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Planning and map day in Goreme

(written by Dave)

We are in an amazingly scene place but we spent most of the day looking at maps and figuring out our route forward.  We’ve mostly settled on a relatively straight line from here to Istanbul as it will give us a little more time to play within our schedule. The hotel owner here thinks it will be pretty hard to ride due north to the Black Sea (lots of mountain ranges to cross) and we’ve heard that the Black Sea route is relatively hilly from there into Istanbul, so the central route it is, unless we change our minds again.

We’ve got a couple more days here so not looking around too much today is not such a big deal.  In fact, I’ve spent a good deal of time in my life looking at maps.  I love maps.  If I’ve not been to a location, then a new map represents hundreds of possible places to visit.  If I’ve been to a location then the old map can conjure up memories of all the things we did and saw in our travels.  This may be a guy thing or maybe I’m just a map nerd.  Nancy only looks at map to figure out where we might sleep.

Mankind has been drawing maps probably forever.  Once folks figured out that the earth was round they created a bunch of lines to note solar activity.  The obvious lines here are the equator, the two tropics and the two polar circles.  Of course there are also the 24 meridian time zone lines and all of the lines of longitude and latitude.  We’ve crossed a few of the major lines on this trip and can report that there are actually no lines on the surface of the earth, rather they only exist on our maps, or on a tourist sign if the imaginary line is in a noteworthy location.

We have Spot GPS and send “I’m OK” messages to our mothers every day.  These messages also contain our current longitude and latitude.  By sending the message to the LWOP CTO (Donaleen), we also get a map of our travels created.  For some time now, our reported longitude and latitude have been getting closer to the same number.  That is, our longitude is almost the same as our latitude.  This got me thinking that maybe mankind created another, little known line where longitude equals latitude.  In searching the net, I found a fellow map nerd who talked about the equal longitude and latitude line (note that it does not have a sexy name, just the line of equal longitude and latitude).  It is a weird line that crosses both poles, parts of Canada, big parts of Africa and a good part of Eastern Europe.  It also happens to sweep through central Turkey and along the path we followed for the past week or so.  How exciting!  I’ve kept a keen eye out for this line while riding the last few days.  Nancy, for some reason that I can’t understand, keeps forgetting to look and in fact seems to even forget the name of the new and exciting line.  I think that she’s more worried about me getting us lost.

We were not stuck looking for new lines all day today.  I was up very early to try getting some photos of the famous hot air balloons that travel the morning sky in Goreme.  And late afternoon we headed out to some of the fairy chimneys right outside out hotel.  The balloons were all pretty far away as they go the direction that the wind blows.  The fairy chimneys were quite spectacular.  You’d probably call these “everyday” chimneys as they are not in the open air museum and are not overly developed.  Having said that, they were quite fun to scramble around.  It is amazing that folks lived in these for thousands of years.

I’ve included a few photos but will hold off again today in noting the whole story on the chimneys as we’ll learn more tomorrow when we visit the museum and a few of the more notable chimney sights.  And most exciting, we’ve booked a hot air balloon ride for the following morning, so well get some better photos of them as well – it’s our anniversary present to each other, as seems appropriate since we are staying in the honeymoon suite and all.

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8 responses to “Planning and map day in Goreme

  1. How did those fairy chimneys get so pointy and why are the top parts a different color? And where is the one that is lit up at night?

  2. Looks like a really cool place!

  3. One of our cats’ Shindhyq (Scottish Fold) loves maps too, especially charts when sailing routes are being planned. Whenever they are out on floor or the table for surveying she decides to take a look and lay on top of them, not budging for nothing. We really should have gotten her a trailer for one of our bikes as she is a real camper and navigator. We’re off for a long weekend cycle trip on Bintan island, Happy Vesak Day!

    • Sounds like a cat that I would really like – map geek cat, who would have thought. Not a lot of Vesak Day news here in Turkey, as you might have guessed.

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  4. At first I thought that there would be only a point where the numbers would be the same for latitude and longitude, but then I realized that on a slanted line one could find the same numbers in both directions until the longitudes got too high in number or the equator started the numbers going in the opposite direction. What website did you find where it explains this better? I have been looking for a few minutes, but I must not be putting in the right key words. Most sites explain what latitude and longitude lines are and how they are labeled.
    By the way, I’m excited to see and learn more about the fairy chimneys, too. I didn’t know that they served as parts of shelters as well.

    • Try this link from “the Basement Geographer”

      http://basementgeographer.blogspot.com/2010/11/lines-of-equal-latitude-and-longitude.html

      He references a wikipedia link as well, but it seems that it has been deleted. It may be that this new, exciting line, is not all the exciting to anyone but folks who call themselves things like the Basement Geographer.

      I, like you, thought it would just be a single point, then, probably like you as well, thought a little longer and it dawned on me that moving in the correct direction off that point would mean another point where both were equal again. Before you know it, all these points make a line.

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