Friday, January 8, 2010
During the usual down time during the end of year in Japan my ass decided to sneak off the island and head to Turkey. The nation of Turkey may seen like an odd choice, but in reality I just wanted to get the hell away from Japan for a little bit. 2009 proved to be a heavy year for me and I wanted to get the fuck away from everything. Turkey is a good choice because it is basically in between the west and east. It`s far enough away from Japan for me to forget about shit as well as not to close to America. So, for a week I hung out in Turkey trying to relax and forget about the insanity of Tokyo.
What the hell does a greaser from West Virginia who lives in Tokyo do in Turkey any fucking way? Well, the answer to that question is simple enough. I do what ever I can to forget the crazy ass year I just endured. Yeah, I could have been a total out of control asshole in Turkey, but I decided to take it easy. Besides, the Truks are Muslim so they usually don`t take kindly to insane Americans. Yet, despite the limitations I placed on myself I still had a damn good time in Turkey. In fact, I had such a good time that two posts about my trip are needed.
The first part of my adventure in Turkey took me to a place called Kappadokia. I could get into a long boring ass history lesson about Kappadokia but I am not a history teacher so read this if you want a history lesson. In short, Kappadokia is a really old place which many cultures have laid claim to over the years. It is also really beautiful and a great place to relax.
Considering that Kappadokia is in a B.F.E part of Turkey, it was easy to forget everything and simply enjoy myself. I didn`t even need to go ape shit crazy to purge any bent up stress. The beauty and peaceful environment washed over me; filling me with a surreal sense of awareness. My inner spirit got a massive jolt of energy being surrounded by the spiked rocks and rolling wave cliffs of Kappadokia. It was a damn good feeling to say the least.
I didn`t just stare at the surroundings all day drinking up the beauty of it all. I actually was pretty active in Kappadokia. I got into some pretty cool shit while chilling in B.F.E. Turkey. I signed up for a guided hike around Kappadokia. We started out in the morning with a cool ass hike in the mountain area. The guide babbled on about the history of Kappadokia while I enjoyed the beauty and took a crap load of photos. I only paid attention to about half of what the guide was talking about. He was talking about some cool stuff, which did relate to the hike, but I was interested in checking out the amazing scene around me.
Due to cold temperatures the trail was frosted over pretty damn good. It was pretty amazing to see such a thick layer of frost collected on the weeds and shrubs. The gal and I got separated from the other people several times because we kept wondering around taking photos and exploring. The guide didn`t seem to really give a shit so I think we got more out of the hike than everyone else.
After the hike was over went to an `underground city` of sorts. Under the village there is damn near another city. Back in the old days of wars and general hell raising the people used to hide out in the underground city to keep from getting killed by invading armies. The whole idea of it got my attention and I actually listened to the guide a little more closely. Over the course of many centuries an entire maze of tunnels and living quarters were dug out by several different cultures. Going all the way back to Roman times, people used the underground city for protection. As I traveled though the tunnels and dug out living spaces, I thought about what it must have been like to survive in such an environment. They must have been some real tough folks!
People back in the day were hardcore! The underground city was no joke. It was not easy to wonder around though the tunnels. I had to get on my hands and knees a few times. Even when there was enough room to walk I had to hunch over in order to avoid smacking my head against the ceiling. Even the gal, who is only 5`2`, had a little trouble a few times. Despite the tight fit, it was damn cool to get such a hands on experience with an important part of Turkey`s past.
While the guided hike was cool, the balloon ride was awesome! The gal nor I had ever been in a hot air balloon before. It was a big treat for both of us. She talked about it for weeks leading up to the big day. I think it was the romantic and fun factor which got her so up for it. I have to admit it was damn fun. Although, we had to get up at the crack of dawn because the balloons can only fly in the morning hours. We didn`t mind much because it was so worth the early morning start.
Hell, half the fun was watching them get the damn things up and running. They used a huge flame connected to what sounded like a jet engine. While the balloon company got everything ready we were given all the free coffee we could drink. It was so damn cold I must have had half a pot of coffee while I waited. The wait was well worth it. Once we got in the air the scene was mind blowing! All the beauty of Kappadokia in full 360 display. Everyone in the basket were speechless. We all just stared at it eyes wide open. It was a high light of my life for sure.
Aside from all the stuff I saw and did in Kappadokia I did something extra. The staff at the hotel we stayed told us about a guy in town offering ATV rentals and a guide though the off-road trails. I knew I should not be riding ATV`s though one of the world`s greatest nature wonders but I just could not resist. I guess the country redneck buried deep inside of me compelled me to rent an ATV and get in some four wheeling action.
It actually turned out to be damn fun. I got to see a lot of Kappadokia that you just cannot get to hiking or taking a guided tour. The guy who took us along the off-road trails knew some cool spots to hang out. We got to see some really cool shit. We come up on this church build right into the damn mountain! I must have explored that old church for an hour. Four wheeling in Kappadokia kicks ass!
Overall, Kappadokia was great. I felt so relaxed and stress free. The people were so nice and friendly. All the beauty was so inspiring and soul enriching. I suggest it as a great vacation spot for anyone looking to get away from everything for a bit.
I also made it to Istanbul while I was in Turkey. That was a different experience all together; which is why I am going to post a second blog post about my time in Turkey soon. I got some great photos and a few stories to tell about Istanbul so be looking forward to that yall!