Fez Bus Tour - Cappadocia
Cappadocia Travel Blog› entry 7 of 10 › view all entries
We arrived at Cappadocia at sunset, which granted us really cool views of the shadows playing on the crazy rock houses and fairy chimneys. Cappadocia is really a place that one needs to visit to truly appreciate. It sounds a bit lame to keep writing about the cool rocks, but there really is an air of mystery to the place that doesn't come across in pictures, or by describing the weirdly shaped landscape.
This time we stayed at another great hostel, the Rock Valley. It was a little disappointing because they didn't have a cave house to stay in, which is one of the main attractions of the region, but it was cozy, comfortable and had 24-hour hot water (quite a luxury in Turkish hostels!), so we were happy.
We got to our hostel just in time for Turkish night! I was looking forward to this because I had done it on my last trip to Turkey in 2003 and it was such a fun, memorable night filled with unlimited alcohol, Turkish folk music and belly dancers, all set in an old caravanserai that had been transformed into a restaurant. They had made some changes since then. We were treated to some Whirling Dervishes (but no live band, unfortunately) as well as the usual dancing. One of the novelties was, surprisingly, the belly dancer. I've seen quite a few belly dance shows after the several months of living in Istanbul, and on two separate trips to Morocco, but this was the first time I had ever seen a male belly dancer and he was simply spectacular.
We struggled to get up in time the following day for a tour of southern Cappadocia. One of the places we visited was an area called Yaprakhisar, which looked a little bit familiar, not because I had been there before but because it was used as a background in the Star Wars films. Maybe that was part of what added to the mystical quality of Cappadocia – the fact that you could almost expect to see Luke Skywalker in his speeder come flying through the desert-like scenery.
One of my favorite things about Turkey is its apparent identity crisis. There are many Turks who long to be part of Europe. They wear blue jeans, listen to Tupac Shakur and study English.
After our brief venture into the fantasy land of a galaxy far, far away and some more sheep sightings, we headed to the Ihlara Valley for a pre-lunch hike. Unfortunately, I was again suffering from slight heat exhaustion, so the idea of trekking two miles through a gorge with no bathrooms or refreshments before lunchtime wasn't too thrilling.
The highlight of the day came after lunch as we pulled into the parking lot of the Derinkuyu Underground City. Cappadocia is filled with these subterranean abodes because of the soft volcanic rock that permeates the region. This is where the Christians came to hide from the Romans, the Arabs, and anyone else who happened to be persecuting them at the time.
Cappadocia is home to such an interesting and diverse set of attractions. After the excitement of our southern tour, we decided to spend the next day on our own at the Open-Air Museum of Goreme. It's another fascinating, one-of-a-kind place that showcases monasteries and churches that were carved out of the rock.
Like Saklikent, one of the most fun things about Goreme is the complete lack of safety. While some of the caves have steel steps leading you to the upper levels, there are still many caves just outside the main complex that haven't yet been "tourist-ized." You can climb around these caves as much as you like, safety be damned. This was another time when I found a nice, shady spot to sit as Jon played Indiana Jones and climbed on the rocks.
We had planned on spending the whole day at Goreme so we were kind of surprised to be finished at 1PM or so.
It was a hot day so we stopped for some ice cream on the way back to the hostel and enjoyed a delicious barbeque dinner there. Once again, we were preparing to leave. This time, it was for the final leg of our journey. We were on our way to the slightly dangerous region of Southeastern Turkey and the legendary Mt. Nemrut.