Fountaine Pajot Orana 44 “Midi” – Part 13 – Final meanderings for 2011 – hot air ballooning in Cappadocia caps off a trip of a lifetime!

Posted: 26th November 2011.

And now, the end is here

And so I face the final curtain (for the 2011 Northern Hemisphere sailing season)

My friend I’ll say it clear

I’ll stake my case of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full (sorry Dr Nigel)

I traveled each and ev’ry highway (well a few watery miles and land-based ones)

And more, much more than this, we did it our way!!! (Apologies to Frank Sinatra for pinching his song)

Well this is it, the last newsletter for 2011. It has been like coming home, to return to Marmaris, even though we are at a different marina. We have caught up with old friends, met some new ones and started the process of putting Midi to bed for the winter. But we saved the best adventure for last. A trip  to Cappadocia. There were only 12 of us on this trip – English, Irish, Dutch, Norwegian and us Kiwi fullas. We had five nights/six days away in our little bus with Tansal our Turkish driver and Taz, our Turkish guide. Taz is a lovely young man and I thought I might like to take him home for a son-in-law but the only trouble is I am not sure whether he would fancy Serenity or Hamish!

We were picked up last Sunday morning at 6.15 and drove, with stops 7 hours to a place called Egirdir, which is on a lake. Very pretty but very cold and the hotel was not all that warm so we were glad it was only an overnight stop. Next place was Konya, three hours away, the home of the Whirling Dervishes and we visited Mevlana Museum, the former lodge of the dervishes. Another three hours on our little bus, found us visiting a wee place called Sultanhani where we visited a Caravanseri built in 1229 to house the camel trains on the silk road. Then we were in the Cappadocia region at a town called Nevsehir which would be our base for the next two nights. The next morning it was up at 5am to go on our hot air balloon ride over Goreme.

This was absolutely magical. I am a bit scared of heights but at no time did I feel afraid. We went way up high and we were up there with 30 other balloons and then they would bring us down and almost touch the hills so you could see the cave dwellings, up close and personal.

The landscape was spectacular. Rolling hills just like a Sharpei dog. We then went to the Goreme Open Air Museum to look at the Rock Churches. It was so amazing to see all these churches, dedicated to various saints, carved out of the hillside. We then had a  lovely lunch in a large cave restaurant. After that we went to a pottery demonstration and Bruce got to be the person to throw a pot (plate actually) but we don’t have a photo of that because I couldn’t get the camera to work. One of the others in the group did so hopefully we will have proof that he did it.

The next morning we visited Derinkuyu underground city. 35,000 people lived in this underground city, used by the Hittites, Romans and Byzantines. We wound our way down 80-90 metres and it was hard to imagine people living down there, although the air was fresh and clean from the many ventilation shafts. There are 36 underground cities in the area and many are linked by tunnels of up to eight kilometres. I think they must have been a lot shorter in those days or ended up with very sore backs as we had to bend over quite a bit to get around.

We visited a carpet weavers co-operative and saw the silk being threaded, from the cocoon to make thread. The women making the carpets are amazing. They must surely end up with back problems, producing those beautiful carpets. Another place we have to go back to, if we win Lotto.

We visited the Pasabagi Fairy Chimneys, once again amazing formations created by the erosion over time of Mother Nature.

We had a Turkish night out at another underground venue. Big mistake to offer yachties free drinks with your meal. Bruce made the most of it and suffered late that evening but not before admiring the delights of the Belly Dancer. Of course he blamed Kate and Davey, the Irish couple, for leading him astray.

On the way home to Marmaris, we visited the city of Antalya and saw Hadrian’s Gate built in 130 AD and a beautiful waterfall, right in the middle of the city.

We arrived back in Marmaris, having travelled over 2,000 kms and Bruce ended up sick. At first he blamed it on maybe eating a dodgy mushroom at the restaurant we had stopped off at for lunch on the way but then 24 hours later, I came down with it as well so we must have picked up a stomach bug of some sort. Not the way to end such a wonderful adventure.

But now we come to the final cleaning and packing up of the boat. It has been a wonderful year and we have met some lovely people and Midi has done us proud. She is a great boat and we have had the most incredible time on her. We look forward to next year when we will explore the Ionian and the Adriatic Seas and whatever adventures Midi has ahead for us.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and hope we can catch up with as many people as we can, once we are back in NZ. Thanks for your emails along the way. They are always appreciated. We arrive back in NZ on the 6th December. Sorry this newsletter is a bit brief but neither of us is up to much at the moment.

Love from

The Dodgy Tum Tebbutts

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