Koula marvels over Cappadocia

Koula, 94.7 presenter and F&HE blogger, is loving all things food-related in her travels through Turkey, Greece, Italy and Israel…

Saturday 25 August

Didn’t get to explore Adana at all. The day’s itinerary is usually decided on the day by the director, depending on how happy he is with the shooting’s pace. So we went straight to Tarsus instead, birthplace of the apostle Paul, and seeing as we’re shooting ‘The lonely footsteps of the apostle Paul’, an important place indeed.
We went to St Paul’s Well – the well that was used in Tarsus during Paul’s time, surrounded by original stone paving. Then to Saint Paul’s memorial church, an old but definitely not ancient church, which has recently been refurbished. More fascinating though, was the Gumusler (silver) monastery. It was, in the time of Paul, a self-sustaining village – complete with church – carved into caves. The central courtyard had deep holes dug into it, where huge clay pots were placed (underground) for the storage of wheat and grapes. Another deep well kept water cool. And the church was exquisite – beautiful (restored) paintings on its walls and plenty more sobering moments of Christians hiding in places like this, worshiping in secret.
From there, we ventured on to Derin Kuyu – the most incredible underground city – eight levels below the ground, a maze of inter-connected caves. Christians lived in this secret city and besides family dwellings, there were baptismal areas, places for learning and channels up to ground area to allow for ventilation as well as letting light enter the caves. Both fascinating and sobering.
Now prior to today, I’d never heard of Goreme. Cappadocia, yes… Goreme, no. Goreme is a town in Cappadocia and we drove through it at sunset as our hotel is a few minutes outside of it. It is honestly one of the most extraordinary landscapes I have ever seen. You feel like you’ve just set foot on a Flintstones movie set! Large volcanic formations are scattered along the horizon, some in clusters, others isolated but like nothing I’d seen before! It’s one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites and is beautiful in the most unique way. Goreme is one of the cutest towns I’ve seen, with hotels and shops built into these volcanic rock formations and I’m almost too excited to sleep as we’re going hot air ballooning over this fascinating place early tomorrow morning!

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