Well it's been a few days since updating the blog. Last couple of days in Istanbul were pretty quiet, we did a trip to Miniataturk a minature village of many of the significant buildings in Turkey. Kids had fun steering a model boat with a lot of skill and concentration not realising it was actually on a track. Other than that the we lay low really - the weather was hot and Bellie developed a 40 degree fever (an ear infection I think) so was pretty sick and not so easy to get on top of in this heat so we kept her inside in the air conditioning. She is now on antibiotics, has perked up and today is grumpy and hungry - a good sign. Just as well you can buy antibiotics over the counter here as we have used the two kids courses I brought with me for the three months.
Yesterday we travelled to Urgup in Cappadocia. At 6.30am the man who owned our apartment in Istanbul came to do the house inspection and give us back our bond of 200 Euro. It was a bit like flatting again her wandered around the house checking such things as whether the toilets still flushed - we are not sure what we were meant to have done to them! Funny though as Matt discovered as he lent over to reach the toilet paper that the toilet was not actually fastened to the floor - can't you just imagine the look on his face. So anyway we mentioned that we would be leaving in a taxi to the airport at 8.00am in time to get to the airport at 9.00am an hour before our flight. "No" he said "you must take the tram and then train". Matt explained that no we had decided to take a taxi as all the changes on the tram were not so easy with 3 children and all our luggage to which he replied that no a taxi could take up to 2 hours in the morning traffic. " Oh crap" change of plans - so we had to leave pretty much then - waking Bellie who had been up half the night unwell and bundling everyone out the door to walk to the tram station. It was a mission lots of walking, stairs, and crammed trains, but we made it with 15 minutes to spare before boarding after having all our bags scanned twice including taking Bellie out of the backpack both times and then wrestling to get her back in as she "wanted to walk" - far to independent and strong willed for her 18 months age.
The 1 hour flight was uneventful apart from Bella and Toby being relatively grumpy. Holly decided she was sitting on her own across the isle and made friends with a young woman called Rosie - well they chatted away like long lost friends for the whole of the flight until Rosie became very air sick on landing. You can imagine Holly's excitement to find someone who's Turkish name translated to that of dear Aunty Rosie back home - and of course this girl was told all about Aunty Rosie and various family happenings.
So after a tram, train, long walk, security checks, flight and mini bus ride we arrived at our cave house. Wow - it is awesome. We have a two bedroom, two bathroom, lounge, kitchen and private garden all carved out of the volcanic rock that makes up much of the landscape. Holly has a bed carved out of the rock. It is lovely and cool inside without any air conditioning and has a very calm and restful feel about it. I have just been and done some washing the washing machines are sitting in carved out cubby holes also - kind of like modern world meets prehistoric as do the sky dishes dotted on the landscape. The kids imaginations have run away with them - they think we have landed on the moon. There is talk of dragons and bats and all sorts of make believe. It is really an awesome place which does feel as though it is on another world.
The Lounge of our cavehouse
Kids Bedrooms - that's Holly's bed carved out of the wall that she is sitting on
Our private Courtyard
The Washing Machines
And it is hot - oh so hot 35 degrees+ Matt has found a hotel down the road with a pool that we can pay to use so that is looking like a good option and we might do a short private 1/2 day tour and other than that probably just try and keep out of the sun. We have also come to the realisation that we might need to modify our days a bit in order to meet some other families. The Turkish people seem to keep their kids up late at night so we can only guess they have a mid afternoon siesta - day one of that for our kids today and both Holly and Toby were asleep within minutes. This way we can go out as a family for dinner later when it cools down - it is at this time that the streets are full of our kids. Not during the day when us stupid tourists are trying to get out. An American lady who is married to a Turk had invited us to join her and her family for dinner tonight at her brother in laws carpet shop - a sales pitch? - we shall find out!
The surrounding landscape
The playground - what an amazing backdrop
The town 10 min down hill walk - taxi ride home!
Wednesday 21st July am
Well we did the dinner thing last night - gave the kids a big afternoon sleep as dinner didn't start till 8pm. Arrived at the shop and were taken upstairs - there were around 20 people including kids. The upstairs room was gorgeous, it was a carpet museum with many beautiful pieces ( though not really a place you want kids running around) Dinner was served in 4 courses and most of it was delicious just the odd thing that churned your stomach. The hosts were lovely and most of the other diners were Americans and Turks all very pleasant. There was plenty of red wine which was surprisingly nice as the white wine we have tried tastes like aviation fuel. Also Raki - a Turkish spirit - we steered clear of it as this heat 3 kids and a hangover were not deemed to be a winning combo.
After dinner we headed down into the shop where the host a another couple of Turks brought out their traditional guitars and drums and played some music. There was singing and dancing and lots of fun. The kids got up and had a dance Holly particularly was in her element with her new 9 year old friend and we saw very little of her all night. It was a fun evening and we lasted to around 9.30pm - not bad considering Bellie and Toby are usually in bed at 6.30pm. Exactly the type of experience we travelled half way across the world for.
The only challenging aspect of the night was the stairs which Bellie desperately wanted to explore - only problem was they were steep and made of marble. Funny the Turkish kids are very used to them - there are no stair gates and the railings around balconies are terrible either low, with huge gaps or non existent with a 4 story drop. We have to be constantly vigilant and where we eat is generally dictated to by these aspects. Bellie is the challenge - has the mobility but not the brain. Also they drive like idiots here and you'd be surprise how may you can cram into one car - no need for 7 seaters. We saw 10 adults and children in a Fiat Pinto yesterday - unbelievable not a child restraint in sight.
Anyway they were all very keen to see their beds at 10pm when the taxi dropped us home. Though as we drove home we saw many people with kids just heading to town.
Have just returned from breakfast which is provided here - we have eggs as you want them from boiled to omelets, cereal, bread, fresh squeezed orange juice, fruit and coffee. All served on a terrace overlooking the hills and cave formations. You can't beat that! The only challenge is the wasps of which their are many but they burn little pots of coffee beans which seems very simple effective way of getting rid of them. Funny though we realised Holly was calling them "Mosques" she was suddenly yelling "Shoo, go away mosque" You can imagine Matt's alarm after all the beautiful Mosques we have been to and she suddenly transposes this name to these horrible little pests. Other funny thing that happened is breakfast came out and Toby was so excited he thought he was being served popcorn - you can imagine his disappointment to find it was scrambled eggs. Bellie is enjoying a varied diet of many different fruit and vegetables though we have been a bit concerned she is not that keen on the meat here as it does taste a bit different. Yesterday however or concerns were put aside when Holly said she picked up a giant ant and ate it - hope they're full of iron.
Breakfast on the verandah