Current Position: 38 38.62 N 034 49.84 E Click to view map.
It looks like a fairy tale landscape of cones, pillars, pinnacles, mushrooms, and chimneys, which stretch as far as 40 meters into the sky.
Ancient volcanic eruptions covered this region with thick ash, which solidified into a soft rock called tuff.
Some made by nature and some by humans this place is full of living quarters, places of worship, stables, water wells and cisterns,and storehouses that were all dug into the soft stone thousands of years ago. Tunnel complexes formed entire towns with as many as eight different stories hidden underground. Cappadocia is situated in the principal Silk Road, the main commerce route between the orient and Europe going back forever.
The site became a religious refuge during the early days of Christianity. They excavated extensive dwellings and monasteries and created Byzantine frescoes paintings in cave chapels beginning in the seventh century.
Welcome to Cappadocia, and the incredible landscapes.
We started our journey on a 2 hour bus from here Finike, to Antalya where we had to take a different bus to the town of Goreme.
Antalya is a very nice city and we decided to take the bus in the morning and spend the day there. We then left the luggage at the bus station for a small fee and we were free to explore the beautiful place for the rest of the day. From Antalya we took an evening bus, at 10Pm and arrived in Cappadocia at 7:00Am. It was better than expected, we even had a good sleep.
When we got out of the bus, I was too busy looking up the sky and capturing some pictures of the balloons and all these funny looking rocks around us while Noel is calling me to get the luggage that I was ignoring.
We were on a organized tour previously booked, so our guide picked us up and drove us to the hotel where we dropped our luggage, and went through the itinerary for the week.
Our first adventure was a short bus drive to one of the biggest underground city. So far tourists are allowed to visit 5 floors. There are more being excavated.
Our first hike, more like a walk, was the Ihlara valley. This is the view from the top of this beautiful gorge. We descended to it and visited a nice church inside of a cave where you could still see some frescoes representing the life of Jesus.
We stayed here in the town of Goreme. Goreme is the main center for visitors. There are many other towns near by with all the tourist facilities but you have to take the Dolmus that comes by every few minutes. So Goreme makes it more central.
From here it is much easier to start your hikes to the valleys. Or sometimes you are driven up to the start of the walk and you end up walking into town. Everyday was a surprise.
Goreme is a very cute little town by day or night.
We were excited for the next day:
Getting ready for the ride
We had fun watching the many balloons going up near by.
Below is rose valley, the much popular one. Looks like ice cream cones: strawberry, vanilla or lemon, or perhaps mango???
The sun is rising
For safety reasons, they are only allowed to have a maximum of 100 balloons in the skies. At one time they had up to 200. After a fatal accident of a Brazilian young man in a collision a few years ago, they changed the laws. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like, and the danger! It already looks so busy with half the amount drifting along.
We celebrated with Champagne and they drove us back to the hotel for breakfast at about 8am.
We were so excited and ready to explore these valleys on foot with our guide.
We started about 9,30.This is red valley. The scenery included many fruit trees and grapes, through out the valley and between churches, chapels, caves and fairy chimneys. The frosty mornings were cold, the days sunny, nice and warm and cold again at sun down.
By 1:oo pm we had reached Pasabagi where lunch awaits.
We walked these beautiful valleys for 5 days and we couldn’t get enough.
Every morning, I woke up and quickly moved the curtain out of my way to see if it was time for the balloons yet or perhaps I slept in and I missed them. I woke up with the sun, so luckily they were still a few around. How many also depended on the direction of the wind. I stepped outside into the patio and every morning I was delighted with the sky full of hot air balloons around and above our hotel. I loved it!
This photo above was also taken from our balcony. People gathered up there every evening to watch the sunset. Nice Sunset Cafe up there where you can also enjoy a nice drink as well as the sunset and the views all round.
Unfortunately in many of them, their eyes or the whole face, has been scratched off.
Above one of the churches. This day included a picnic lunch. Well it was more like a fast food pick up by the guide’s husband who brought it to us here. It was a really good wrap. We enjoyed the view of the valleys from the top of the hill. A cute little man arrives in a motorbike and opened his shack. Gathers up some wood and makes a nice fire. Boiled some water and a few minutes later he was serving us Turkish tea.
Amazing rock formations. Every valley was different….
We also went to a Turkish night where they put on a show of all the dances from the different areas of the country and of course the belly dancer.The guys were the most impressive with their very energetic Russian style type dancing. Amazing!
The show was in this beautiful hall built in to the caves with about 4 different theater style seats and tables a 3 course meal and all you can drink.
Open air museum in Goreme. It is only a 15 minute walk from the village center. It has many rock cut churches tables and benches dating back to the 10, 11 and 12th century. Some of them still have beautiful frescoes, especially the Dark church. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos, once I tried to sneak one in and security made me delete it.
The Goreme Open Air Museum has been a member of the Unesco World Heritage since 1984, and was one of the first two Unesco sites in Turkey.
I did get this one photo. This church had a necropolis, the frescoes were not in great shape. It is very unusual to see the skeletons though.
Walking through the gardens of the villagers in the base of the valley. They grow some vegetables here but are not now harvested. Ahhh but hard to reach grapes so yummy off the vines that have grown wild over other trees! The many apples so sweet, and even dried prunes still left on trees. I was always running behind and catching up, either was photos or food…Organic, gotta take advantage!
We told our French guide to teach the Turkish how to make tart aux pommes. After being served or at least offered, baclava for 9 days, we were ready for a change. She told us ” she is French and she is a woman” what she says don’t count. Oops! She is married to a Turkish man here in Goreme, has her teaching job at University in France and comes to spend every short or long holiday here. She says Cappadocia is her home.
After the red valley, rose valley pigeon valley, white valley and more, we pass through the Love valley.
Ancient homage to male fertility? They are far from being man made. Below you can decide where the name comes from.
Again the dramatic colors, pink, white, and sometimes yellow.
We enjoyed Cappadocia so much. Sad to see it end. We spent 5 days there and we could have stayed and walked more and more through this amazing and mysterious place.
The other 3 days were part of the same tour, it took us on a long but nice trip to Sanliurfa, East of Turkey. There we visited Nemrut Mountain, Gobekli Hill, the oldest Temple in the world, Abraham cave, and the pools with the holly (sic) fish. The pictures will be on the next and last post for the season 2013. Stay tuned.
It is a full schedule here in the marina. Yoga time, coffee and cake time, happy hour, pub night, quiz night and games night, animal shelter fundraising and many walks and hikes…..Let’s schedule in some work!