Turkey: Land of Home Furnishings.

I don’t shop for shoes, I rarely shop for clothes, but I love shopping for my house. I’ve always been quite focused on one day having my dream home and Turkey is where I’ll come when I win the lottery. The shops here are like Aladdin’s Cave. Everything glows, sparkles or looks soft and touchable. It’s all in either bright, rainbow colours, like the lamps or deep earthy reds and browns, like the carpets. God, just writing about it makes me want to grab my credit cards and get out there.

Not only that but it’s so *easy*. You like this lamp? Sure it looks huge but we’ll ship it for you! DHL! FedEx! Straight to your door! The more you buy, the cheaper it gets… come on lady, this would look great in your house! Now have some apple tea, sit down and we’ll show you everything we have.

The last few days of our tour have involved trips to bazaars, lamp shops, carpet factories, pottery warehouses with beautiful plates… it is a soul wrenching experience for me to say no to something that I think would add to the vision I have for my place.

Carpets galore!

Some things are easier to say no to than others – like the 20,000 euro rugs that we watched being hand woven (some had over 1000 silk knots per square centimetre).

Look at that detail!

Bug to rug!

Apart from my few trinkets I think the main thing I’ll be adding to my lifestyle once I get home is Turkish tea. I’ve never really enjoyed tea and only briefly drank coffee but Turkish tea is right up my alley. Tiny little glasses of what is essentially hot apple juice but made from a powder. This is something I could get on board with.

Apart from breaking all kinds of biblical laws about coveting Turkish people’s handicrafts, we took it somewhat easy on our last day in Cappadocia. I’d show you photos of that but I’m pretty sure you can imagine what 3 people surfing the net for 8 hours looks like. So instead here’s a crappy photo of our hotel, taken form a bus rather than, say, me getting out on foot and taking a decent one from the road.

Don’t worry, with years of practice you too can take photos this awesome. Never forget – a light post adds to ambiance.  Our room was in that cone of rock.

Here’s a bunch of loosely-related photos that I want to show you from our three nights in Cappadocia.

Alien landscape.

So many cats in Turkey.

All the epic views!

On a 30+ day I want to sit at a table in a stream.

Our tour guide looked like our friend Leah and had the same beautiful smile and bouncy attitude.

Evil eye tree!

Turkey: Cappadocia, Pt 1

Firstly, let me begin by saying it’s Cap-ah-doe-kee-ya. I hate reading words and not knowing how to say them. Like the town we’re staying in – Goreme. Which I’ve only just worked out is ‘Gor-eh-meh’, not Gore-eem or Gor-eh-may. Urgh. Turkish is not so easy. Fortunately, language aside, the country seems to be about as well set up for ignorant tourists as Thailand and people here speak many languages. Like our hotel manager who speaks Turkish, English and Japanese (and that’s just what I’ve heard) and our tour guide who spoke Korean as well as English and Turkish. Being monolingual overseas is always a bit embarrassing… I think I’ll start telling people I speak a bit of Swahili – they’ll never be able to test me!

But back to Cappadocia. I wanted to come because our friend, the delightful Ms Muppet, recommended it so highly and she was right – this place is like some kind  ‘Labrynth meets fairyland in the desert’ landscape. The photos will tell it best.

Pigeon Valley at sunset.

Unfortunately Luke has now come down with the same sickness I had and spent the day on the bus suffering greatly. I felt a bit sorry for everyone else.. there’s nothing like being forced into a confined space with people who are coughing and spluttering (I’m still a bit sick too) while you’re on holidays and really not wanting to get ill. I tried to save my great, honking, nose blowing for outside the bus but… well, it wasn’t pretty.

What else wasn’t pretty was me having a panic attack at our very first stop.

We were scheduled to visit an underground city and I didn’t really have any qualms. We lined up, went down a narrow flight of stairs, turned a corner and some part of my brain screamed ‘GET OUT OF HERE’ and I muttered ‘I can’t do this’ to Luke, back up and raced out towards the light, adrenalin racing, almost bursting into tears.

I have no idea where this comes from – I’ve never really enjoyed confined spaces or caves but I think the super-narrowness, and knowing we’d be going down 8 floors just triggered something primal and I could barely hold it together to get out. At least I know to avoid those situations in future! I spent half an hour sitting on some grass, patting a dog that, apart from being white rather than black, was the spitting image of my dog, and generally cursing myself for being a wuss.

Everything else we did was fine though. We went for a walk down and along a canyon, had a nice lunch by a river, climbed to some fairy chimneys and saw the landscape that inspired Tatooine in the first Star Wars movie (scenes eventually filmed in Tunisia because the Turkish government at the time was monumentally short-sighted and didn’t give them permission), saw some epic views over landscapes that have barely changed in centuries and just generally soaked up the foreign-ness of it all.

Near the place that inspired Tatooine.

When we got back to the hotel Luke fell into bed and Lucas and I stayed up blogging, got some dinner and were serenaded by the sound of dozens of cars honking their horns because a wedding party arrived here and then left. We told the hotel owner that people only honk their horns in Australia when they’re angry and he laughed. “Cultural differences!” – yes, and thank god we live in a place where if you’re happy and you know it you don’t make a huge amount of noise. Apparently there are many weddings here on the weekends – it’d drive me mad!

The wedding car.

Speaking of our hotel, we’re staying in a fairy chimney – our room was carved out of a cone-shaped spire of rock. Pretty neat! This is what the hotel looks like. I think the first room photo that comes up on their header is our room. We had a big terrace in front of our room and one morning I counted 25 balloons in the sky. sometimes there’s over 60!