Saturday, October 18, 2014

Baglidere (White Valley)


The last time I came to the White Valley, I arrived on the back of a flat bed tractor driven by my friend Şahin who lives and works in Göreme. We had come with his cousin, Ersin, to gather firewood.   It was a crisp fall day and most certainly gathering wood gave me a whole different perspective on the place.  Earlier that same week, I had come with the two of them and two other tourists for a hike from Göreme through Pigeon Valley to White Valley.  It was a full day outing which I really enjoyed.  So, this was my third visit to White Valley.


Today, I wanted to take Bro to see the valley which is well known for its fairy chimneys - notable for the fact that they are the most phallic looking of all the ones in Cappadocia.  They might be the reason why the valley is also known as Love Valley.

Getting to Love Valley is easy.  From Göreme, you take the road towards Avanos.  Follow the signs and take a left turn.   A few kilometers in and you'll see a pathway on the left hand side of the road.  That's the entrance to the valley.  Park anywhere.  We did - finding a spot in an area that looked like it had been used as a parking area.


We crossed the road and took the path.  The landscape soon looked very familiar to me.

With Bro in 2014.

With Şahin in 2008.



At one point, the landscape closes in on you as the path passes alongside some conical shaped fairy chimneys. 


Then, all of a sudden, you see this magnificent view!  Welcome to the White Valley!


Or, maybe it's more appropriate to say, "Welcome to Love Valley".  Those are some mighty tall and very phallic looking fairy chimneys! ;-)


The path led in to the heart of the cluster of fairy chimneys.  We continued on.

As we approached the fairy chimneys, the sounds of people chatting and laughing filled the air.  It was a small group of tourists and horror, upon horror, they were lingering outside teashop cum souvenir shop that had been set up on a nearby hill.  What?  When did they allow commercialism here?  Any hope of peace and tranquility had been shattered.  We continued on.


Standing among the fairy chimneys of White Valley is like standing among large stone columns.  These fairy chimneys are indeed tall!  You find yourself straining your neck to look up towards the cap as you would looking up at the capital atop a column.  Perhaps this is the landscape that inspired ancient cultures, like the Greeks, to build columns?






Like Rose Valley, White Valley gets its name from the color of the rocks. 


We went here, there and everywhere, exploring as much of the White Valley as we could while staying close to the path.  Lo and behold, we happened upon the same cave that I had taken shelter in at the end of that hike back in 2008.  That day, by the time we wrapped up our hike, it was dusk and it was cold.  We stood in the cave, to stay out of the wind, while we waited for one of Şahin's friends to come by and pick us up in his van.


Amazing to find the same spot though I realized I do see the view differently these days!  I'd like to think my photographer's eye has improved!

2014

2008.

From the cave, I decided to take a panoramic shot of the valley.  Like Rose Valley, you really need that wide shot to fully appreciate the wonder of the view!

Panorama White Valley
Panoramic view of the White Valley. Use the scroll bars to pan to see the entire photo.

In previous visits, I really didn't explore this place all that much. Today, I took the path up as high as I could to see the valley from as high up as was possible.  What a gorgeous sight.  The chartreuse colored leaves of the autumn grape vines really make the rock stand out.  The clouds shifted around the entire time, giving us occasional glimpses of sunshine.  Luckily, it never rained on us.


White Valley turned out to be the perfect place for our picnic lunch!  We found a spot to sit on and took in the amazing views while munching on sandwiches.


I can always count on Bro to forage.  He left to make a nature call and discovered an apple tree.  The fruit wasn't worth eating but I know Bro.  He's after the seeds that he will grow for stock upon which he will graft rarer varieties of apples.


We didn't stay in White Valley all that long.  By now, both Bro and I had seen more than our fair share of fairy chimneys and as unique as these are, there's only so much you can take in one sitting.  After lunch, we headed back to the car.  I stopped to take in one last view of this wonderful valley, with its kooky looking fairy chimneys.


On the walk back, I caught a view of the Rose Valley.  Even against the overcast skies, it's gorgeous.


Never in my entire life did I ever think I would come back to the White Valley after my visits in 2008.  So as I leave once again, I can only be so thankful to have been so fortunate to have come here three times. Maybe someday, there will be a fourth visit - I should be so lucky!