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Landing in Istanbul, I immediately settled in a small, three story structure called The Blue Hotel. This turned out to be an ideal selection and I would highly recommend it to anyone bent on exploring the city. Situated in the middle of the three main attractions: The Blue Mosque, Aya Sophia and Topkapi; the hotel was also within easy walking distance of a colorful local market.  And at sunset, its rooftop restaurant provided a sweeping view of the three major structures as well as a panoramic shot of the Bosporous Strait.  

After three days in Istanbul, I flew to Kayseri in the center of Turkey. This large, industrial city provided easy access to the famous Cappadocia Mountains. Arriving at the base of these mountains, I could not help but feel I had landed on a strange and foreign planet. Everywhere I looked, a new and exciting opportunity presented itself to my lens. 

Millions of years ago, a series of volcanic eruptions unleashed a unique mixture of minerals across the landscape. Over time, this variegated stew combined with wind, heat and water to create a scene of unusual and wondrous beauty. Pinnacles, called Fairy Chimneys, pointed their fingers skyward, while behind them, wave upon wave of rocky mountains shimmered in the heat. Hundreds of caves dotted these mountains, most of them man made and many still occupied. As far back as the Bronze Age, natives tunneled into these hills in order to hide from invaders. Over time, these caves literally became underground cities.

While my trip so far was filled with many beautiful sights and wonderful photo opportunities, the best was still to come. For to feel the pulse of both this land and its people, one must obtain a car and drive through the countryside. From Kayseri, I journeyed South through Guzelyurt, Konya, Egirdir and Pamukkale before finally arriving at the Mediterranean seaside town of Antalya. Along the way, I encountered stunning, often stark landscapes and met people of uncommon generosity. One lovely young baker offered me a loaf of her bread and would not accept payment in return.

One of the most impressive and pictorially beautiful sites was the calcified Pamukkale Waterfalls located near the town of Denizli. This is truly one of the wonders of the world. "Pamukkale" means "cotton castle" in Turkish, and the name is aptly chosen. For as the highly calcified spring waters run off the plateau's edge, they congeal into a series of sparkling white petrified basins which are in turn ringed by row upon row of glistening Stalagtites. The result is a vision of unique beauty.

As my two week journey came to a close, I found myself musing over the many wonderful sights I had experienced. My mind went back to the Cappadocia Mountains and those claustrophobic caves. An average sized individual would have been hard pressed to navigate such tight fitting, low slung passages.