Cappadocia, Turkey

This is Derinkuyu in Turkey. It is one of dozens of  underground cities below Cappadocia’s spectacular landscape. They were used as wartime retreats for safety against invaders and marauders (Alexander, Romans, Persians). Derinkuyu, which descends 20 levels, and once housed some 20,000 people, is extraordinary. One can clamber down a few levels to find huge, rock-carved chambers that once housed communal kitchens, dormitories, storage areas, stables and wine presses.

Jacqueline and I spent a day there in 2017. Unfortunately, while visiting the underground habitat, I had a massive panic attack. This stemmed from my lifelong fear (and nightmares) of being held below under force below ground level. It was with some difficulty that with Jacqueline’s help, I reemerged into the sunlight after climbing 150-odd stairs. Because of a childhood mishap, I have always been fearful of being considered dead – even though I am alive, in deep sleep or in a coma – and so buried. That is yet another good reason in favor of cremation!

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