Turkey is one of my favorite countries and is well worth a repeat visit. The food, the weather, the people and the over-use of my favourite colour, turquoise.
Flew from Istanbul to Neveshir and then caught a taxi to the town of Goreme. Goreme is found among the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and is a cute wee town. I spent the arvo wandering around and drinking endless cups of Turkish tea with the shopkeepers. Had a delicious dinner of lamb slow cooked in a clay pot which is broken and then poured on your plate – delicious. There’s ample accommodation and we decided to embrace the cave lifestyle and stayed in a cave hotel.
Ange and Hayden arrived at midnight and the next day we walked to the Goreme Open Air Museum. The museum contains some of the earliest churches in history and the area is said to have been one of the first to embrace Christianity. Here you’ll find rock-cut churches, frescoes and refectories with rock tables and benches. Pretty impressive considering they date back to 3rd and 4th century BC! We were also very lucky to hit the cold snap and had snow in April!
Next I walked 4km to Uchisar Castle – a 60m high castle which was the main point of defence for Cappadocia. At the top of the castle you are rewarded with the panoramic view of the surrounding towns and endless fairy chimneys. The castle has underground passages and rooms with only a few open to the public, and it used to house 1000 people. The small town itself is full of tourist-trap shops and fancy looking hotels.
My last full day was spent on the Green Tour of Cappadocia (lots of tours and can just book at your hotel) which took us to Kaymakli Underground City. The complex carved underground has been used for hundreds of years by locals to hide from Romans, Persians and Arabs and are thought to have first been built in the 7th-8th centuries BC. The city contained stables, churches, bedrooms, wine cellars, pantries and even a room for the dead. Just imagine a normal village but it’s built underground. It was incredible.
Next was visiting the Selime Monastery in the Ihara Valley- a cathedral sized church cut directly into the volcanic rock. The church is separated into 3 sections by two rock columns. Kitchens and stables are also present as well as monks’ living quarters which are adorned with time worn frescoes. There’s also pigeon homes/dovecotes as they used pigeons for food and fertiliser!
Last stop was a walk along the “Grand Canyon” – a very easy walk along the river to a restaurant for tasty local fish. Not a bad way to spend a snowy day in Cappadocia! Unfortunately the weather didn’t play well and I was unable to go hot air ballooning but there’s always next time.
Restaurant recommendations include: Pumpkin, Organic Cave Kitchen and Dibek.