Sunday, September 26, 2010

When in Birmingham...

...some creativity may be required.  There is no automatic "Oh, I'm going to Paris? I can't wait to see the Louvre" kind of reaction that takes place when one is informed that they will have a full day to kill in Alabama.  There is only a quiet dread and visions of wandering aimlessly through a Cracker Barrel.  Perhaps this is only me, but the problem is I hate Cracker Barrel and am much too restless to sit in a hotel room watching reality tv, so obviously something had to give.

That something was a fortuitous combination of an article on one of my favorite websites, Roadside America, and some suggestions from my uber-cool friend, Julie.  They both pointed me in the direction of Vulcan, the largest cast iron sculpture in the world, which is perfect as the promise of the largest anything is usually enough to get my attention.  His story is also pretty great.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cappadocia- as seen from a more earthly perspective.

As enjoyable as it was to soar over Cappadocia in a hot air balloon, the limited amount of fuel (not to mention the lack of a bathroom, kitchen or bar on board) dictated that we had to return to terra firma, sooner or later. This left me with nearly four days to explore the tiny town of Goreme and its surroundings. I was on my own and the daytime temperatures hovered in the 105 degree range, so I was not very motivated to do the public bus shuffle all over this very scenic desert. Instead, I opted to join the two ubiquitous tours offered by every hotel, hostel, tour agency and/ or street-side carnival barker.

I set mine up at what has to be one of the coolest hostels I have ever stayed in. As with most of the accommodations in the area, Yasin's Backpackers Cave Hotel is located inside one of the rock formations. This means that some of the rooms, mine included, are actually natural caves. Uh huh, that's right, I spent my vacation sleeping in a cave. That alone would have this trip a success.  And before anyone has visions of prehistoric-era deprivations, I should point out that my cave had free wifi, something that the four star hotel I am writing this from currently lacks, and managed to remain cool and comfortable when everyplace else was roughly the temperature of the sun itself.