Sunday, May 02, 2010

Officially Overwhelmed

For the last two days, our Internet access has been sporadic, to put it mildly, and unfortunately that situation is likely to continue. Yesterday we flew from Istanbul to Nevsehir, a tiny airport maybe half the size of our local Costco, in the middle of Turkey, Cappadocia, to begin the next amazing leg of our journey here. Our guide had the driver pull into a tiny village (220 people) where we all filed into the mayor's office for a cup of tea and a chat about his job, his village, and what's going on his community (not much, but occasionally some teenagers act up and have to be brought back into line).
After these formalities were transacted, our small group (14) was split in half and taken to two village homes, where the women served us a very formal and succulent home-cooked lunch, using all their best china and linens.
Our lunch was a gut-buster! First we had a soup made of yogurt, bulgar, rice, lentils, and mint. This was a served with huge warm flat breads, freshly baked, and a salad of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, parsley, lemon, etc. The idea was to roll it up inside the bread - yum! Next came a second soup, tiny homemade ravioli in a tomato and pepper broth, each one stuffed with a small bit of meat and cheese.

The main courses was a plate with roasted chicken, bulgar in tomato sauce, stuffed grape leaves, and stuffed eggplant, intensely delicious.
Finally the ladies brought us a creamy rice pudding flavored with vanilla, and sprinkled with fresh-ground nutmeg and cinnamon. We topped it off with Turkish tea in delicate glasses.

We exchanged many pleasantries, admired the house and livestock, heard all about the family, and everything was done without any of us understanding each others language. Lovely time!

Next stop was at a place where traditional Turkish pottery was made. The head honcho was a total character, very charismatic, a great showman. He was called Galip, and he threw a few pots, plied us with local wine, did some tricks, and gave away a few "prizes" to whet our appetites for his ceramics.
It was fun and interesting, and the stuff they made at the studio was stunning and expensive. We bought a blue and white bowl with tulips and crysanthemums, the official flowers of Turkey, as a remembrance of this wonderful country.
Finally in late afternoon we drove to our current hotel (for 3 nights) in Uchisar, a small village in a fairy-tale landscape of lava formations, tufa towers, caves, and a whole world carved out of stone. Our hotel is no exception, as it is on the rock, and the dining area and several rooms are carved completely out of rock. The photos below were all taken from our hotel room terrace.

We took a long walk and climb around the town before our lavish dinner, another multi-course extravaganza complete with more soups, a chicken dish, stuffed mushrooms, hard boiled eggs in yogurt with a pepper sauce, local wine, and a huge dessert buffet! You have to remember that our day began with the last of our huge buffet breakfasts at our hotel in Istanbul, already too much food!

This place is one of the most unusual and vivid landscapes I have ever seen. The village is traditional, old-style Turkey.
People are riding around in painted wooden carts pulled by donkeys or horses, plowing with horses pulling boards behind them with rocks embedded in the board to break up the soil.
The hand tools we see in use for cutting stone or working in the fields or preparing food are the same as they have been for centuries.

In many ways, time has stood still here, but at the same time tourism has certainly made its mark on the place. I'll write more about Sunday soon. We are officially overwhelmed!

-- Posted from my iPad

1 comment:

robin andrea said...

Absolutely heavenly there.