20 May 2011 Friday, Day 09 Cappadocia

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We have been hoping that the "40 afternoon rains" would be over after last night's heavy rain. The bright sun was like a good news. We even worried that Nathen's new black wool pants that he bought in Urfa will be too hot. He loved his traditional Urfa pants so much that he was going to try it any way. During the day, the black clouds started flying over Cappadocia. It first started raining then hailing. At the end of the day Nathen was very happy with his choice of trousers while all those in shorts were freezing.

Our day started with a half an hour reflections. We sat in a circle. After a long Quaker meeting like silence one by one the students started reflecting on the past one week of their visit in Turkey. Some thought language was not a barrier to communication. Some commented on how life was so relaxed here.  Many the tea breaks were much appreciated. The warmth of the Turkish people was another comment that came from the reflections. At 09:30 we left the hotel for our morning site seeing. Looking at the valley from the high terrace gave every

one the motivation to make the best of their cameras. The view was stunning. The  last night's rain had cleared the dust in the air. The wild flowers were glowing in spite of the dark clouds that started to gather. Nathen decided that he had to try and see how comfortable it would be to ride a camel with his new pants. Every one was in a very good mood but we had to get going.
Uchisar is a tiny village built at the foot of the huge rock which was one of two fortresses of Cappadocia carved out of a rock. The winding narrow streets were  lined up with stone buildings.

In Central Anatolia, the "40 Afternoon rains"  is a life savior for the farmers who do not have means of irrigation. It rains for 40 days every day for half a day. Unfortunately today it started pouring while we were in Uchisar. We ran to the bus. Instantly we were soaked and felt freezing cold. Meli decided that this might be a good time to find a roof over our heads. She called her friend Fatma to see if she or her husband, Huseyin was at home.
We were dreaming of a nice hot tea. In few minutes we were walking in front of the complex of rocks. the first rock was pigeon's house, the second rock was the cow's stable. The third rock was the garage for the tractor and the car of the family. The next rock was an 11th Century Church. We finally came to the rock which was the guest room. We all pulled our legs on to the sofa and felt very welcomed in this house which was carved in the rocks. Few minutes later Huseyin brought the steaming hot tea.

After the rain and hail was finished we headed to Goreme Monastery.  Meli met Rick Steves , his old time friend from the USA. Rick followed us through few churches. Some of the students who knew of him, had pictures taken with Rick.

The churches were decorated with frescoes and wall paintings depicting the Biblical stories. We learned about the Byzantine interpretation of  Jesus on the cross. There was no sign of agony nor weakness in the images of Jesus. no thorn crown, no blood, no sign of pain.  One of the frescoes was depicting the friendship between the Muslims and the Christians where a saint was shaking hand with a sultan wearing a turban.
After lunch, the group divided in half. Some went for their pottery class and the others stayed with the weavers. The weavers were all asking where Lincoln was.

The sun was out again. there was a bright rain bow. We are going to celebrate Annie's birthday

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