On An Unexpected Cap

This Explore has nothing to do with a hat or cap because Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey. I first heard about this region around 2010 while watching a 60 Minutes segment about Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome – the head of the Orthodox Church throughout the world.

The segment captivated me in multiple ways because I don’t know much about the Orthodox Christianity or Turkey – but the part about Cappadocia and its role in early Christianity mesmerized me – especially the landscape and its history.

Today, hot air balloon rides are popular in this beautiful land of historical intrigue – the land whose rock sites are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Below the video are links to additional information about Cappadocia, including the 60-Minutes segment. Enjoy the journey and views courtesy of a drone.

More Informational Videos
Rick Steves segment with information and a balloon ride (3 minutes)
A travel promotion video (3 minutes)
60-Minutes segment that sparked my intrigue (14.5 minutes)

On Exploring the Driest

Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance. (Will Durant, historian)

You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst. (William Langewiesche, author)

No doubt about it – deserts are dry. Because all deserts are not created equal, where is the driest desert on our planet?

Embed from Getty Images

Surely you didn’t guess the place in the image above, which is Death Valley in California. Besides, I’m confident the Atacama Desert quickly came to everyone’s mind.

Yes, the Atacama – a 600 mile (1,000 km) high plateau in Chile. The Atacama – sandwiched between the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Ocean to its west. The Atacama – the land of stone, sand, and salt lakes. The Atacama – a land of unique flora and fauna that is sparsely populated by people.

Unlike previous posts in this series, today’s Explore provides two short looks at Atacama – an initial drive through the desert followed by the beauty of its night sky. Enjoy this journey to a land you may not have known until now.

On an Aerial Sherpa

Mother Nature is always speaking. She speaks in a language understood within the peaceful mind of the sincere observer. Leopards, cobras, monkeys, rivers and trees; they all served as my teachers when I lived as a wanderer in the Himalayan foothills. (Radhanath Swami, clergy)

I flew aeroplanes, parachuted, walked on my own across the Himalayas – you name it; if it was dangerous, I did it. (Scilla Elworthy, activist)

I was never comfortable with the risk of climbing in the Himalayas, or the amount of time in idleness that is involved in the Everest expedition. (Steve Fossett, aviator)

I would love to go to the Himalayas and cross over into Nepal to do the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. (Natalie Dormer, actress)

Last week, Nia (from Turkey) mentioned the two places in the world that she wants to visit the most are Alaska and the Himalayas. Because last week’s Explore took us to the Alaskan sky, this post takes us on a brief aerial journey from Kathmandu to the highest peaks in the world … the Himalayas. Enjoy your trip with Nia.

On an Alaskan Sky

From wonder into wonder existence opens. (Lao Tzu, philosopher)

The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from Heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer. (Philip Pullman, “The Golden Compass”)

The northern cheek of the heavens,
By a sudden glory kissed,
Blushed to the tint of roses,
And hid in an amber mist,
And through the northern pathway,
Trailing her robe of flame,
The queenly Borealis
In her dazzling beauty came!
(May Riley Smith, “Aurora Borealis”)

O’er all the widespread northern skies,
How glows and waves that heavenly light,
Where dome, and arch, and column rise
Magnificently bright!
(Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch, “The Aurora Borealis”)

I have been as sincere a worshipper of Aurora as the Greeks. (Henry David Thoreau, author-poet-philosopher)

I’ve stood outside my house in Montana looking at the northern lights… crackling against the night sky. To me, that’s magic. (Christopher Paolini, author)

On to the Land of the Fjords

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. (Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood)

Shared joy is a double joy. (Norwegian proverb)

All weather is passing. (Norwegian proverb)

Everybody’s friend is true to none. (Norwegian proverb)

The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.
(Edvard Munch, Norwegian artist)

The wild and varied landscapes also serve as an inspiration for a new and notable wave of architects and designers. (VisitNorway.com)

I want to travel. Maybe I’ll end up living in Norway, making cakes. (Eva Green, actress)

I was walking along a road one evening – on one side lay the city, and below me was the fjord. The sun went down – the clouds were stained red, as if with blood. I felt as though the whole of nature was screaming – it seemed as though I could hear a scream. I painted that picture, painting the clouds like real blood. The colours screamed. (Edvard Munch)

Enjoy this visual journey to Norway. Would you visit? Have you been there? Would you return?