Posts Tagged With: tufa


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I’ve had no signal since Friday, and my Turkey experience is coming to a close. Unique topography called fairy chimneys decorates the Pasabag Valley.

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A photo to show you their size. How strange, that this formation stands almost alone.

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Mushrooms come more to mind. Some fairy chimneys were made into rooms, and houses, barns and stables, hundreds of years ago. Now this one serves as a modern office.

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As we hike the terrain changes. We find ourselves in the same valley we flew over in a balloon earlier in the day.


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We enter a natural cave.

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Usla demonstrates by climbing up a the steep back wall of the cave where some unknown hand has carved foot holes in the rock.

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Owen gives it a try and realizes it is easier to climb up then down. His butt turned white from sliding on the chalky surface of this kind of stone.

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We hike farther and now you can see the “rose garden” we were photographing from the balloon ride. The area looks less dramatic then it did from the balloon.

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Higher, we climb.

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It is a gentle climb, and fun, too.

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Owen tops a crest and behind him…DSC06438 (Copy)

…you can see the rim of the volcano that formed this valley. And, the obvious topography we flew over in our balloon. You can double-click, once, then again for a better view of the valley.

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We press on and find a series of houses, some with ordinary doors and windows. A gentleman drives his car near us and we watch as he makes the long hike to his doorway with an armload of what appeared to be groceries.

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It is difficult to reach this cave house, if anyone lives in it.

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It began to rain and we took shelter in this cafe and gift shop under the umbrellas.

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The shower lasted only a few minutes and we didn’t stay for tea.

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Everyone noticed the ad mentioning viagra which lead us to ask Usla how Turkish men and women feel about birth control and family size. He told us the government is very interested in limiting population and encourages the use of condoms and other forms of birth control. The people are very responsive to that.

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A vendor offers camel rides.

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Even the camel wears a God’s eye.

After lunch, we visited the underground city. During the Hittite era, armies swept cross Asia Minor and this underground city was built to be a very defensible community. Some “houses”  are eight stories high. I stayed above ground, drank a fresh squeezed orange juice and caught up on my journal. Owen visited but didn’t bring his camera that day. The passageways are narrow, often sloping but the rooms are well ventilated by air shafts to the surface. Underground cities have cisterns and this one has  homes with enameled food storage places,  next to kitchens. Other areas serve as stables. The underground city is no longer occupied but at one time thousands of people lived in the place.

For a slide show of our balloon trip and hike, click the picture below:

2014-Turkey-5-3-Cappadocia-Balloon,UndergrundCity,FairyChimneys Hike




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There were groans when we were awakened at 2:00 a.m. to be driven to our balloon ride grounds. The balloon experience is and optional tour and three of us, me, Owen and Gina were the only takers. It was cold and chilly when we arrived to see balloons and crews working all over a huge field staging area.

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What a thrill when a balloon is suddenly aloft and lighting up the sky and ready to fly. Beautiful.

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We are directed to our balloon and the crew is working hard to get it upright.

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Watching it grow bigger and bigger and lift the basket and come off the ground. Quite a show.DSC06509 (Copy)

Our faces are reddened by the flames. A crewman offers to take our picture. Now we are glad we got up early. We are the first ones to load. The other 21 passengers are nowhere to be seen.

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Balloons all around us are coming to life.

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We are airborne and flying before the sun comes up.

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A beautiful sunrise.

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In the distance, the sun plays across the highest ridges first. What a magnificent way to watch a sunrise. You can click  once than again to make the photos bigger for a better view if you like. Then back arrow to return to the blog.


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This balloon gets close enough to “kiss”  which means we bumped together, a fairly common event when 70 to 90 balloons launch in close proximity.

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We fly over a deep tufa canyon. The white tufa is a volcanic rock that makes quite beautiful formations.

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It is a strange feeling to be practically above another flyer.

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The colors and beautiful background delight the senses.

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Owen and…

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…Gina are both enjoying their first balloon flight. It is a drifting, serene experience.

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At some point, as we gaze at the rough terrain,  the “fairy Chimneys”  we kind of wonder about the landing? I’ve flown before, but only over fields and vineyards or savannah.

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The area has rose-colored rocks and is called the rose garden.

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Some of the tufa shows colorful streaks as well. Something you cannot see from the ground.

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We know that we will hike this area later in the day with our group.

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We watch as SkyWay is making for a landing area where one balloon is already on the ground, ready to be rolled up and put back on the truck.

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Half deflated, the balloon lands right on the chase trailer. I’ve never seen it done that way before this flight. These are giant baskets. We were given instructions on how to brace for a hard ground landing which has been my past experience in the three balloon rides I’ve taken where everyone is in one simple basket holding about 6 people plus one or two crew members.

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Everyone bails out and down she goes.

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We spot our ground crew.

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The pilot throws them a line and they drag us into position.

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Our pilot keeps the balloon slightly inflated while we bail out. No other crew member on this flight.

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We watch our balloon collapse and congratulate the pilot on our soft, perfect landing.

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We celebrate and enjoy cookies and champagne and salute our successful flight. Everyone is taking pictures. We are presented with a flight certificate and then bused back to the hotel. Wonderful. I’d have to say, each flight is different and unique. Very enjoyable.



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