Hello friends and neighbors. Writing here from the beautiful Cappadocia region of Turkey. A few surprises here:
1. How unexplainable the cave houses are without showing pictures-and still hard to believe.
2. The mega tourism this place brings in! It reminds me of Alaska-busloads of camera bearing people dropped here and there for picture taking.
On to the story of the day. After firing our tour guide and driver yesterday (that is another story, but in short we have been on the road and experienced so many different things we don't have time for situations that aren't meeting our needs and we would not suffer through 2 more inadequate days of bad english mixed with lack of knowledge.) We arranged a horseback ride with the "Horse Whisperer" of the region, he supposedly tames wild horses in the area. Yo had been talking about doing this for days, which caused a great amount of worry with Adrian. You see, he has NEVER ridden a horse before, prompting him to panic that Yo will say he has, and he will not know what to do--they ARE big animals. We get to the stable and The Whisperer shows us our horses.
What I thought going in was, "Well, we will get some nice horses, super mellow ones for the kids and have a little walk around the area." We got horses alright, just not the kind I was thinking. Now I have not rode a horse in about 25 years, but as I said, I was thinking "nice easy horses". It all started when I got on the horse and they said ride her around the corral. She did not quite want to do what I wanted her to and she was throwing her head around like her bit was freaking her out. No problems right? And off we go!!
So we start down the road and neither the kids, Yo, nor I can control the horses at all- they have decided to eat grass along the side of the road and when we try and get them to move, they prance around wildly and head back for the grass. By the way, did I mention that here you don't say "Whoa!" to stop, but just utter different levels of SHHHHH (as in OH S**T).
Here we are, SHUSHING, prancing, and flailing down the road. Poor Adri, bless his brave soul, got up there and tried-they didn't even give him a little lesson on how to ride--and it was hard for us to help him as we were struggling with our animals. He did not have a chance, but he did not freak out, he just couldn't do it. So we asked the guide to lead his horse for him (this is not the end of Adri's story though).
Continuing down the road, Yona and I start to notice that our horses don't really like each other. Every time we get near each other the horses start to freak out, ears straight back and prancing and juking (also note that Yo has not rode horses in a while, she is holding Po in front of her with one hand and is riding an Australian style saddle with no horn!). Now for Arella--her horse is still interested in eating,(note her in the background of the above picture) and she seems unable to do anything about it( read not pulling hard and letting the horse know who is boss). With this happening, she is continually falling behind. When her horse notices how far behind they are, the horse just runs up to us--mind you Rae has no control over this. This pattern finally culminates in Arella seemingly stuck at the top of a little hill, while her horse continues to graze and then decides to join the group by running down the hill with Arella's arms just flailing in the air with the reins. Tears ensue, and the horse ride is spiraling out of control heading for a quick termination. Yona hollers to the guide and asks if Rae can switch horses with Adri--since the guide is leading Adri, and we assume he was put on the mellowest horse. The switch is made and Rae agrees to continue on (this is not the end of Arella's story though).
Arella starts to do better, my horse stops flipping her head wildly, freaking out at the bit, Yona has figured out to stay behind me so our horses don't fight, Adri is being led, and we continue SHUSHING down the road. We actually get in a bit of a groove, when we start to ride by some farms with grapes and budding olive trees. Sounds beautiful right? Well, what you may not know is that Adrian has really bad allergies that lead to migraine headaches and when we had him tested last year the thing he was most allergic to (and I mean off the charts) was olive trees. He starts to sneeze. And sneeze. And sneeze. And........ you get the picture. He must have sneezed 100 times or more in 20 minutes. Soon we are out of the fields, through a little village and up the red valley to the top of a huge old cave house (looks like a hotel).
When we get off the horses for a break, poor Adrian's eyes are all swollen and red, his hankie soaked with snot, and he is miserable (this is not the end of Adrian's story though).
We rest and explore the cave house/hotel, then start up again--first walking our horses down the big hill( a good call in my view) and then loading on. As we head through the village streets, we actually have a good groove going and we are feeling good, that is as long as Yona and I keep our horses away from each other which is troublesome sometimes.
Next we come to Love Valley. As I look around, I am thinking, "Is everybody thinking what I am thinking?" Apparently yes, because a few minutes later Yona says, "Do you think they call it Love Valley because all these formations look quite phallic?" I am thinking, "Well they couldn't just call it Dick Valley could they?"
Finally, we are out of the valleys making our way back to the stables, when Adrian asks if he can have one of the sandwiches? We beg for him to just wait, but he is in an allergic reaction panic and saying he has a headache. We plead with him to just hold out for another half hour, but his desperate sounding pleas keep coming. Finally, we decide to stop because Yo cannot handle the wildness of her horse, while holding onto Po, grab a sandy out of her backpack, and get close enough to A's horse to give it to him. Back to what I said at the beginning, "I thought we would get nice, mellow horses." As we all try to stop, all our horses start to tromp into this farm field of loose dirt. My horse is doing circles, Yo's horse is doing circles and Rae's horse is doing circles--all in the soft dirt. Circles and circles but not stopping. It was comical. Finally the guide gets off his horse, gets Adri off his horse, and grabs Po from Yona, while holding all 3 horses. At this point, we are all a little displeased with Adrian for demanding a sandwich (which by the way has cheese and vegetables in it that we know he is going to dissect and not eat) when the coup de grace happens-We turn to see Arella's horse rolling on the ground. She gets up and stomps away, arms crossed, red faced, trying to hold back tears. Everyone is mad at Adrian, lead by Arella who is in tears. He picks apart half of 2 sandwiches, and all mounted up again, we set off for home. As I said before, it wasn't like these were mellow horses that Yo could just stop and or even get off easily--this was a scene out of a Laurel and Hardy film.
We head for the stable, saddle-soreness is really starting to settle in, and I am thinking, "Note to self-- 2 hour horse tour too short, 4 hour horse tour too long!-OUCH!!!"
We did finish and get our Turkish Tea!! Looking back it was a great adventure and as you have read, a great story. We got to see a lot of the valleys and beautiful places that would have been hard to do on foot and by car in just 4 fun filled hours.
All in all, a great day!!!!!!! And just another episode of the Trustman Roadshow--coming to a town near you!! Anyone up for a little adventure?