The Village Horse Ride
Today, Ahmet of Kirkit Voyage and I went riding in Cavusin Village, not too far from the village where we are staying, Avanos. Before we even began the ride, I was able to experience more of the generosity of the Turkish people.
Everywhere that we have traveled, people are always inviting us over for tea or ayran, a yogurt drink that is very popular here.
We have witnessed the Turkish people being very generous to each other as well. Granted, we are not traveling on the main tourist routes. We are seeing villages and natural settings where we are the only tourists. It is pretty neat.
Riding through Cavusin's cobblestone streets, we passed a woman driving a cart of goods being pulled by a donkey. The modern part of ??avusin is built around an old settlement of rock houses and the Church of St. John the Baptist, which is believed to date back to the 5th century. It's amazing to me that people lived in this rock village until the 1950?s.
They have since abandoned the old rock settlement, which is carved into a large high, cliff. They way that the abandoned homes are situated makes the formation look like a dilapidated castle. People now live in more modern houses below it.
We were able to ride our horses up on top of these old dwellings, stopping just below the St. John the Baptist Church, which is believed to date back the 7th century.
Above us there were also these cubbyholes carved into the rocks. These are what the locals call pigeon houses. They paint the rocks around these indentations red to attract pigeons to these spaces. The locals collect the pigeon droppings and use them for fertilizer for their crops and vineyards.
Still today, many people in the area make a living by farming or at the very least grow or make something of their own for their families.
We took a break after riding to have some tasty Turkish tea and I did a little shopping. I purchased two really neat necklaces and had my first trial in the sport of bargaining. I am pretty sure that I paid way too much.
I have heard that in the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, where I'll go later, they raise the prices for tourists by two and a half! I unfortunately was in a time crunch and didn't feel like haggling too much, but will be sure to be a bit tougher on my next purchases.
As we rode out of the village back into the bizarre area rock formations, called fairy chimneys, I wondered what adventures I'd encounter next, horse riding from village to village in Cappadocia.