Reporting live, from the moon.

Cappadocia Travel Blog

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Early morning balloons.
Today we explored a bit of Turkey’s otherworldly Cappadocia region, and at times I felt I was a visitor on another planet. It was a completely fantastic (and fantastical) day. Words seem so inadequate.  

The day got a pre-start at 4:30am. I woke up and noticed things were looking a little pink. Popped my head up and…whoa! that’s a nice sunrise. So I staggered out of bed to take a picture. Unfortunately it was a 4-second exposure, which doesn’t work well when you’re holding the camera. I didn’t think to try again, as I was half asleep. Maybe I will get a better one tomorrow.  

I then tried my hardest to sleep in, but the best I could do was 6am. It was so bright out, with birds chirping like crazy, I just had to get up and start the day.
Frescoes at the Apple Church at Goreme Open Air Museum.
I was greeted by the ethereal sight of about a dozen hot air balloons in various stages of inflation, and some were already drifting off down the valley. Beautiful!

After breakfast we hopped in our car for our first activity, a visit to the man-made caves of the Goreme Open Air Museum (10TYL entrance fee), which is only about 2 miles from the hotel. This large valley area is filled with hundreds of cave dwellings and churches (the oldest is from the 4th century), some with frescoes that date back to the 8th century. We explored for about an hour, sharing the site with a few tour groups. It was sunny out, and very dry. The breeze kept us very comfortable -- the weather here is just terrific. It was a good visit.

We then headed back to our town of Uchisar for lunch at Center Restaurant.
Lunch at Center Restaurant.
We sat outside surrounded by flowering bushes and had a really nice lunch. I had a plate of salads that included greens, a salty sort of cole slaw, feta cheese, roasted eggplants, and tomatoes. Loved it! Steve had lamb shish, served on French fries, which he reported was a little bland.

After a little break back in our wonderful room, we set off again for a hike in the Rose Valley. We found this without a problem, thanks to detailed instructions from the front desk lady, and good signs along the way. Rose Valley is a popular destination for sunset viewing, and we had to pay 6TYL to get into the main parking area. There were only a couple other cars there. We set off on one of the well-marked paths.

How can I describe Rose Valley? It’s like the Badlands of South Dakota grafted onto Canyonlands of Utah, re-interpreted by Dr Suess.
Rock formations in Rose Valley. Dr. Seuss may have had his hand in this.
On acid. It’s an incredible, beautiful, head-shaking fantasy land. Our path took us along the ridge of a stunning valley where the fairy chimneys and odd formations spread out forever. Then we walked down in the valley, where we could see caves cut into the cliffs. Along the way, we snacked on apricots that we picked ourselves from the trees we came upon every so often. We also saw pears, olives, and grape vines on the path. A tasty hike!

We walked in for about 90 minutes, hoping to find the perfect sunset-viewing area. Along the way we saw only a few other people, and most of the time it was eerily quiet. Then we turned back and hiked back another hour, not wanting to get stuck too far from the car after sunset (no street lamps there!). We ended up at a place high up, somewhere in between the Rose Valley and the Red Valley, and we had it all to ourselves for the sunset.
There it goes.
From our smug vantage point we could see the tour buses pull into the parking lot, way off in the distance. Just in time for a stunning sunset. I guess that’s one way to do it, but I sure like our way a whole lot better!

It was 9pm when we got back to them room. We had a nice candlelit picnic dinner of white wine, peanut butter sandwiches, and olives (yes, I agree that is weird) on our balcony before I crashed from sheer exhaustion. Moon walking is damn hard work!
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Early morning balloons.
Early morning balloons.
Frescoes at the Apple Church at Go…
Frescoes at the Apple Church at G…
Lunch at Center Restaurant.
Lunch at Center Restaurant.
Rock formations in Rose Valley. Dr…
Rock formations in Rose Valley. D…
There it goes.
There it goes.
And now its gone.
And now it's gone.
Blurry sunrise.
Blurry sunrise.
Balloons peeking out of the valley.
Balloons peeking out of the valley.
Morning tea.
Morning tea.
Man gets a shave on the patio.
Man gets a shave on the patio.
I think he took a wrong turn somew…
I think he took a wrong turn some…
WHERE AM I?!
WHERE AM I?!
Morning traffic jam.
Morning traffic jam.
Wishing wagon.
Wishing wagon.
Panoramic view point near our hote…
Panoramic view point near our hot…
The village of Uchisar. Our hotel…
The village of Uchisar. Our hotel…
Hobbit home.
Hobbit home.
Panoramic view point near our hote…
Panoramic view point near our hot…
Kitties at play.
Kitties at play.
Cliff cavings at Goreme Open Air M…
Cliff cavings at Goreme Open Air …
Cave at Goreme Open Air Museum.
Cave at Goreme Open Air Museum.
Tour group at Goreme Open Air Muse…
Tour group at Goreme Open Air Mus…
Shame on Gita.
Shame on Gita.
Exploring Goreme Open Air Museum.
Exploring Goreme Open Air Museum.
Steve at Goreme Open Air Museum.
Steve at Goreme Open Air Museum.
Cave graves. Goreme Open Air Museu…
Cave graves. Goreme Open Air Muse…
Cave exploration. Goreme Open Air …
Cave exploration. Goreme Open Air…
Our trail through Rose Valley.
Our trail through Rose Valley.
Blue sky at Rose Valley.
Blue sky at Rose Valley.
The path at Rose Valley.
The path at Rose Valley.
Bizarre landscape at Rose Valley.
Bizarre landscape at Rose Valley.
Steve on the trail in Rose Valley.
Steve on the trail in Rose Valley.
$2 orange juice in the middle of n…
$2 orange juice in the middle of …
Harvesting a few apricots for lunc…
Harvesting a few apricots for lun…
Apricots, fresh from the tree.
Apricots, fresh from the tree.
Our hike through Rose Valley.
Our hike through Rose Valley.
Exploring the lunar landscape of R…
Exploring the lunar landscape of …
Cave church in Rose Valley.
Cave church in Rose Valley.
More weirdness.
More weirdness.
Scenery in Rose Valley.
Scenery in Rose Valley.
The end of the valley, with farmla…
The end of the valley, with farml…
The weirdness never ends.
The weirdness never ends.
Steve on our hike through Rose Val…
Steve on our hike through Rose Va…
Its all sunshine and happiness in…
It's all sunshine and happiness i…
Peaks, points, dips and drops.
Peaks, points, dips and drops.
Cappadocian safety measure.
Cappadocian safety measure.
Steve in the late afternoon sun.
Steve in the late afternoon sun.
Rose Valley scenery.
Rose Valley scenery.
Rose Valley formations.
Rose Valley formations.
Self portrait in Rose Valley.
Self portrait in Rose Valley.
Late afternoon light.
Late afternoon light.
Melted, sculpted, rounded rocks.
Melted, sculpted, rounded rocks.
Golden grass in Rose Valley.
Golden grass in Rose Valley.
Being impaled by twigs.
Being impaled by twigs.
No need for a tripod after all!
No need for a tripod after all!
The timer beat me. Our sunset view…
The timer beat me. Our sunset vie…
Fellow sun watchers, back near the…
Fellow sun watchers, back near th…
Cappadocia
photo by: EmyG