Our last week in Turkey has been spent in the land of fairy chimneys…Cappadocia.

Cappadocia:
Day 1: This region is made up of a few small towns that are fairly easy to get to by say…scooter. So, even though it was FREEZING cold outside, Jonny and I decided on our first day to ride around “dumb and dumber” style to a little town called Avanos, which is famous for their pottery. We stopped at a shop where the owner gave us apple tea and a live demonstration of pottery making on a old fashioned kick wheel! His work was quite beautiful. Jonny then got up and gave it a whirl, literally, and created quite a lovely clay pot as well. We then continued on our way to explore a couple different valleys that were filled with the infamous fairy chimneys.

Day 2: The town we were staying in, Goerme, has a highly recommended open air museum, filled with caves and fairy chimneys that are carved out into churches and houses. We strolled through, and then made our way to another little town, Urgup, by bus, which is known for their winerys. We stopped in one for a free wine taste (not the best wine, but a lovely experience). We then stopped at a local restaurant where the owner’s wife cooked us up some bean stew, in their traditional clay pots, fresh bread, and lots of baklava! We LOVE Baklava.

On this particular evening, we went to a local bar/cafe for some good ole turkish sheesha, live music (which was one man on a keyboard), and a drink. If we only knew what this night would become…
The place was packed, we were the only english speaking people, and our table was quickly overtaken by a group of about 7 Turks. The jolly woman sitting next to me, quickly began trying to set me up with several of the men that she was with. After she realized I was married, she settled with me doing a dance for the whole restaurant! She kept trying to make me move my stomach up and down like she was doing…I had no idea how to do this, so i tried to satisfy her requests with some spinning…it went over well i think. Soon after, Jonny jumped up to challenge some Turkish men to a dance off. Apparently men dancing with other men is quite a commonplace, so Jonny fit right in. After dancing, our new friends kept telling us with motions that we needed to eat more to look like them. So they started spoon feeding us cucumber salad and bread soaked in meat sauce. Although we were stuffed and tried to decline, they insisted quite forcefully. They were new friends after all, so we obliged. They also made us try the local liquor called Rakki, which tastes like black licorice (it was nasty!) After hours of dancing and eating, the night ended with every person in the restaurant, even people we hadn’t talked to, wanting an individual picture with Jonny and me. I think the videos and pictures will give a better idea of the “night at North star.”

Day 3: Our last day, we visited the underground city of Kaymakli, which has 8 stories below ground (only 4 are open to the public). Many Christian refugees fled to this region back in the day, and expanded some of these underground caves because the rock is easy to carve into when wet. Jonny and I found some hidden tunnels and caves that were not marked and pitch black, so we explored them a little until we got scared and then we’d run back towards the ligh. It was fun…it felt like we were explorers about to discover either hidden treasure or a lurking monster. After a day of exploring, we settled in the kitchen/”restaurant” of a Turk who fed us delicious Tavuk shish and let us play with his dogs:) o happy day.

Stay tuned for updates on Ephesus and Greece!

Written by Michelle and Jonathan Hoffner. Visit their websites Jonathan Hoffner Photography and She Dances