Day trip - disapearıng lakes and a hıdden cıtıes

Together with Celıne, Benoıt, Alkım, Javı and his wife (who had gamely hired bikes) I continued my burgeoning love affair with Cappadocıa by going on an expedition to Derınkuyu to visit it's underground city.

The roads were quiet, the hills hard but rewarding, the sun high but not too hot. In short it was nearly perfect.

Being in such a large group was refreshing and after the bashing my cycling self-regard took [with Fred]( it was satisfying to be the one out in front.

the landscape was lent an Alice in Wonderland feel by fields of pumpkins which stretched as far as the eye could see.

Winding our way south we were making for a lake marked on one of our tourist maps, planning to end the day with a swim.

We had started late but decided to push on for the lake anyway while the gong was good.

With the sun low in the sky we checked the map only to realise with the help of some friendly locals that the scale on the map changed a centimeter before the lake. what should have been 5k was in fact 50k.

Making the best of it we asked said friendly locals if we might pitch our tents ın their fields and were warmly welcomed and told we could do so anywhere.

Deciding on a spot next to an outhouse - mainly because there were three plastic chairs we settled ın and soon the fire was raging and dinner was on the go.

It wasn't the naturally beautiful spot we had hoped for but the company was good and with a little imagination the distant sound of cars was waves breaking.

Sleeping outside the tent is nearly always worth it if only to be woken by the first light of day while snug as a bug in your sleeping bag.

After a leisurely breakfast we headed to the Underground city which due to the number of tourists certainly felt city like. Waiting crouched ın narrow crawl-ways while scores of Korean tourists wound their way up stairs provided plenty of time to think on the people who had made and lived ın the sprawling subterranean lair.

Just as wıth the cave dwellıngs elsewhere the purpose was prımarıly defensıve. Offerıng a bolt hole from ınvadıng armıes and relıgous persecutıon. The clever engıneerıng whıch ensured clean aır cırculates remaıns testımony to theır ıngenuıty.

That being said they must have been dwarves because even once past the low entrances designed to impede enemy entrance the walkways still required a crouched gait. Not one for the claustrophobic! (mum)

It was a advertising excursion but lacked much ın the way of wow power as the city had seen everything apart from the caves themselves removed.

The cycle back to Mustafapasa was equally pleasant and having said a fond farewell to Benoıt and Celıne who were continuing their way west we began to retrace our steps.

On our outbound leg we had stopped at a small farm holding where two young kids had offered us strawberries straight out of the ground.

On our return we found the father to be equally obliging and stopped for an obligatory chi and an unbelievable plate of chips. Potatoes straight from the field and cooked in the garden oven. Saying they were sensational ıs to sell them short. They were perfect. Now everything tastes better after a days cycling but seriously. Best. Chips. Ever.

Goodbyes said all that was left was to enjoy the descent back into Mustafapasa. And enjoy it I did. The Cappadocian fairy chimneys rising to meet me I left the guys behind and fairly screamed back to the house wıth Tchaikovsky belting out ın my headphones. [Classical for downhills, Classic rock/metal for rain, Indie rock for uphills, Blues for sunny flats]

I have a confession to make. Cappadoccia wasn't the only thing I fell in love with...

I found myself spending my days and, yes, my nights with an adorable red head.

Chupple was a stray now living with Caner. We got along famously and while I lingered ın Cappadocıa catching up on writing the blog and perusing Caner's excellent film collection she was my constant companion.

And linger I did. Mustafapasa ıs a charming, laıd back place buılt ınto the rocks themselves wıth a frıendly aır combınıng tourıst frıendly bars and restraunts (neıther of whıch I could afford) and a vıbrant vıllage wıth groups of woman sat around huge ıron pots ın the streets gossıpıng cookıng god only knows what whıle the men lounge away the evenıngs playıng backgammon.

In short a tough place to leave.

1 comment:

  1. Loved catching up on your blog Tom - Cappadocia looked incredible, but chupple was the highlight for me. A mini-oscar! - and a bit better tempered by the look of it!
    Glad to hear you're veering towards Africa, but terrified about the Yemen. Please don't do it! xxx