Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Tuesday 13 September 2011 - Ihlara Valley

This unexpected valley lies well hidden on the northern fringes of Mount Hasan - the volcano from which vast quantities of ash, aeons ago, landed to consolidate into the tufa that humans have subsequently carved into towns.

We reached the entrance to the valley after an hour and a half in the bus. A river runs through the wooded gorge in which pistachio trees - which only normally grow in the far east of Turkey - flourish along with poplars and willows.

Apart from habitation built into the walls of the canyon, the highlight of this area is the early Christian churches that have been carved into the rock and are adorned with frescos that have sadly been defaced. Today's picture shows Carey and Sue at the entrance to one of these churches.

Yesterday we saw a snake on our path, and a pair of Egyptian vultures soaring over the phallic towers of eroded tufa. Today someone thought they saw humming birds, but they were more likely to be willow warblers. On the other hand, Humming Bird Moths were busy feeding on the flowers that lined our lush surroundings. There was lots of chickory. The sun beat down.

Lunch was taken at a friendly restaurant on the river, before a trip to Selime ('amazing monastic complex hewn into the rock') was outvoted in favour of 'free time' back in Göreme.

Whilst the last two days have been a gradual wind down after the comparative rigours of trekking, they have been harder for Turan, who has much more to organise, without any support from Elif, without whom leading our group of sixteen has been likened to trying to herd cats. Elif was an effective backmarker.

Apart from that, Turan has toothache. I can sympathise.

After watching a beautiful moonrise, we've enjoyed another good meal at a local restaurant and have waved goodbye to Jane, who at 9.30pm jumped onto a bus that should deliver her to Izmir by tomorrow morning.

This excellent trip is drawing to a close.

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Louise said...

The last few photographs have reminded me of scenes from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Phreerunner said...

Yes Louise, it was a bit like that, especially in the 'snake' church, which I don't mention in detail for fear of upsetting the more delicate of my readers!