Saturday, May 13, 2006

Visiting Viagra Valley


On Friday morning after a great nights sleep in each of our cave rooms, we woke for short exercise session for those so inclined, and cappucino for those either back down quickly or later rising. After a great breakfast here (many choices including Turkish breakfast, french toast, fruit and yoghurt, omelet or eggs cooked to order with bread and assorted jams and preserves and mysterious spreads) we headed out at no later than 10:30 a.m. for a trek over to the open air museum. We walked up through the village and on to a ridge with quite a panorama of the area. Then we eventually found a decent path down to "Love Valley", or Viagra Valley as Sherri said. We wandered through the large rock formations and flowers with dry but tilled fields. We met a couple of nice women selling their handiwork, consisting of embroidered and beaded objects primarily. One of the women's husband had a nice little couch like arrangement in the shade under a tree and Paul soon was invited to take a load off while shopping occured. The man then led us out of the valley to the main road, as he was on his way to the noon prayer at the mosque.

We then walked up the paved road towards the open air museum. It was noon by then and getting hotter. It was nice to go into some of the cave openings (not very deep) and also the many small rooms that were used a churches. The walls were painted and frescoed in parts.

The state run shop of handicrafts was a find. We were finally able to locate the copper pans in which eggs had been scrambled when we were in Selchuk at the Hotel Bella. Also lots of nice, unique hand made jewelry and other copper household objects such as lamps, cups etc. Great prices and no hassling, quite a relief.

Eventually we made it out of the museum and walked home to Goreme in search of refreshment and artistic inspiration. We all had Turkish pizzas I think, long pieces of dough filled with your choice and baked in a wood oven. Then some of us retired to our cool cave rooms to nap, and others retired to the local cappucino shop to draw and paint. All eventually met back at the Elif Star to our dinner of manti = tiny lamb ravioli with terrific vegetables and followed up with baba au rum.

At about 10 p.m. three rug guys from Sultanhami drove up with a carpet purchased on our ransacking of the area. (No names - my policy for now.) Coffee was drunk accompanied by tall tales of the carpet trade (to hear them they make absolutely no profit, and you might think the whole operation is a net loss.) Those of us still up stagger to bed, including Sherri, who was bound to a 5 a.m. wakeup for a balloon ride with Mary Claire.

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