After waking up in our cave room in Cappadocia, we were off to see the amazing rock formations and caves this area is known for. (A cave is a great place to sleep for one night, but perhaps, not two!)
Our first stop was, however, the local celebration in Goreme for Republic Day. We arrived to see the local crowd already seated by gender, eagerly waiting for the parade to begin. Soon the high school marching band arrived, leading each school class carrying a banner. The program continued with the singing of their national anthem and was conducted entirely by the kids, except for the speeches delivered by the local politicians.
After politely listening to two speeches that we did not understand one word of, we were off to see the a complex of medieval painted cave churches carved into the phallic like rock formations by Orthodox monks. Weird and wonderful are the words that come to mind.
Next we visited a pigeon-house, located in what is called pigeon valley. This stop proved to be our favorite for two reasons. First, we were able to climb up 3 separate ladders in the military controlled building to see the view from atop one of the very weird rock formations (think upper most area in a rocket ship) and get a first hand view of a pigeon-house. Second, we were once again lucky enough to experience the graciousness of a total stranger; as we prepared to leave, the young cadet at the desk, motioned for us to sit down and pantomimed drinking tea. He then rushed out to buy us tea and then again, using pantomime asked if we would like him to take our picture. After we finished our tea, we once again prepared to leave, but first asked if he would be in a picture with the kids. He reluctantly agreed, but then got into the spirit and had Theo sit on his lap so he could put his hat on Theo’s head.
After this, we visited the castle, facing the pigeon house we were just in, but divided by a deep valley.