Many moons ago, I once saw a BBC programme presented by Michael Palin, about this wonderful landscape somewhere in the middle of Turkey. A place where humans and fairies once lived together in peace. A landscape dominated by cone shaped rock formations, straight out of a Disney movie. Fairy chimneys and cave dwellings, scattered across the Cappadocian landscape as far as the eye could see. A wonderland like nowhere else on earth. I have kept this place in the back of my mind for a long time. It is somewhere I had wanted to go, even before I even dreamt of our round the world trip in 2009. Palin’s description of this magical, mystical place, had stuck with me for some time. Although the fairies had now moved on (due to inter marriage problems apparently) a visit to Goreme, the heart of this idyllic place, was a must, once my feet first touched down Turkish soil. Clay Pot Kebab & Underground City - Click here to watch
An early morning flight and a transfer from Kayseri airport to Goreme, we were checked in at Anatolia Guest Cave Pension before noon. To add a bit of excitement to our journey we had booked into a cave room. To add even
more excitement the electricity had gone in the town and we had no lights in our cave. Queue our trusty head torches that we knew would come in handy again one day. People would question why I pack them, but when you have a tendency to sleep in cave’s they’re bound to come in handy. The excitement soon turned to disappointment when we realised that no electricity for the town meant no ATM’s. All we had was €20 cash in a town where Turkish Lira was needed. Soon the heavens opened and we had to take shelter in a shop porch while we pondered what to do with out cash. Just as were about to make a run for our cave I noticed a sign on the shop window. CASH EXCHANGE HERE. Thank god. We were getting hungry and god knows when the power would come back. We then settled into the only restaurant in town that seemed to have a generator, with what seemed like every other cash strapped tourist in the town. We saw the day out by eating, sleeping, reading and writing.
We had organised a tour for the following day (known locally as the green
tour). The first stop was a panoramic view point where we learned a little about the creation of the rock formations. Basically the were volcanic eruptions and then down through the years there has been major erosion, leaving behind the oddly shaped landscape. After that we drove for 45mins to an underground city. We were only shown a small portion of the tunnels. We went down as far as the fourth floor underground. The complex has a total of 11 floors, containing chapels, cellars, storage rooms and stables. It has a depth of up t 85m and it was said up to twenty to thirty thousand lived down there. Our guide said that it was not possible and was more likely two or three thousand people. After that we walked through the Ihlara valley for 45mins. The walk was easy and the scenery was picturesque. We wandered along by a small river and then had lunch in a nice river side restaurant. After that we visited Selime Monastery. This required a little climb up to where chapels and churches were cut into the mountains. Christian paintings lined the walls of the churches, each depicting a different story from the bible.
Our last stop brought us to Pigeon valley. Here thousands of pigeon holes were cut into the mountain side, surrounded by hundreds of fairy chimneys. It is a vet unusual landscape to say the least. The people who cut out the pigeon holes obviously had a fascination, or more likely, a use for pigeons. They were used for fertiliser and also the fertiliser was used for bomb making. They had many uses. We were dropped back to the door of our guest house, where we hit the hay and a rested for a while.
That evening we went out and tried something new again. Here in Cappadocia they specialise in cooking in clay pots. The pots are sealed and your meal is cooked inside them. They then crack the pot open at your table with a little hammer, and a nice steamy stew awaits you inside. A kebab is small pieces of meat, tomato and onion cooked together. They can come on skewer’s, in clay pots, as a doner and I’m sure in many other ways, that I have yet to find out. Our meal was excellent and if I could get someone to provided me with clay pots
that I could crack open with a hammer, I’d try it at home. See the video above.
All talk that evening was about our hot air balloon ride the following day. We had blown every bit of our budget to do it, but was it going to be worth it? It was something we had never done before. Anyone I had talked to said if there was anywhere in the world to do it, this was the place.
In a bit. DH
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