travel journal (cappodocia :: day 4)

Today began our journey through Cappodocia. We got out of the slightly stressful Istanbul and are now in the quiet beautiful countryside in central Turkey after a 10 hr overnight bus.

Cappodocia is a region in central Turkey and there are villages scattered about the region. It’s really hard to get around to see everything without a tour guide, so that’s exactly what we did. We actually got an amazing deal through a travel agency that was run out of our hotel in Istanbul that included round trip bus, a night’s stay in a nice hotel, 2 full days of tours and lunch on both of those days. Pretty sweet deal for 140 euros.

We saw so many things all around this beautiful area with so much ancient history. We took a 4 km hike through the Rose Valley, which was exactly what I needed after being crammed in a stressful city. Fresh air. There were little cafes along this hike like in the middle of no where. Turks need their coffee and tea. Serious business. Along the hike, we saw thousands of pigeon holes. These holes are usually painted around the outside to attract pigeons. Then, their droppings are collected from the hole and used as fertilizer (so romantic right?). They also used the birds as messengers. They are just everywhere. No one really uses then anymore because people don’t live in the area anymore. We also saw a secret hidden church carved out of a huge stone pillar type thing. It was a small structure, probably only could fit 10 people in there, but so so powerful. I just kept thinking “Paul could have walked exactly where I’m walking.” It was a really neat experience for sure.

Our hike brought us out to an old Christian village, Cavusin that was carved out of the rocks. There was a whole village formed in this huge rock hillside. Insanely beautiful. I climbe all up and over all the rocks in the village ruins and almost died a couple times from slipping but totally worth it. (Don’t worry mom and dad I’m beig safe I promise!)

Then we went to Kaymakli underground city. First used by the Hittites then the Christians for hiding in time of persecution. It’s the largest one ever excavated and still it’s only 10% discovered. It’s 4 floors down complete with living rooms, kitchens, wine cellars (what else were they supposed to do? They were stuck in a cave!). Some of the passageways are so tiny and you really have to crawl through them. Probably a safety measure so the huge Roman soldiers couldn’t fit down in there. Thy would pour hot oil from holes above of passageways on their enemies for protection. Crazy stuff.

After exploring the underground, we went to a beautiful overlook of Pigeon Valley. There is a completely brethtaking view of cave cities and houses carved out of the rock. Just stunning. There’s no other place like it in the world for sure. And just so much ancient history. I still haven’t fully comprehended.

Out last stop was a Turkish rug factory. We saw handmade Turkish rugs bein woven either from wool or satin. It’s a crazy intricate process. But, all the tourists did get locked in a room and offered wine and tea and were forced to look at about 38 rus in hopes that we would spend thousands of lira on them (like $500). Little did they know that I am a very poor America and most definitely can’t afford this type if thing. But it’s so funny because the Turkish always always offer tea before business. We’ve seen it in actions so many times. We also found out that the apple tea they give us is not really classically traditional Turkish. It’s the sweet tea for the tourists. They drink the black tea. We got tricked! Oh we’ll, we still like it!

After returning to our little cave like hotel with its walls of stone (just a super cool place), we asked our tour guide for a reccomendation for dinner. His cousin owned a restaurant called Sofra right near our hotel, so we checked it out. I don’t think I can explain how awesome this meal was. The best Turkish food we hve had by far. Lamb kebobs with yogurt sauce, Sofra (a traditional dish with lamb and peppers and onion and the like, just amazing), red wine, and both desserts (yes, we did, delicious walnut stuffed figs drizzled with a molasses type sauce and rice pudding). We learned that Cappodocia is famous for their red wine and we confirmed that it is, in fact delicious. It’s this perfect blend of dry and sweet. We got all of that for USD $16 a person. Just the best. Heidi, while looking longingly at her Turkish coffee after an amazing meal, “I just want to come here every day for the rest of my life. I don’t care about getting married ever.” So there you have it, it was that good.

So after a log day with approximately no sleep the night before, it’s time to turn in early today.

Thanks for reading… It means a lot!

For photos, Instagram or twitter @jae_mae

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