New heights. Part one.

We should have known the next 24 hours were going to be amazing when we sat down for dessert at an outdoor cafe last night, opened our menus, and fireworks started bursting in the background. Only for two minutes, but they definitely happened.

I’ve had a string of really, really good days. Upwards in the ninety-straight area – Andrea called it “buckets of positive energy” today – but nothing could have prepared me for today. Today was constantly insane, moving, increasingly more impacting and memorable every hour.

After our hot air balloon morning, which will remain unwritten until I can fathom how to do it justice, Andrea and I sat eating our breakfast. We had booked a tour with a local but major Cappadocia touring company. The pregnant woman who runs the hostel approached us. With a nervous giggle, she asked if there was a reason we’d chosen that specific tour- the hostel’s special local tour was running today. Having no specific reason why we’d chosen one over another, and factoring in our need to support this unborn child, we switched to the hostel specific tour. Why not.

At 9:40a.m., we hop in the hostel’s van. It’s us and a six-person family from Thailand. A 31-yr-old and her parents, and possibly aunt/uncle? Immediately, mom showers us with hard candies with images of teenage male models on them. Says they are marketed toward girls our age, not children.

Adam, our tour guide, introduces himself. In Turkish, his name sounds more like uh-dem, and shockingly, my name gives him no trouble, but “Andrea” is the tough one.

We arrive at our first stop on the tour – an underground city. One of hundreds in Cappadocia, but one of the less toured ones. It’s cold in these underground cities, cold and dark. We have a guide specific to this place – I dont know his name but he was creepy and loony as could be.

Case in point, he made me crawl into this hole, and then organized the rest of the group to line up so I’d have to crawl through their legs to make my escape.

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What followed this little experience was Thai dad getting in the same hole, and when the legs started being directed to make a tunnel, mom being stricken. “No, no Thai man goes under woman.” And me feeling uncomfortably crass for being so whatever about it moments before.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Ask Andrea about the time the lamp-carrying guy disappeared for minutes only to stick his hands out of hidden holes and grab her.

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Yeah, this guy was full of tricks. We reach a decision point. You may take the path to the door, or climb five stories out. Well, obviously, Andrea and I are climbing out. And the family? They say hell no, you crazy bleeps. We’ll meet you outside.

Enjoy these claustrophobic climbing photos.

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Three different levels we climbed, us and our crazy (cray-cray-crazy) tour guide. One climb even required a belt around us, and our tour guide was always so helpful in getting us up that last step. After nightmares on public transportation this week, Andrea stated “at least we BOTH got groped this time.” Enjoy escape from too small cave below.

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At our second stop, we scaled some extremely steep and smooth steps to an amazing cave church. Amazing. Our adoptive family for the day made the trip up those steps.

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And this is where things reach new heights. Look for Part Two.

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