After filling up on ruins and tasty chicken in Athens we were off to Cappadocia, Turkey where we gorged on fairy chimneys, pide, kebab, and lentil soup. This was March 24 – 27, by the way.
I’ve already described our arrival. Things just kept getting more awesome from there. The landscape is as bizarre as it looks in pictures. Volcanic activity + erosion = dusty fairy chimneys of various shapes and sizes and into which people carved all kinds of cave homes, castles, churches, even full underground cities where Christians and others used to hide out from their enemies (and/or winter).
It was deliciously quiet and calm in Goreme which made the early morning call to prayer pretty spectacular – incredibly loud, seemingly quite long (especially when compared with the call(s) we would hear later that week in Istanbul). It also had a built-in snooze; there would be a pause that would almost let you go back to sleep… but not quite. This early wake up call, tons of cool fresh air and very little going on at night all contributed to geriatric bedtime. Especially on day one, when we couldn’t stay awake past 21:30. We finally hit vacation mode: sleep when you’re tired! Get up when you’re not!
We had only two full days to explore but it worked out perfectly. Ol’ Wilson trundled us around to a lot of the main sites with ease since there was plenty to see and do within a short drive – from the interesting (but not my favourite) Goreme Open Air Museum (lots of old churches and a disappointing audio guide), to Uchisar (see castle link above!) to the Kaymakli underground city. Good thing I had my trusty navigator husband at the helm, however, as the available maps were useless. All the more so in my hands – to quote myself when Duncan realized that we missed a turn: “sorry, I wasn’t paying attention, I was looking at the chickens.” Take a road trip with me, folks, I’ll never steer you wrong! Except when I’m looking at chickens, of course.
We actually did all of the sites listed above on day one (and more!), making us even more chilled out on day two. We passed our time that day exploring the Zelve archaeological area (some people lived there until the 1950s!!), cruising over to neighbouring towns, and chilling in Goreme cafes. Eating, obviously. We could have struck out on a longer walk in the valleys, but it was a tad cool and, well, we were feeling vactiony and like drinking tea and reading. That didn’t prevent us from getting sunburned faces, however. Oh hello sunscreen two years past your expiry date! Weird how you don’t do anything to protect my fair skin!
Do I need to mention that the people were super nice? They were. Sure, some sales pitches… but they were super-extra soft (a failed carpet sales pitch quickly turned into a chat about how young Canadians marry, as compared to Europeans… or something). There was also a joke-y, kind guy at the hotel who served breakfast in the morning. And the breakfast! No pictures, sadly. Egg, olives (for Duncan), bread and cake, homemade jam, havla, tomato and cucumber zomg. The food available in town was also delicious. Like, super yum.
It was one of those precious holidays when you decide to “drive over there and look at that!” and “that” is, without fail, awesome, surprising and unlike anything you’ve seen before.