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TURKEY
These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 21
February 15, 2009
It's been just over a week (last Saturday) since my laptop died. I finally got to Nevşehir (pronounced nev-sheh-here, the nearest "city") yesterday and spent several hours looking for a notebook that I could use to write in and continue to record my experience here. I can't believe how hard it was to find such a common simple item. (or at least what I thought was common and simple, maybe it's quite the luxury to have pen and paper in Turkey)
Since it's been a while, I'll update you a bit about the happenings between Chapter 19 (1/28/09) and now.
I flew two flights, both in the 315. One on the 30th of January, the other on the 3rd of February. Unfortunately, I have no gps data (to allow you to view the flight path in Google Earth) or photos from either of them. But hey . . . two more flights is two more flights!
I don't remember the exact day or date, but I also visited the Open Air Museum in Göreme. And of course, those photo's were lost with the hard drive as well. The pictures weren't as cool as the memories anyway, and hopefully this little web site of documentation will help keep those memories from fading too far.
I also took a some walks, and I do have some photo's from them.

Although I had been to the top of Uçhisar Castle, I really hadn't spent much time in the immediate surrounds. As you can probably tell from some of the pictures you've seen, there are lots of caves/holes to explore in the castle rock. On the 5th of February, I did just that. I walked all over the castle exploring all kinds of niches, holes and caves. There were several entrances that led to multiple rooms with curving climbing passages in between.
Me climbing through a passageway
Me inside one of the rooms
Outside of the view once you get to the top of the castle, I enjoyed this part of the castle (which was free) more than the climb to the top. As I walked around and poked my head in all sorts of places, I found a passage that led high up into the secondary spire.
One passage led to this opening high in the rock
This shows the size of the opening
After a while, I made my way down the hillside on the North side of the castle, to where the road winds towards Göreme. This is a popular stop for the tour buses, as it affords quite a dramatic view of Uçhisar Castle. The picture below left is taken from this spot and is labeled to show how high in the rock I was.
Uçhisar as viewed from the tour bus stop
Despite popular belief, this is not how I got around
Because the tour buses stop here, there are of course, several shops selling trinkets and souvenirs. One of the "tourist traps" is an opportunity to get a picture of yourself on the camel. I did not take this opportunity, as the camel smelled worse than week old cat urine.

The next walk I took was on the 7th of February (my hard drive failed that evening, after returning from this walk) . This time, I walked much further, a total of just over 11 miles. I was tired when I got home and needless to say pretty upset when my computer puked. Luckily, I hadn't downloaded the photos from this hike yet.
On my previous trip to the Open Air Museum, I had noticed a marked hiking trail about 3/4 of a mile before the Museum. I noted then that I would come back see where it went. The sign said Zemi Valley, but I had never heard of it. So I headed up the trail. The trail follows the valley directly west of the Open Air Museum. There are lots of pics from this hike, so I made a separate page just for them. To read the narrative and see the pictures of this hike, click here.

Ever since we moved into this new house, I've really enjoyed the fact that every morning (Okay, maybe not EVERY morning, but every day the weather is good enough) I wake up and out my bedroom window I have an absolutely wonderful view. In the afternoons, the setting sun turns snow capped Mt. Erciyes purple and in the mornings the sun plays shadow games as it rises above the huge volcano.
The days first light hits Mt Erciyes
Sunrise on 2/11/09
A couple of other events took place recently. Actually, the two things happened on the same day. One, Sancho left to go to home to Spain for two weeks and Alper also left. He went to Albuquerque (yes, that Albuquerque) to attend a balloon flight school so he could get his pilots license. In some ways that's a good thing, in other ways it's not so good. The good is, he might learn something and come back with a little more respect for his pilots opinions and actually realize when conditions are good for flying and when they're not. The bad is, he could come back with a "now that I'm a pilot, I know everything" attitude. But the really bad is, he spent what..... several thousand dollars on a round trip plane ticket, the schooling itself (which isn't cheap) and living expenses for the six weeks he'll be there. That wouldn't be any of my concern except that I haven't been paid yet. I should have been paid two weeks ago for the month of January. The way I look at it is, he took my money and went to Albuquerque with it. I wasn't too happy. But at least he won't be around to bad mouth my flying like he has constantly done. So he left his wife Banu in charge. She speaks even less English than Alper does. Ought to be a fun couple of weeks until Sancho gets back.
Please use the menu below to navigate the saga . . .