The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


Continuing the Article, part 1 of which appeared in the Christmas 2013 issue…

After lunch on our third day (1st in Goreme, Central Turkey) we went north to the village of Cavusin, which had suffered from an earthquake in 1963. As it was riddled with a large number of cave dwellings, which had been excavated from the steep valley sides, part of the village had collapsed burying houses and inhabitants. Our guide refused to take us further into the village but a local man led those of us who were game for the adventure, on a steep walk past the damaged dwellings up to the plateau above the village. From there we crossed over a rickety wooden bridge to the 5th century church of St John the Baptist with its frescoes high up in the cliff wall. In 1975 the entrance caved in and so we were only able to view the side chapel. We returned as intrepid adventurers to the village centre, for apple tea, before moving on to Guvercinlik. It is here in the ‘Pigeon Valley’ that the caves are used as pigeon lofts for the collection of their droppings, for use as fertiliser.

At 4:30 pm we were taken to a performance of the Whirling Dervishes at Ortahisar. This sect is officially banned but it still has a small following. At the performance we attended which was very meditative and serene, only one of the dancers was a true follower. He had trained five others to take part. They wore long white gowns and brown fez like hats. I don’t know whether the five musicians were true followers or not. Some viewers found the performance soporific but I could understand why the disciples had sometimes fallen into a trance like state induced by the movements and music

About a dozen of us rose very early on the following frosty morning to experience a hot air balloon flight, in order to witness sunrise over this ‘lunar’ landscape. On arrival at the assembly room we were given tea/coffee and a bun. It had rained during the night and as each balloon captain decides whether the conditions are safe for ascent, out of 60 balloons that morning ours was about the 58th to ascend and we were too late to see the sunrise. It was very cold. The silence and the views as you drift gently on the air currents leaves an indelible memory. We landed 45 minutes after take off in a field which had been harvested of flax and amongst small apple trees bearing much mistletoe. We were presented with certificates, a glass of bubbly and a slice of chocolate cake. Our delayed start meant that instead of returning to the hotel we were taken to Ortahisar, to meet up with the rest of the party who had been viewing a fortress carved out of the soft tuff for the refuge of the former citizens of that town. Later that day we saw fairy chimneys resembling The Three Graces and one which had lost its capping stone which looked like a camel.

After lunch we visited a carpet factory and were taken through the processes involved in the making of these beautiful creations, all of which use traditional detailed patterns. Women were at the looms knotting each strand by hand. We were shown the production of silk from the cocoons and the dying process which follows. Later in the show room hundreds of carpets were exhibited, some using silk, others cotton and/or wool. The manager describing the carpets and their manufacture was most entertaining.

Following dinner we were taken to a night club where dances from the various regions of Turkey were performed along with belly dancing by an attractive young girl. So ended an interesting but very long day.

After these two very busy days the return to the coast was rather tame. The journey in haste was done to allow our guide to spend the night with his wife and daughter who were leaving the following morning to visit relatives in Montenegro. We spent the night at a beach resort patronised by Germans, where a few of the party bathed in the Mediterranean Sea at sunset.

On our last day we were taken on a shopping expedition. The first showroom was of gold jewellery and watches all beautifully displayed and said to be at good discount prices. We resisted. We then moved on to a nearby warehouse selling leather coats. We were given a fashion display, which John greatly enjoyed, as the young models were very attractive. The showrooms were huge containing a great variety of coats for men and women.

After lunch, which was always varied and smoothly organised we went to visit the sites of Antalya, the provincial capital of Turkey’s Mediterranean region. It was very hot. Whilst some people climbed down several flights of steps to the labyrinthine streets of the Old Town we contented ourselves with views from above. The homeward flight involved leaving the hotel at 3am! Whilst this trip had been a fascinating experience, it was very exhausting, but we would not have missed it for anything.

Margaret Symonds

Winter Edition 2014

A Visit to Cappadocia

St John the Baptist, Cavusin