Friday, October 9, 2015

Welcome to Cappadocia

We took an overnight bus from Denizli last night which dropped us off in the center of Göreme at 6am. That's before sunrise. Which in Göreme, is actually a good thing. Göreme is the most popular town in the Turkish region of Cappadocia, and Cappadocia is popular because of its crazy terrain, and the best way and best time to see that crazy terrain is in a hot air balloon at sunrise.

We wandered up from the bus to our hotel, but apparently 6am is a little early to check in. They told us we could possibly check in at 10am though, and that's MUCH earlier than we thought, so we were happy about that. They let us drop our bags off and hang out on the restaurant balcony, which they said is the best place to view the balloons. It's not, but we didn't know any better. Yet.

Really only Butterfly balloons start up the valley where the Göreme Kaya Hotel is at. The rest start somewhere else. So after about 30 minutes we wandered back down into the center of town and then off to the right side looking for elevated points to get a good view. Eventually we found a road (we'd learn later, it's the road to the Göreme Open Air Museum) and off that road we found a path that you can get up to see great views (here's the lat/long if you're curious: 38.643872, 34.835599).

This is where I took this cool video...

By the time the balloons had landed, it was still another 2 hours until we could check in. So we went back into town and found a coffee shop and ordered some hot chocolate.

It was nice to sit in the sun and warm up a bit. And that was some of the best hot chocolate I've ever had. It was hazelnut. Yeah, Nutella flavored hot chocolate.

Sipping hot cocoa killed off about another hour, so we slowly moseyed back to the hotel and got back around 9:30am and asked on the off chance if our room was ready.

"Yes. And we gave you a free upgrade."

What?! Yes please!

The only thing we wanted was to stay in a cave room - literally a room that was carved out of a rock. And boy did they deliver! And then some!

We walk in and this is what we see:

Yeah. We're not even in the bedroom yet! So we enter the living room/sitting area and Isa and I are trying to hide our excitement - we don't book hotels with more than one room. This is amazing. Down the stairs to our right is the bedroom. IN A CAVE!

So the sitting area is a stone room, but the bedroom is actually inside the cave.

How cool is that?! Obviously, WAY more room than we need, as this is bigger than our apartment in New York. But we are loving the luxury and space! Thank you Göreme Kaya Hotel!

As you may be able to gather from the above picture, I was tired. I didn't sleep well on the overnight bus, and frankly haven't been sleeping well this entire trip. And now I'm sick. So I needed to take a nap for a little bit.

[a little later]

When I woke up, Isa was watching Harry Potter. In a cave. I just can't get over that. We're staying in a comfy cave. :)

We decided to go to the Göreme Open Air Museum, which is a collection of cave churches. On our way over there, we ran into some Aussie friends we had met in Selçuk, so we teamed up and went together. Ollie (8 years old) and I (let's face it, I act like I'm 8) got distracted on the way.

The dogs here are fun. They follow you around and later, even act as tour guides. :)

You know how in Provo there are churches every few blocks? Well that's what this part of town was for the early Christians. There were tons of churches built into lots of the fairy chimneys. So you get in and walk along this large path and just check out each one of them.

The insides of the churches are painted beautifully and carved out with domes and naves and apses and arches. Most of them don't allow photography or video. But the less-cool ones do. Like this:

Or the ones that are outside because half of it fell down.

Among the churches are a few homes as well. Those aren't painted and decorated as much (at all), but they were still interesting. Here's us at a dining room table made of stone.

Isa, Hayley, Brian, and Ollie (Wayne is taking the picture)
Here's a banquet table.

And one with some art. Can you tell I was fascinated by these stone tables?

There's Wayne and Hayley chatting with Isa
After we toured through here, we cut up off the road and went exploring the abandoned fairy chimney homes.

There are SO MANY of these homes. This place must have been a pretty big city! We explored for over two hours in just one section and we didn't even come close to checking them all out.

Doesn't this house look like the Flintstones' house?

At one point, a dog found us and led me up to a sweet viewpoint.

I love hiking. I love exploring. This was FUN!

We watched the sunset over the Uchisar Castle (that's another fairy chimney - a giant one - full of carved out houses connected by stairs, tunnels, and passages).

And then we found some good food and went home. Bed. Yay! Another great day. :) (Even though I'm getting sick from lack of sleep.) :(

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