Lost and found in Göreme


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Middle East » Turkey » Central Anatolia » Cappadocia » Göreme
June 27th 2012
Published: June 28th 2012
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We slept late and ate a breakfast at the hotel before leaving for today's adventure. The plan for the day was to see the Rose valley, a gorge where the stone has a rose colour, and maybe also walk through some of the other gorges nearby. Our first mission was however to get some decent coffee, the watery nescafé served at our hostel for 2TL we had already the day before classified as undrinkable.

Near where the valleys started there was another village called Çavuşın. We decided to see if we would be able to get some coffee there, and started walking the 4 km to that village. When we arrived we first didn't find anything, Çavuşın wasn't that much a tourist village as Göreme is, but once we had walked around for a while among the houses, chickens and cows(!) we found the center of the village and there a pensionate that served us some Turkish coffee. In addition to the coffee we also got an excellent map of the foot paths through the gorges, a map without which our travels today would have been much shorter.

Strengthened by the coffee we started our walk towards the gorges. There were plenty of signs, so we had no problems finding the Rose valley. The gorge itself was indescribable, it was filled with forms of whipped cream, meringue and molten stearin, but in a much bigger scale. And the higher we got the more beautyful the sights got. When we found a church 20 m from the path we climbed up to it and already thought this was one of the most spectacular sights we had seen during the trip, but the sights just got better and better. The gorge also got narrower and steeper, and we had to climb at some point to get forward. We also started to doubt our path, there had been one sign for the Red valley earlier on pointing towards a wine yard, but we didn't take it as we were still heading for the Rose valley (even if we where in the middle of it).

Then the path ended. In our way was a vertical wall that would have been impossible to climb without equipment. We where however almost at the top, so when there was a steep slope where the rain had run down maybe 10 m back on our track we decided to try to climb that instead. This turned out to be an excellent idea, we got up from the gorge to a path running horisontally along the side of the slope, and could take a well deserved break watching the gorgeous views from above and eating some nuts we had purchased in Çavuşın. We tried to think of places in the world that we had visited that would have been this spectacular, but couldn't think of any, the gorges of Cappadocia are really something special!

From here on the trail was easy. The path windled along the side of the hill, but basically horisontally, so we quite quickly got to the far end of the hill. There was a few small tables selling nuts and dried fruits, and a lot of japanese tourists with their tourist bus. We were almost out of water, so we tried to buy some more, but they had none. After sitting in the shade for some time we asked another guy, and he then together with the first guy broke into a unmanned sales booth where they found some cola for us. Refreshed by the cola we were ready for new adventures, and decided to go over the hill instead of down along a gorge and back along the road. At least on the map we got today this looked like an easy option.

The climb up to the top of the hill was actually very easy, and up on the top the hill (or actually the plateau) was completely flat. There was also a nice wind blowing so it wasn't as hot as earlier during the day, and the views were really grand. It was also completely different on the two sides of the plateau, on one side all the tooths and fairy chimneys of Göreme, on the other a quite ordinary looking landscape. We made good progress, the only disturbance was swarming flying ants who decided we were excellent place to swarm above/on. The ants followed us for the rest of our time up on the plateau and I still found ants running around inside my hat once we got down to Çavuşın again.

When we got to the other end of the plateau we started to look for a way down. This was not as easy as we had thought, we didn't find the paths down that were drawn to our map. On most places the hill side went in a 45° slope which ended in a 50 m drop, so it was not an option to try our luck and just start to descend, also it was impossible to see where there was a path windling along the side of the hill. We were almost ready to walk back 4 km to the other end of the plateau when we finally found a path windling down between the vertical drops. We followed it down through the rose coloured rocks and were almost down when, again, the path faded into nothing and we were surrounded by steep drops in almost all directions.

After wondering for a while what to do now we started to walk back along the path, and found a place where we were able to descend, this was however into a wine yard, so we were a little bit worried of an angry wine farmer coming to chase us back into the hills. Luckily no wine farmer appeared, and the wine yard was at the end of a road, so we finally got back to Çavuşın. There we stocked up on water and begun our walk back to Göreme. We had planned to go to a restaurant once we got back to Göreme, but after 20 km of walking, much of it up or down and some even crawling up steep slopes, we really felt for showering first.

Fresh out of the shower we went out to get something to eat. We bumped into a french couple we had given some traveling tips to yesterday when we got out of the door, and eventually we went dining with them to the cafeteria we visited 2 days ago, and after that we got back to the hostel and had a beer at the terrace together with them discussing this and that. A very nice ending to an superb day!

And here is the requested (but short) translation to Finnish for Jenni and Marjaana: Käytiin katsomassa rotkoja, oli kaunista!

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30th June 2012

Kauheita rotkoja...

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