Hello all:

Sorry that I haven’t updated in awhile, but not much has happened as of late, except two things:

1) I AM NOW 21! Whoo-hoo!  How did I celebrate?  A few friends of mine and I went to a few bars in Taksim after our first plan fell through (the place we were going to go was closed indefinitely)

2) This last weekend, I went to Cappadocia with the ESN people!  Below are pictures from the trip.

It was a 12-hour bus ride there…but at least we were on the PA PA PA PARTY BUS! (aka: none of us got more than 2 hours of sleep- tops.  I got maybe 20 minutes, but the adrenaline from traveling, and an hour nap after reaching the hotel, kept me awake all day).  We had several stops on our itinerary.  First, we stopped by a cliff dwelling site, where ancient Greeks living in Anatolia settled.  Then, we continued on to a pottery workshop; one that still makes them by hand…including the intricate designs on top.  We were given special discounts of 1/2 up to 2/3 depending on what we were purchasing.  Further, they gave a demonstration on how to use a kick wheel, and then had one of us try it out.  Alessandro from Italy decided to try.  His technique was…shall we say…amateurish?

After that, we stopped off the road at a few places to get a look at the natural beauty.  This included “The Camel,” a natural rock feature that was formed through the millenia of erosion into the shape not unlike a camel.  Our next stop was then the “Rabbits” which didn’t really look much like rabbits to me, but I suppose that I have to take them at their word.  From there we stopped at a winery, where we were given each a free bottle of red wine (it was really sweet).  Additionally, I bought a fairly cheap bottle of white wine, and because of that got to put my name in a raffle, which I won.  The prize? Some decanter that looks like a vase.

Finally, we got to have a traditional 3-course meal, complete with a show.  This show featured dancers in traditional dress acting out various scenes, such as a wedding (where my friend Alisa was brought up to join in as the “other” woman to drive the would-be-bride into jealousy) and (if I judged the dance correctly) a battle?  There was also a belly dancer, who had some (male) members of the audience come up to try their hand at the dance.  Once the show (and dinner) ended, ESN took over the stage and turned the restaurant into a dance club.  We danced there until midnight, where we retired to the afterparty at the hotel.  I ended up being the DJ when their computer stopped working, solely because I’d thought to bring my laptop.  I wasn’t really into the whole DJ experience, especially as drunk people were continually trying to make requests and get me to skip others’ requests.  It was a nightmare and a migraine.  Further, some of the requests weren’t even dance music, which angered the group at large.  Finally, I put my foot down and just played what I wanted to play.  Good thing the party ended at 3:30 am.

The next morning was probably my favourite part of the trip, even though the weather was dreary and rainy.  This is because we went to the open-air museum, and got our museum cards, which means that I can now go to any museum in turkey (until 2012) for free!  🙂

The buildings at this museum were largely similar; what looked like eating areas, toilets, and the obvious churches (inside of which we were not allowed to take photos) but I still enjoyed our (short) time there.  Our next stop after this was the Underground city.  Cities such as this dot the Anatolian peninsula, and are all interconnected by long tunnels for quick getaways from marauders.  We got to go into one and wander through some of these tunnels.  It was a good thing that the ways were marked, as it would have been very easy to get lost in there.  It was definitely an experience, and one that I would love to do again.

Exiting the underground city, we continued our way back, stopping briefly at a canyon (of sorts) and a salt lake.  This last I don’t have a picture of, as it was dark and rainy, and no amount of flash or anything could given any real view, especially since there wasn’t really one.

After a long two days, we finally arrived back at the University at around 2:30 am.  It was a good trip all around, though I wish that perhaps we had taken a plane (sitting and sleeping on a bus is not the most comfortable situation in the world).

Below are my pictures, please enjoy!

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