The Cappadocia Balloons

Our second room was a dream. We had a wood burning fireplace, and extra bed that made the perfect place for Aubrey to sleep, tons of space, a great top of the mountain view, and a jacuzzi tub with jets ready to pound our overworked muscles into relaxed jello.
Mithra Cave Hotel is located at one of the highest peaks in Goreme, so the view is excellent.

Especially from the window lined breakfast room (with a spread of Turkish breakfast delights like fresh bread, a variety of spreads and compotes, dried fruit, eggs, cheeses, and beautiful tomatoes and cucumbers).

And if you can get yourself to wake up at the literal crack of dawn…

you can catch the most glorious site of the hot air balloons taking flight. 

Which of course made us even sadder we weren’t able to work it out to take a ride this time.

They are just magical dotting the sky.

Avanos is a small town located about 10 minutes past Goreme.

We briefly drove through it on our last trip, and picked up a handmade pot to hold something green once we got back to the house.

The town is situated right on the river, and when we last passed through, seemed to be lined with unique little shops and some interesting restaurants. We had also read that the local potters were more than willing to give you a short lesson on making pottery of your own. So that was our goal for the day, in addition to buying a few more pieces to add to our collection.
We drove back through the town and parked planning to stroll through the shops and find some lunch. And we did do just that, but were a little disappointed to find that it all looked a little more interesting than it actually was. It was a pretty little town, and we did find some decent lunch, but after spending about 10 minutes walking around we hopped back in the car and drove back to the ceramics shop we stopped at the first time and asked if we could try our hand…and they said yes. 

They started by demonstrating how they create one of their most difficult (and popular all around Turkey) pieces. The guy made it look so simple I was sure that he if could manage that, I could easily make some sort of basic pot or vase.
Man was I so wrong.

Check out the nice pants they provided…and ignore the double chin action.
It is no lie when they say pottery is an art. It’s sheer talent to be able to control your hands and the wheel (which in this case has to be spun with your feet) to mold the clay to even proportions, and create a beautiful smooth finish.

I had to have a LOT of help.

Many interventions later my masterpiece was finally finished.

And then it was Will’s turn. 

I just knew he would be a natural…

but it turned out, his pottery skills are about as good as mine. 

My dreams of having my own wheel and spending my days making beautiful pieces to gift and sell died a painful death that day haha! 

This is what Aubrey thought of her parents’ talents. 

On this trip we had the pleasure of finally trying some Cappadocian wine. I’m normally a little skeptical of local wines because in past experience they have been pretty terrible. But to our surprise, the local wine in Cappadocia is incredible! 
The Turasan winery is located in Urgrup, which happened to be just a short detour on our way back from Avanos to Goreme. But, having learned a valuable lesson about our tiny traveler, we decided to postpone that experience until our next visit.
Instead we went back to the hotel and put Miss A down for a nap, while we took our thick plaid wool blanket out to the terrace, along with some of that awesome Cappadocian wine, a pipe for Will, and enjoyed watching the sun set over the town. This was another time we were so thankful the cave hotels are so homey. We could easily leave Aubrey in the room and still be able to keep an easy eye on her and hear her, even though we were up on the terrace enjoying ourselves. 
* Prepare for some mush…
It was also a great moment to share with Will. It’s not new news to anyone that when a baby comes into your life, life gets busy, and time together as a couple is hard to come by. I can see how a new addition can easily cause strain in a relationship, and possibly completely tear it apart. I’ve been so grateful that since day 1 Will has not only been right by my side, but even during the birth he played an active, and in my opinion, equal part in bringing our little girl into this world. We’ve discussed both how we feel more connected now that we have truly combined ourselves into this one beautiful little being, but we’ve also acknowledged that we miss each other and have to work a little harder to make sure we are still tending to the love and relationship that started all of this. Before we ever decided to have kids we were very adamant that once we did, we would not let “us” fall to the wayside. And I feel like we are doing a pretty good job of that. I know Aubrey’s needs and wants will produce bigger demands on our time and attention as she gets older, but it speaks volumes to me that my husband still makes a point to carve out at least a few minutes here and there to spend as just the two of us, talking and relaxing. 
Our preacher back in Charlotte talked one Sunday about how our relationships should be prioritized. He said God should come first, your spouse second, and your children third. I think that is a hard concept to wrap your mind around when you feel the need to put your child above everything, but when you really think about it, it makes perfect sense. Without God you have nothing. Without your spouse, your child wouldn’t be, and neither would the life you’ve built and grown to love. Your child is a beautiful reflection and result of all the love God and your spouse have given you, and for that reason absolutely deserves to be celebrated. I want Aubrey to always know just how loved and wanted she is, but I also want that for my husband, and for myself if I’m being honest. 
Back to our day…
After A’s nap we walked the short distance a few hotels down the hill to the Seten restaurant we had heard such good things about. This place was probably the nicest restaurant we have seen in Goreme, and thankfully Aubrey fell back asleep on the walk so we got to enjoy dinner in peace. Our food however, was a bit underwhelming. It came out about 2.5 seconds after we ordered it making us question just how fresh it really was. The portions were pretty small compared to other restaurants we have tried, and in general the flavor was pretty lacking. After that we called it a night, excited to get back to our fireplace for one more night.

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