Day 1 - May 11th 2009
11.05.2009 - 11.05.2009 25 °C
Cappadocia. We had heard only that Cappadocia was a town of many ancient, formerly inhabited caves and the region came highly recommended by all that had visited. We were happy to leave it at that and avoided viewing pictures of the region on the internet prior to our arrival. We simply didn’t want to spoil the surprise. The thought of a “cave town” conjured up many mental images, the first of which (for me) was dragging Vicki indoors by the hair to prepare the meat I had just captured and killed with my bare hands. I even wanted to doctor a photo but Vicki simply wouldn’t allow it. Spoilt sport. I think she knew that in a weird and warped sort of way, it would of turned me on. Lets admit it guys, the thought of dragging a woman into a cave turns us all on. Primal instinct or simply a nostalgic view of how it could have been? If you don’t agree then you are either lying to yourself, your spouse is over your shoulder or you are a woman. I will pay for my commentary, that I assure you…
Snow. Upon arrival in Cappodocia (Kayseri Airport), we immediately noticed the cooler climate, cleaner air and snow-capped mountains in the distance. A beautiful sight for anyone - especially for me. I hadn’t seen snow before. Excitable like a small child in a petting zoo, the mood was set for our visit. A tear came to eye but I’m certain that was the cool air, it must have been.
A Mercedes Minivan was our mode of transport to the Hotel. About an hour from where we were staying – Goreme. Comfortable, clean, new and European. What more could you ask for when travelling this distance? The trip was quite dull to begin with then the sights began to appear. We now knew what people meant by “Cave town” and “Fairy Chimneys”. There was some serious exploring to be done and we knew we’d need help to get it all done in the time we had.
Traveller’s Cave Hotel. A gimmicky name anywhere else but not here. In Cappadoccia, cave based accommodation was common and we were soon to sleep in one. I walked slowly behind Vicki as we approached the door to our cave scanning the surrounds for a club, large rock or even a chair... !
Cave. What a treat. I felt like Fred Flinstone. Of course it was modernised with wireless internet, Cable TV, towel warmer and Heating but it was a real cave. Took me a while to get over it and forgot for a moment that there was a whole region to explore so out we went for our first tour.
Pottery. Our first stop was a pottery centre. This business had been passed down from generation to generation. A smooth talking guy with a moustache (notice a trend yet?) took the lead and talked us through the history of the family business and the process of crafting the ceramics. A real art, everything hand sculpted using 3 different types of clay, design sketched freehand then hand painted. Vicki gave the pottery wheel a go but first had to dawn on some fashionable pants. As good as she looked, she was unfortunately unable to replicate her Grandmother’s pottery skill.
Rose Valley. Next stop, the Rose Valley. We were expecting flowers but the name was suggestive of the rock colour in the Valley as opposed to the type of Flora. What a magnificent 6 or so kilometres of terrain (I think it stretched for about 14km but we did only a portion of it). This place oozed natural beauty. We were lucky enough to be guided through some of the caves used by the Byzantines. Chapels, churches, storage areas, sleeping quarters, kitchens and pigeon holes (not for mail but for real pigeons). Their eggs were used to make plaster and their droppings for fertilizer.
Turkish Caveman. The tour guide warned us about the man in the cafeteria we were soon to visit. The cafeteria was deep in a Valley cave and a welcome pit stop after hiking for a couple of hours. He was known to repeat stories from day to day and a notorious talker. He welcomed us with open arms. I’m sure it gets a bit lonely in the mountains. After selecting a drink and settling down to rest our tired legs, he began to tell his stories in Turkish. The guy didn’t breath for about 7 minutes. We only stopped for about 15 minutes and he spoke for about 14 of them. We couldn’t help but start giggling (including the tour guide) like school children as he linked his every story without once pausing for input. He didn’t make eye contact when he spoke, he simply looked into the horizon whilst spewing his ramblings. We didn’t understand a word he said but were very much entertained the entire time.
Sunset. We reached the highest point overlooking the valley to watch the sunset. The Valley was visually appeasing without the help of the descending sun but boy did it amplify the colour and beauty of the Valley. Superb.
Turkish Night. All you can eat and drink coupled with traditional Turkish entertainment. Twirling dervishes were a highlight although men in dresses spinning around begged a few questions. Again, I will take this up with Aiden and Engin. Food was great, the beer was cold and plentiful and the entertainment sound. A very good way to end a very long day.