March 20, 2012

Cappadocia

This weekend was a beautiful surprise. After moping all last week for missing the deadline for the international students’ Cappadocia trip, I found out that a friend of mine could not make it and that I could take her spot — just forty minutes before the bus left. Despite a rather uncomfortable ten-hour drive there and back, being in the company of diverse people and opinions and the sheer beauty and history of Cappadocia made it completely worth it.

The first day was spent touring the kingdom of underground cities and caverns, many painted with early Christian icons, as Christianity was a minority religion not accepted under the Persian Empire rule of the region. Disclaimer: If you ever visit these sites — if you are claustrophobic — accept that you will be enjoying the fresh air and views rather than traversing tiny corridors with your back hunched over going down steep winding steps.

I would say my favorite part of the trip had to be the ‘traditional Turkish night’ in which we (about forty students) went to the most amazing venue, which was actually a cave/auditorium for a Turkish dance performance. The music and dance started out slow with a wedding ceremony dance, which transitioned into a belly dancer then to a series of increasingly faster-pace synchronized dances by the men. It would definitely be worth looking up on Youtube if you are interested!

We also attended a pottery making demonstration. The man made it look so easy when I know from experience that it is not.The same workshop is where we watched the pottery being hand painted in Turkish design, which I find absolutely gorgeous in pattern and color. I bought several small bowls and evil eye bracelets… it was irresistible.

 

 

 

Before heading back to Istanbul we went for wine tasting, as Anatolia is famous for its wine production.

It was good, but nothing can compare to San Francisco’s Napa Valley… maybe I’m just spoiled.

I have to keep this post short as I have piles of readings on the European Union enlargement theory, which is incredibly difficult to understand in a class filled with Turkish students who grew up learning this material.  Classes like EU Integration make me realize how Americentric my education has been. I will be leaving for Antalya this Friday to Monday so next time I hope to be posting about beautiful beaches and hiking as spring has finally come and the weather is just right.

Attempting to play a Baglama...

 

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