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Avoiding Syria Troubles by Heading to the Trees – What am I doing here?

Vago Damitio. What am I doing here?

Leaving Cappadocia felt a bit like abandoning a true love. I felt like I could stay there forever.  I’ve always been a beach and water guy, but the dry landscape and amazing canyons and history of Cappadocia captured me this time – I think I may be hooked.
Lunch in CappadociaIn fact though, it wasn’t just the landscape. Our stay at Taskonaklar was beyond pleasant. Unlike many hotels, when you stay in a stone palace, you don’t hear the sounds of other people, in fact, sipping wine as I watched the shadows lengthen in the Pigeon Valley  from our terrace was as close to feeling in heaven  as I’ve been for a long while.

There is something in Cappadocia that I carry away with me and feel a longing for at the same time. More than the place, more than the landscape, also the people.  To be around Japanese people in such numbers hasn’t happened since I moved from Hawaii four years ago – maybe it sounds funny, but I miss Japanese people. In fact, did you know there are strong ties between the Turkish and Japanese languages? Perhaps that is why you find so many Japanese/Turkish marriages and partnerships in Goreme.

And then there is Uchisar which was the home of Club Med until they left Cappadocia – but they didn’t take the French with them.  In Uchisar, I found myself having dinner with a diplomat and speaking of economics, politics and even the way that 100,000 baby bats can be found by 100,000 baby bat moms using sub microscopic smell….

Halis Temel Trace TravelThis trip to Cappadocia also introduced me to new friends and united me with old ones.  My friend Halis has recently opened a Travel Agency – Trace Cappadocia Tourism and Travel – Halis arranged the South Cappadocia Tour for us which took us to amazing underground cities, a gorgeous river cut valley, stone cut monastaries and churches and some delicious chocolate covered apricots.

Our intention had been to head East from Cappadocia – visit the giant stone heads on Nemrut Dag and then head south to Sanliurfa, Gaziantep, and Hatay (Antakaya) on the Syrian border.  We were forced to cancel, not because of the unrest on the Turkish/Syrian border but because there is still 3 meters of snow covering the heads on Numrut Dag!

So, we headed to Konya – the home of  Mevlana Jeladdin Rumi and the most spiritually conservative city in Turkey. It is only here, as I write this that I have seen reports of gunfire in the refugee camps near Hatay and serious problems in and near Syria. I am thankful we were turned this direction.

From Konya, we will be heading to Antalya on the Turkish Riviera for a couple of days and then onward to the new hippie trail in Olimpos (Olympos) where we will be staying in tree houses and exploring the wild coast.  We will be staying four nights in Olympos – two nights with Bayram’s Tree Houses and then two nights with Kadir’s Tree Houses – I’m not sure how Hanane will deal with ‘roughing it’ but I’m sure the baby will love it – and of course, I will .

Mevlana MuseumHere in Konya, we decided to go Mevlana all the way which (unfortunately) led us to Mevlana Otel which, while close to the Mevlana Museum and the Tomb of Rumi – is a very ‘Turkish’ hotel with lots of cigarette smoking men (outside to smoke)  in the lobby watching television and loud tea drinking at all hours of the day and night. Hanane occaisionally moans “Oh, Taskonaklar….” in a mournful way.

And of course, the hardest thing is to continue running Vagobond Travel Media, editing Vagobond.com, taking care of the baby, enjoying the sites and foods and adventures and finding the time to write about it all. I’m afraid I’ve been monopolizing Vagobond during this time but our contributors are providing a great backlog of wonderful travel adventures which I will edit and post as soon as I have the chance…

This life is beautiful – but if you think it is easy, you should try living it!

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Vago Damitio

Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook

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