Uchisar

I had decided last night that, if the weather was good, I was going to walk to what I thought was the nearest town, Mustafapasa. The weather was good, some blue sky and a few clouds and warmish, so I headed off on foot about 11 in the morning. The idea of encountering a 40 strong dog pack in the hills was a bit off-putting so I decided that I would take the asphalt road instead. I understood that this road would be a longer walk than that through the hills but I was up for it. I took pictures of the graveyard in the centre of town, some of whose graves looked ancient and disintegrated. Here, too, were some graves with pillars and stone turbans on top. These turbans do indicate the occupation and status of the deceased; the higher the pillar and the higher the hat, the more prominent the citizen buried there. In amongst the graves were lots of bones – somewhat disconcerting, since I couldn’t tell what species the bones belonged to …

I kept walking along the road, heading out of town, around each corner expecting to see a sign pointing the way to Mustafapasa, but all I saw was another hill and another turn in the highway. I trudged along the side of the road, much to the amazement of all passing by, generating honks and peeps from all the big trucks and most of the small cars. Some slowed down and looked as though they were going to stop, but none did. After quite some time, I saw a large stone fortress in the distance which I thought I recognized as Uchisar, having been there in June. At the crest of a big hill the crossroad had a sign pointing the way, indeed, to Uchisar and, since Mustafapasa was nowhere to be found, I headed down the road to Uchisar instead. (I later found out that Mustafapasa was in the opposite direction … sigh). I stopped and had my picture taken overlooking Pigeon Valley then, needing a caffeine fix, I entered the posh Kaya Hotel overlooking the Valley. Here, as usual, were busloads of foreign tourists stopping for the buffet lunch. I asked for a cappuccino and was less than delighted to be presented with a Nescafe cappuccino (seems a contradiction in terms, somehow).

After quaffing my drink, I decided to climb up the rock fortress and check out the view from above. It was grand; on top, the wind was mighty strong and I could see for miles. Nevsehir, Ortahisar and Goreme were visible in the distance; Ibrahimpasa was not. I could also see many, many volcanoes in the distance; these were responsible for Cappadocia’s amazing landscape. I could also see how far I’d walked … and how far I’d have to go back, if I walked. Walking slowly back to the Kaya Hotel, I asked some French tourists whether it would be possible to cadge a ride in their big tour bus part way back. No go – the tour leader was not around and none of them seemed interested in helping me out. Since my knees were quite tired from the walk, I decided to call Halil and get him to pick me up. A kindly waiter in the hotel dining room helped me out by explaining to Halil, in Turkish, where I was (Halil doesn’t speak English, or anything other than Turkish). Thankfully, he pulled up in the taxi after only about 15 minutes and I was whisked back to Ibrahimpasa in comfort – yeah!

Paul was kind enough to let me use his mountain bike and serviced it for me so that it’s ready to go for tomorrow’s trip, which is through the hills to Urgup, checking out the rock-cut churches in the valley along the way.

See pictures here.

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