Sunday night I took a Goreme, Cappadocia, and stayed there for two and a half days. Monday I took a long nap and then went to a cave cafe for tea and wine with my host. Tuesday I went on a tour to an underground city, a canyon with cave houses and monasteries, a nice lunch, and an enormous abandoned cave monastery. In the evening I walked around town a little and hung out with my host and his friends, listening to youtube clips of music we liked. Wednesday I went to the ancient cave churches of the 4th – 11th centuries, and the theological school and monastery of the Goreme Open Air Museum. St Basil the Great, who wrote much of the Liturgy in its present form, taught there and was bishop in a nearby town. Then I went for a hike in the hills, which are formed of “fairy chimneys,” the trademark stones, often with a “cap” that has eroded until it’s balanced precariously on top and eventually falls off. There are houses in many of the chimneys, a some 200 cave churches. It was very hot, so I ducked into an abandoned church for an hour or so and sang hymns, because domed caves have fabulous acoustics.
At that point I was tired and alone, so rather than stay in Trabzon of Kobaleti again, I took busses straight back to Gori, which took some 26 hours; more than going to Tucson.