The Poseidon Adventure
Trip Start Sep 05, 2011
51Trip End Jan 04, 2012
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Getting there involved taking a series of buses and on the way we bumped into 2 american girls who were getting the same bus as us. One of them was called Elizabeth Henderson (I have no idea why I remember her name a year on) while I can't remember the other one's name at all. They were living and working in Ukraine as part of a US Peace Corps working in education in disadvangaged countries. They were 9 months into a minimum 21 month contract, by the end of which they would be guaranteed a diplomatic job back in the States. It sounded like an interesting project but once you signed up you were committed and they could send you anywhere. One guy got sent to Armenia on his own and they mentioned a few others who were sent to Africa
It was interesting hearing about their experiences with Ukrainian culture and how it sounds like a really isolated place that is quite behind in the times.
We arrived at the underground city and found this little old Turkish man outside who offered us a tour. I dont normally like getting tour guides but this guy was very eloquent sounding and in hindsight there were no signs or anything inside the place so we would have been screwed without him.
The underground city was made as a place for the Christians to hide in when under attack from the Muslims to the East. They are a huge underground labyrinth of tunnels and storage spaces, focused around ventilation shafts. They really were cities and had everything from stables, kitchens, churches, wineries and large storage areas. The main passages were blocked with large circular stones which made the city impenetrable.
We wove down through the tiny passages with our guide. We had to go through most of it hunched as they were obviously a lot shorter back then
We had a Turkish coffee and then headed off to Nevsehir - another amazing city carved out of fair chimneys. We wandered up into the main citadel and took some awesome photos from the top. for some reason there were trashy Russians everywhere so we skidaddled.
We still had our crappy 'map' of the area, which looked like a picture drawn by an 8 year old. We decided to follow one of the trails on it and head back to Goreme via one of the valleys. We wandered down into the valley and we were for an hour before we reached a massive drop down into a much lower valley. It was around a 30m drop and we could not see any discernible path down. We reckoned that we had taken a wrong turn earlier so we headed back to a previous crossroads. There we met a strange Austrian man (all Austrians are STRANGE) and we headed up the other path. This led to an even deadlier plummet to the lower canyon and we could see no discernible path down at all. It was starting to get dark and we panicking a bit so we decided to back track.
It kinda reminded me of the Poseidon adventure when the other group went the wrong way to their death.
We started making our way back hurredly and were stopped by a pack of wild dogs at which point I was freaking out. I really hate wild dogs, they scare the shit out of me. We carefully sidestepped in a big circle around them and then ran the fuck out of the canyon of death, as the dogs probably feasted on the austrian man's corpse.
After lugging back up to Nevsehir, we got a bus back to Goreme and went to a really cute restaurant in a cave. It was a family house and there was no real menu - the eccentric cook basically just brought us out awesome turkish food and we gobbled it up and talked about our trip so far and the girls experiences in Ukraine.
It had been a lovely day - but little did we know the horrors that the next few days would hold...