Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Eclipse day! In the morning we moved from a fairly run of the mill & slightly expensive pension outside the centre of Göreme to a really cool one which had cheap dormitory beds in a cave!

Some serious surveying with compasses was done of area around Göreme to determine the best spot to watch the eclipse from. We selected the top of a small mountain about 7km away from town that had a great view to the South-East, the direction from which the Moon's shadow would come. When we got there it was clear that others had had similar ideas, there was quite a little commercial centre operating at the carpark at the foot of the mountain. The mountain top was big enough to accommodate a lot of people & the walk up thinned out the crowds.

At the top about 50-100 people gathered including some serious eclipse chasers who came well equiped & informed. It was quite warm with a few wispy clouds. It was going to be an excellent day to see an eclipse. The hour before & after the total eclipse was a partial eclipse. In the hour before the light slowly changed & the temperature dropped as the Moon covered more & more of the Sun. The light was amazing. Everyone got very excited as the clock got closer to 2pm when the total eclipse would begin. At that time the sky went almost completely dark & it became quite cold in a matter of less than a minute. It was the strangest feeling, people were dancing & shouting. During this time the Moon could be viewed with the naked eye, & a halo around it could be seen. In 3 minutes it was over & everyone trouped back down the mountain. In another hour it was as hot as before.

A small group, Maurizio, Caoilte and me that I'd met the evening before & myself walked down one of the many valleys beside Göreme in peace & quiet, under a wonderful blue sky. The valley was amazing, filled with eroded sandstone pillars, some of which had once contained dwellings & churches. In between there were fields of what looked like grape vine & fruit trees. These fields were only accessible by narrow paths & there was no evidence of the use of anything other than the simplest farming tools. We got back to Göreme in the early evening.

I cycled 0km

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