I'm coming down from an epic travel adventure, so please excuse my slightly scattered brain as I try to process all that I've seen and done the past few weeks.
Let's talk Turkey, shall we?
In light of recent events in Istanbul and pretty much all over the place, a slight damper has been put upon the wonderful time I've had there. Police brutality and excessive force is a real issue there, and it has no place in peaceful protest.
I've been meaning to get there for quite some time now. It's a big country, and I wanted to give it more than a precursory glance and really do some justice to the sights and people. And food. Oh, the food. I don't have enough meals in my lifetime to being to even eat my way through that place. It ranks up there as the most delicious adventure ever at the very least. Food is something everyone I met everywhere took pride in, and any country with that philosophy is totally worth a visit.
It took a few months of planning as there were several parties involved and we were eventually all going to meet up in Istanbul, so we headed first for the interior with plans to make our way to the Lycian coast. Central Turkey is fairly empty and rural, so we flew in on Turkish Airlines to save the 10 hour bus ride that would have been in store, as I would have plenty of time to experience the bus later on.
The stop most people head to (aside from Istanbul) is the central arid Cappadocia region.
For good reason. It's an unearthly, stunning place.
Eons ago, volcanic eruptions deposited ash all over the region, which solidified. Wind and water went to work, and eventually the only bits that were left made odd pinnacles and giant rock mushroom shapes in the many valleys. People went to work and hollowed them out, making houses and churches and entire underground cities to safely hide from the warring Greeks and Hittites and Persians that were fighting in the area; all this dating back thousands of years.
Today, people still live in the caves, but mostly hotels have taken them over, renovated and made quite comfy as unique accommodations.
Despite tiny windows and not a whole lot of natural light, most of the caves are quite cozy.
Everywhere you went though, you could see the spots where nature had taken over, and the soft sandy stone gave way to expose the interiors.
Despite days of forecasted rain, the reason for the visit was to make good on an area perfect for exploring on foot. Rain gear was packed as we set out to hike the many valleys and trails of the area.