Sunrise over Goreme
We were awoken twice during the night. Firstly, for a police inspection of passports, which resulted in a little bit of a panic when the police gave us the green light and the bus drove away BEFORE the assistant had returned our passports to us. We stopped ourselves from demanding the bus driver stop before our passports were returned and thankfully our faith was duly repaid.
Secondly, we snapped awake at about 3:30am when the bus boy turned a light on in our faces and muttered something about getting off. The bus pulled over by the side of the main road and we were helped with our luggage to the curb. We were in the middle of nowhere! The driver insisted we were in the right place.
A police car was parked 50m up the road but I asked a random bloke standing by the side of the road where the otogar was, and he pointed us up the hill. The Otogar was closed but there was a lone taxi parked – engine running. “Rip off” alarms were blaring but it was 3:30am, we had no idea where we were and it was freezing cold. So we jumped in the metered cab and then watched the worlds fastest meter race to 42YTL in the few kilometres it took him to drive us from the highway to the town centre. We had the driver drop us outside the pension we hoped to stay at but no one was about, so we huddled together in the cold until the mosque woke all the locals just before sunrise. We were then able to learn that the pension was full. It is a Turkish long weekend. Bugger. We stood around until about 6am to watch the sunrise and then walked into the town centre, where we found the otogar, public toilets and information about accommodation.
The second place we tried was also full but the woman there was very kind, inviting us inside to warm up and then suggesting another place which she knew did have space.
The ATV ride in the arvo allowed us to get out and see a few of the valleys
We made our way across town to the Kose Pension. Thankfully it had room for us and the owner Dawn very kindly led us to our room. We immediately put our heads down and slept.
I awoke a couple of hours later and spent some time exploiting the free wireless internet access, catching up on emails and news. Michelle didn’t wake until early afternoon but when she did we each ordered a home made pie from Dawn (they were great) and then we headed out to town, to plan our next (and only full) day in Goreme.
First stop was Kapadokya Balloons to book our balloon ride. We made it just in time to secure the last two places on the “deluxe” balloon ride (the cheaper, shorter version was already sold out). Not cheap but it was one of the adventures that we’d been recommended by many, many people and we were thoroughly looking forward to it. Secondly, we booked a place on a day tour of the Cappadocia region. With tomorrow planned, we still had a couple of hours to kill before we needed to be back at the pension for dinner, so we went in search of a guided ATV tour. After visiting three places that rented bikes and cars and doing a lame bit of negotiating, we managed to arrange a 2 hour guided ATV tour for 50 YTL.
Our guide was a 19 year old Turkish lad, who lead along and through a number of different valleys on his motorbike. I think he was happy to get away from the tools for a bit (he was doing mechanical work on bike when his boss instructed him to down tools and act as our guide). Some people might have regarded him as a pretty ordinary guide, as his English barely extended far enough to announce where we were and to offer us cigarette’s but his happy, fun loving nature was refreshing and had both of us really enjoying our afternoon. When we returned our bike at 7pm, we tipped the lad and thanked him and his boss for their services. We were then offered apple tea (of course!) but we politely turned it down because our home cooked dinner was waiting for us at the pension. The three course dinner was very good and great value for money. We sat chatting with fellow travellers for a short while but fatigue got the better of us before long and we retired to our rooms to pack and get some sleep ahead of the busy day ahead.
Goreme Village. Old Cave Houses overlooking the town