It was a nice short flight and in less than an hour we were coming in to land in Cappadocia. We were there to see the amazing landscapes of fairy chimneys, eroded cliffsides, and fantastic and strange shaped rock formations unique to that part of the world.
Luggage gathered from the sole conveyer belt, we were met in the tiny airport by our driver. Is there anything more wonderful and gratifying than to see your name on a sign being held by someone at the airport? Man, I love that.
We were really looking forward to getting to our new home. You see, we were staying in a cave.
Yes, gentle reader, we are now officially troglodytes. But I'll get to that in a minute.
It was a goodly drive from the airport in Kayseri to our cave in Ürgüp (Isn't that name delightfully cavemanish?)
Along the way the countryside was dotted with tiny villages, farms and livestock. Mike voiced his opinion that while there were cows for steaks and hamburgers, it wouldn't taste all that great.
"Why?" we asked.
"Because it's Turkey Beef."
General groans all around.
We arrived at out new home, Assiana Cave House, were welcomed by Mevlut, the owner, and shown to our respective caves off a charming stone courtyard full of flowers. Now, perhaps you are thinking that a cave would be a damp and nasty place to sleep. This could not be further from the truth.
Carved out of the soft, beautiful creamy rock, beneath two arches, were our room and Colleen and Pat's. Our entryway was enchanting, with places to curl up with a book and glass of wine and the tree of life, an owl, and birds, bringers of good news depicted in the rock around the door.
Inside, lush bedding, gorgous wood furniture, a full bathroom with jacuzzi tub, our bed draped with luxurious fabrics and a low padded seating area that suited well as beds for the kids. A comfortable temperature, dry and very secure feeling. Sconces and shelves were carved into the stone, and even a ceiling light set into the rock, of which I never did get a good photograph.
Total whimsy. In fact, all of Cappadocia is just that: whimsical. You'll see.
After oohing and aahing at our rooms and dumping the luggage we walked towards town, past fields of long grasses and wildflowers, and willow trees (where the kids put in a good swinging session on the whippy branches), to find some dinner.
We did all right.
Overlooking the town of Ürgüp, which looks like something out of a fairy tale while the setting sun colored the cliffsides and caves with its fading light, we dined at a terrace restaurant.
The evening was progressing marvelously, when at some point Bethy asked if she could be allowed to go to the restroom by herself. I've been trying to let her have a little more independance, and after hesitating, said yes.
We were lost in conversation, eating the enormous piece of crispy bubbled flatbread, enjoying wine and the evening air, and taking photographs, but finally, with a pang of guilt that perhaps I was being one of those hovering, worrywart moms, I decided she had been gone more than long enough and went looking for her.
On the stone stairway halfway down to the bathrooms, I heard her panicked scream.
"MOMMMY! AUGH!!! HEEEEEEEELP MEEEEEE!!!"
Both myself and a nearby waiter broke into a run and pelted down the rest of the stairs, careening around the corner to the restrooms. She'd locked herself into a stall with a squat potty. Having trouble with the stiff lock, she stayed in there extra long and the motion sensor lights switched off, leaving her in pitch dark, the open toilet somewhere by her feet.
Being afraid, she stayed completely still, which didn't help the light situation, and got more and more scared until she started screaming.
The waiter was more distressed than I was, I think, and kept repeating an accented Ohmygod. Ohmygod as he hovered just outside the ladies room, unsure of what propriety dictated he should do in such a situation. I got the lights back on, and talked her through unlocking the door and escaping. The waiter, obviously relieved, fled the scene as well.
She was shaking like a little leaf as I hugged her and smoothed her hair. After a minute or so I had Bethy convinced that it had actually been an exciting adventure. She bought it.
Sometimes parenthood is about spin.
Thanks to her bravery, she got to wield a really big knife and break some pottery. Mike's Anatolian specialty testi kebap, lamb cooked in an onion sauce was in there; somebody had to step up and do it or he'd go hungry.
After teaching Thomas how to say "troglodyte", we slept blissfully, safe and sound in our respective caves. Even Bethy.