Omelette with sausage was Adem's (yes, I've been spelling his name wrong for a week) parting gift to the squad, with Karen now recovered from her stomach bug.
Today's walk was entirely downhill, through the impressive Maden Gorge (pictured). Starting at 9am along a Jeep track - actually a mine road, we soon saw our bags pass by before we left the security of the dusty track in favour of a rocky, pathless descent into the fine gorge. Dippers flitted up and down, and a family of 'chukkas' (partridge) strolled back up the bank after going down for a drink.
It was rough going, and increasingly hot under the burning sun. Some were relieved when we came upon a bulldozed track used when pipes were laid to divert water from the gorge for use as a nearby town's drinking water.
Our eight day trek then came to a gentle close as the valley widened and flattened, passing fields of stubble and a picnic spot with benches (and picnickers) before the Demavend Travel bus came into sight.
Our last picnic lunch was taken beside a grey brook under a line of poplar trees dividing two fields of stubble. Turan stalked a couple of hoopoe in the field and got some good pictures of them with his Nikon.
After a short bus ride back to the village of Demirka where we started our trek over a week ago, we met the Jeep and said goodbye to both Ramazan and Elif, who could return home to her family before starting a new academic year at Istanbul University. She had proved a friendly and able assistant to Turan over the past week, and we had enjoyed her company.
A half hour bus journey on good roads led to the rather ordinary small town of Derinkuyu. This town's 'secret' is its ancient underground city, dating from around 400BC or earlier. It's one of at least 300 underground settlements, where local people took refuge from marauding Crusaders and others.
The city is like a small inverted skyscraper, at least 60 metres deep, with seven floors, lots of interconnecting passages, food stores, kitchens, stalls for animals, a winery, a church, a missionary school and much more, all serviced by a number of ventilation chimneys disguised as wells. It was fascinating to visit, and much more extensive than the catacombs we have seen in Alexandria.
A tea shop provided refreshments before we continued our short journey to Göreme, where Çiner Hotel is our base for the next couple of days. On the way we passed through an area of the 'Fairy Chimneys' for which Cappadocia, of which Göreme is at the centre, is famous. These are rock columns and pyramids that have been converted into all manner of buildings.
Our own agenda involved getting thoroughly clean after eight days of trekking. This was achieved by way of a local Turkish Bath, or by the hotel's efficient showers, according to preference. A few beers, etc, and a tasty buffet concluded the day.
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