What a wonder a good night’s sleep can do in a warm, wonderful hotel room in none other than a place called Cappodocia Palace. I told you we were spoiling ourselves! (Read: not really, we just got an amazing deal on the tour package).
Today was the second day of Cappodocia tours. There’s so much to see and really the only way to do it all is through a tour. Which, if you don’t know, I am all for now. I used to be really skeptical but have had absolutely great experiences every time. Plus, you get to meet so many different kinds of people. Heidi and I made friends with the 2 most adorable Malaysian couples. Just the most heart warming people ever. One of the couples owns a tea shop in Malaysia and basically convinced us to come. (Next trip anyone??) We shared photos of our lives back home and just learned a bit about each other. Experiences like that are irreplaceable.
We also met the sweetest guy from Scotland, Ben. He was on our tour today and is also a world traveler. We all talked almost the entire day and easily made conversation about anything and everything. He also invited us to come and visit Edinborough so yeah, probably going to do that. Traveling creates community by brings people together. Im convinced of that every time I travel. Just really cool stuff.
Anyways, back to Cappodocia. Our first stop was Devrent Valley or Imagination Valley. If you use your imagination, you can see anything you want in the rocks. We found things like camels and kissing ducks.
Then, it was onto the Fairy Chimneys in Monk’s Valley or Pasabagi. A natural rock formation with caps on top. Just really crazy looking rocks. It was really foggy when we were there which only added to the magic. We also had hot wine, a specialty of of the area. Like I said yesterday, Cappodocia is known for their red wine and this delicious hot wine was no exception. It was quite chilly before noon and this was the perfect cure for cold hands. (Yes, drinking before noon… No big deal).
Then we went to tour a pottery house in Avanos where everything they make is on a foot spun wheel. They literally push the potters wheel around with their foot the entire time. There were such beautiful pieces, but of course expensive and they tried to lure us into buying them… So yeah, that didn’t happen.
Then onto lunch in a cave restaurant. We were treated to a 4 course meal, so so good. It definitely made up for the lunch yesterday that wasn’t the best. We started off with lentil soup, then stuffed eggplant, followed by a local beef (slow cooked for 3 hours mind you) and vegetable stew type dish with rice, then baklava to finish it all off. Oh food, how you have stolen my heart.
Then, onto the Goreme Open Air Museum. This was an old Monastary from around 1100 (and was used far before that too). There were living spaces and churches and kitchen all built right into the huge rock formations, like little caves. There were 3 churches each with a specific story. They all had beautiful freso artwork and also some seco artwork. So, fresco paintings use a plaster as a base on the cave wall (usually made of eggshells or something like that), then they use vegetable dyes from things like terra cotta, indigo, and grape leaves. Seco is paintes directly on the cave wall, like primitive paintings. (Hope thats all correct Sara!…) The whole museum was stunning. I still just can’t believe that I’m really at these places with so much history.
The next place had an amazing panoramic view of a lot of the region of Cappodocia. It was a place called Esentepe. To top it all off, there were so many hot air balloons over the scenery.
Our last stop was Uchisar, a natural rock castle. It’s just a bigger and more impressive version of other rock caves/formations. There were also many cave houses here, which people lived in up to the 1960s. People still own each of the cave houses, they just no longer live there because of the tourism industry that boomed in the 60s. Now that’s craziness.
When we returned from the tour, we found out that we did get our bus tickets changed from going back to Istanbul to going to Izmir, the area where Ephesus is! We also got the shuttle and tour and everything all worked out. The people here are so helpful and fabulous. Jasminne Travel Agency, Hit the Road Tour Company and the people who worked at Cappodocia Palace have all been absolutely amazing. So if you are going to Turkey, I HIGHLY recommend these people. Just the bees knees. We felt so taken care of.
We had dinner at Sofra again because it was just so great, we had to try more. This time, we had their version of homemade ravioli and a different type of kebab. Wow. I mean you can’t go wrong with this place. We are still in love with it. Ben (our Scottish friend) also joined us for dinner and we had lovely chats about life.
We said goodbye to all our Cappodocia friends and headed to the bus station.
Tonight is an overnight bus to Izmir, another 10 hour one. Lets hope this one will be a bit better than the last…
Photos: Instagram and/or Twitter @jae_mae