Sunday, October 10, 2010

Goreme

This is our second day in Goreme. The first day the temperature dropped from 28 to 5 degrees with wind and rain. Some guests reported snow on their hikes through the valleys. It was bitter. We were all hung over from our overnight bus trip. At best, we’d had about 2 hours of sleep at a time. They kept turning the lights back on and at times turned on music as well. Strange. At any rate, we passed the first day in a haze of shivering misery. When we finally got into our cave house, we all huddled into our beds and slept until late afternoon. We ventured out to find food but barely managed to stay out to eat before scurrying back to our cozy cave.

Today dawned bright and clear. The clouds had all been pushed back to the horizon and the air was crisp and fresh. I got out about 8am and could still see my breath but my attitude had shifted with the rain. I climbed up to a pinnacle and watched the balloons drifting over this amazing place. I ate my breakfast on the deck with three other Canadian ladies. We swapped stories and generally enjoyed the beautiful sunshine together.

When Tom and the kids finally surfaced from the cave, we headed out to the open air museum. We rented audio guides and crawled through some seriously weird monasteries. They had been built into the fairy chimneys with tunnels connecting them underneath. I don’t know what it is about weird locations but early Christians were a bizarre lot. The audio guide was disappointing in that it described in detail the frescoes and which apostle, saint or important figure was which but it didn’t tell us much else about the houses, lifestyles, building techniques and so on.

We did glean that the monks carved tables out of the rock (picture on right) and dug holes in the floor to stomp grapes (picture on left). We also just admired the views of this unique landscape.

This evening after dinner we all headed to the Elis Hamam for our Turkish bath experience. We wore our bathing suits and went in together, although if I had known not everyone would be wearing a suit, I would have opted to take Julia into the female only side. As it was, most of the men were modest enough to keep their towels on. Women all wore bathing suits. We entered into the sauna first. Julia announced she was hot and didn’t want to come in. With some encouragement she decided to join us. Rhys won the sweat contest with beads covering his body. I won the “who can stay in longest” contest. It really only brings my body temperature up to where everyone else’s is normally. I think I may be part lizard.

After the sauna, we sat in a marble room and a washer came to each of us to douse us in warm water and scrub us down with loofah pads. We then lay on a heated marble table in the centre of the room for our soaping. They had these weird cheesecloth type bags that they’d lift out of a bucket and whoosh through the air to fill. They’d hold the top of the bag closed and then press it down on your body creating masses of soap bubbles. What a different way to create bubbles. Rhys and Tom had men soapers and Julia and I had women soapers. The soaper smoothed the bubbles all over the front of us several times, massaging as they went. Then we flipped (the heated marble was truly lovely) and they soaped the back with a more vigorous massage. Tom had lots of slapping and cracking going on but he swears he feels better. After soaping, we returned to the marble seats on the outside of the room and once again were doused with warm water.

At this point I was starting to feel veeerrrrryyyy relaxed. I followed my soaper into another room with a large pool of cool water. We all dipped into the water and stayed for quite a while since we weren’t sure what to do next. When it was apparent no one was going to come to get us, we gingerly climbed out and asked one of the soapers what to do. He told us to go back to the sauna then back to the pool and then to shower off and leave. At least, we THINK that’s what he said as the Turkish accent is a bit hard to follow at times. “No problem” was definitely part of his soliloquy.

After the second sauna and shower, we left and another person greeted us at the door to dry and wrap us in a big towel. Then they wrapped another towel around our head. We went out to a communal room to lie on loungers and sip apple tea. When we tired of that, we went to the change room to get dressed. Both Julia and I agreed it was bed time as soon as we began to change.

1 comments:

maryanncart said...

I am screaming with laughter about the toxins your family is leaving in Goreme. LOVE the pictures... we may have to have a sauna experience as a 3 generation family. Thank you so much for sharing this. Thanksgiving here tomorrow...the 11th...doug/joy/
young carters, loki and Emma coming. will miss all of you and send our love..