|Distant Goreme and the entrance to the Valley of the Pigeons|
Anyway the good news is that we have met a great local guide with wonderful knowledge and fluent English. Together we explored Cappadocia, the south west coast and Istanbul. Cappadocia and Istanbul were wonderful – the coast was a horrible pile of concrete – or at least that’s my view!
We started by flying to Kayseri and after arriving at midnight awoke to a dawn display of 50 balloons drifting over the strange landscape around Goreme. Over the next few days we went in and out of dozens of hotels, walked peaceful paths through the eroded landscape of fairy chimneys and cave dwellings and took a lot of photographs. The good news is that we found a lovely village, away from the over-developed Goreme, to act as our base with a choice of three good hotels. The village is called Uchisar and it is famous for the hundreds of thousands of pigeons that were kept in the caves and whose guano was used to fertilise the fabulous Cappadocian wine. There are lovely walks up pigeon valley and images everywhere for the painter or photographer.
|Original frescoes in cave church - an inspiration|
The one thing I did discover is that the boats known as Gulets are huge and a hundred times more comfortable than the old sailing boat I used to have. They can of course sail away from the concrete and there appear to be many pretty bays in which to anchor and swim. As the waters are protected there is no rolling and the en-suite bedrooms are really quite large. I wonder how many guests might enjoy them as a base for singing, painting, walking or photography. If it appeals to you do please let us know.
Then it was time for an internal flight to Istanbul – Turkish airlines are great.
Istanbul was a treat – masses of intense action if wanted (great images for photographers) but calmer quieter areas for others – Mosques, courtyards, gardens, seaside, bazaars both big and small, boat trips on the Bosphorus, sweet shops and hundreds of fishermen.
As ever days were spent in and out of hotels looking at the pros and cons but there was still time to discover the Blue Mosque, explore the Grand Bazaar, and eat great food in magical locations. The Galleta bridge is a wonderful location for a restaurant and as it is two stories high the road users and fishermen are on the top and the restaurant goers on the bottom. This means that as you sit at your table the weights of the fishing lines swung from above come surprisingly close to your table – it was all I could do to stop my son giving the lines a quick tug!
|In love on the Galetta bridge|
|Children replacing the balloons in shooting gallery on the Bosphorus|
|Ships waiting to pass through the Bosphorus|
|John's son Arran - a new supporter of Galatasaray|
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