy Birthday Dinner for Julia with our new American friends, Sharon and Tony, who teach near Istanbul.

To see Julia's Cowgirl day out, click here.

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The Hamam Experience This is a traditional Hamam building.  To truly get the "Turkish Experience" one needs to spend a few hours getting scrubbed down at a Turkish Bath.  First thing you do is change into a big red bath towel so you look like Moses (nothing under it of course).  Then proceed to walk into a big steamy room with faucets and buckets from the wall.  Get really hot and sweaty (douse some water over you if needed).  In 15 minutes or so, a big Turkish man walks over to you (he's dressed in just a towel and flip flops as well), and he directs you to a huge marble stone tablet where you lay.  He the precedes to give you the closest skin scrubbing of your life.  He uses a rough sort of luffah thing and olive oil soap that is held in a pillow case doohicky and scrubs until every particle of dirt, along with the top layer of skin is taken from you.  The whole process makes so many fluffy bubbles that we became lost in it.  After laying on your stomach, he flips you over on your back and scrubs your front side (towel stays on and modesty is always insured).  Now you are slathered with soap, he walks you over to a faucet of really warm water (weaker people refer to it as...steaming hot!) to rinse you off.  You think you're done, no way dirty dude, it's back for some more scrubbing, but this time you get a soap massage for another 5 - 10 minutes.  Then back to rinse off with the bucket.  When you are done, you are soaking wet and squeaky clean (hey, where'd that tan go?).  As you walk out of the steamy area they hand you a fresh red towel to wrap yourself in while in the changing room.  When you walk out into the waiting area, a crisp white towel is wrapped around your head like a swami.  Then time to relax with a nice cup of Turkish tea or a rose oil massage if you like (and we like).
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Bruce and Julia, World Travelers and Adventure Seekers Extraordinaire.
Copyright 2002 by [MyWorldTour.org]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Feb 2007 20:21:28 -0600 .