If I’m being honest, I took a backseat on the Turkey planning front and left it largely up to my travel partners Erin and Dave. While this allowed me to relax and enjoy more of my vacation leading up to Turkey, it also means that I now have no idea where I am or where I’m going. I also have zero expectations of a place before arrival, which is now serving me quite well.
The first mystery spot on the itinerary: Cappadocia (Cap-uh-doke-ee-yuh), historically known as the “Land of the Beautiful Horses,” and naturally occurring phallic rock formations. That’s right folks, 50’+ you-know-whats formed over thousands of years due to a top layer of hard volcanic rock and an under layer of softer tuff, or sand-like material, that wears away at a much quicker rate. In fact, the tuff is so soft, that it can be easily carved away to form dwelling units that mirror the Jawa village in Star Wars. It’s quite the sight, to say the least, and with that I’ll move onto a topic of more substance—taking reenactment photos while visiting historical sights.
Cappadocia and its dramatic landscape has been a part of well-documented history for over 4,500 years. It is mentioned various times in the Bible (albeit by different names), and its various underground cities were used as far back as 2,500BC as protection shelters during times of siege, sometimes for up to 5 months at a time. While touring the Göreme Open Air Museum, the Derinkuyu Underground City, and the Ihlara Valley’s Selime Cathedral, we realized that all of our photos were blending together—worn frescoes, old archways, and sand—lots of sand. So, we decided to mix it up and place subjects in the photos “to help tell the stories.” The following series is not meant to be disrespectful, but a rather cheeky attempt to engage with the sights on a different level. And for those of you that find this inappropriate, don’t worry—we got a bit of what we deserved as we posed in what we thought was a baptism pool that turned out to be an ancient latrine. Pretty big miss, but funny nonetheless.
So far, Turkey has provided a crash course in Islamic, Christian, European, and general world history that I didn’t quite expect. I have begun to read ahead about our upcoming stops, but plan to keep the element of surprise alive as well by waiting to ask my questions until arrival. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.