With the end of 2014 around the corner, its time to play catch up. When I began this blog in 2011, I was an avid poster…but travels, moves and wandering got the best of me and about a year ago I fell behind. Now, with the inspiration of the new year, new studio and much work to be made, I’m determined to become more grounded and settle back into my routines..
With this in mind, here are a few shots from the end of my residency in Cappadocia last fall. I have now been to the heart of Anatolia so many times that it is becoming as familiar as Istanbul, and with each visit I discover more of the region’s less touristy routes. In May of this year, I traveled with a friend along a winding road which passed through small villages, carved rock monasteries and ended in an open air museum which was promised to leave us feeling as though we had walked through a landscape from Star Wars. We followed a small map marked in pen, and stopped at all the locations suggested by our residency host. As our rental car traveled along, we felt a bit like players in a video game as we checked off from our list of tasks for the journey; 1) have breakfast in Mustafapaşa 2) stop at the Keslik Monestary and inform the gateman that we were sent from special friends in order to get the 5 lira entry 3) have tea with the gateman after our tour of the Monastery 4) Stop in the “criminal” village of Mazi and find the only man in the village with access into the underground city….and the list went on.
By the time we reached the open air museum at Soğanlı, the last stop on our map, we had found hidden churches, secret wells, archaic doorways, hid out in our car during a wind storm and plunged deep into underground tunnels alone with a with a drunk tour guide who kept running away into the shadows only to jump out again and scare us. We were covered in dust, exhausted, hungry, but knew somehow that our friendship would be something special after sharing this experience together.
After my residency period ended this fall, I was joined by my boyfriend, and we decided to do the same tour with 2 other artists from my program. We stopped in all of the same places as I directed us along with the map I had used in May. When we arrived in Mazi and found the underground city, I was surprised to see a few other tourists, and our guide (fully sober) dressed in an all white suit for the Bayram. A number of new rooms in the city had been opened, and though the tour still involved climbing up narrow tunnels with only wooden blocks feebly nailed to the passage walls as steps..the experience had inevitably changed since my visit in the spring, and made me realize how quickly Cappadocia is changing through tourism.
At our last stop in Soğanlı, we explored the cave churches, climbed slippery stone steps and picked fresh apples as we walked along the paths between each sight. During the trip in May, my friend and I had to find solace in our car as a dust storm forced us to miss out on most of Soğanlı’s churches. But as we watched the dust swirl outside of our windows, I was filled with the joy of a newly formed friendship. In early October, the calm weather allowed me to climb every step and peer into each crevice, and although the experience lacked the fresh excitement of that windy day in spring, I was discovering what I had not seen months before. I was also accompanied by someone for whom I was realizing more love for everyday.
With each new experience, I find new love and appreciation for this life and the people I share it with.