Istanbul to Cappadocia

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April 12th 2008
Published: May 7th 2008
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The town of UrgupThe town of UrgupThe town of Urgup

You can see some of the man-carved caves. The town used to be only a cave town before modern buildings were constructed.

Istanbul to Kayseri
We flew on OnurAir from Istanbul to Kayseri, a city in Central Anatolia. Two women from Brazil, who also stayed at the hotel in Istanbul, were on the flight and same tour that we had booked for two days in Cappadocia. It was an hour and a half flight from Istanbul to Kaiseri. Thankfully we were served a drink, we selected orange juice, and a good piece of cake. Neither of us were really hungry, but that insured that we would not feel too hungry before getting to the hotel. We knew we had reservations, but we did not know in which city or town or how far it was from the airport. All we knew was that we were to be picked up and driven to the hotel.

Kayseri to Ürgüp

We gave a sigh of relief when we exited the airport and there stood a man, Ibraham, holding a sheet of paper with our names printed in large black letters. Ibraham was to drive us to our hotel in Cappadocia, a drive of about an hour. Because it was dark we saw nothing of interest. I was favorably impressed
Urgup from the hotel terraceUrgup from the hotel terraceUrgup from the hotel terrace

The hills are called the Hill of Wishes.
with the highway and noticed the lack of traffic. We did not know until the next day that we were in the town of Ürgüp, a small town and one of the tourist centers for Cappadocia and 65 km from the Kayseri airport where we had landed. The reason we were so 'clueless' was that the tour had promised for us to be in a 4 star, 5 star or Cave Hotel. Until we go to the hotel we didn't know which would have enough space for the size of group we were in. We were 4, as I said, and we ended up in the 5 star hotel.

It was an interesting experience. We met a stranger, climbed into his van and he drove off through a desert countryside. We didn't really know where we were, did not know where we were going and only knew we had arrived when he pulled into the hotel parking lot. I realized we must be getting close to the hotel when our driver turned off the four lane highway and drove through the town of Ürgüp. It didn't take a rocket scientist to know this town lives on tourism. Hotels and
Perissia Hotel lobbyPerissia Hotel lobbyPerissia Hotel lobby

Nancy and Isabella.
restaurants lined the streets. There did not seem to be many people walking about and that was a bit of a surprise to me. And, of course, there were the ever present mosques. Ürgüp is known for its hotels built within caves, for its wines and for its handmade carpets.

The Hotel Perissa

Our hotel, the Perissia, was a new one, not one built into a cave. It was new and clean and quite beautiful with as much character as any new building has, that is very little. It would have been interesting to stay in one of the cave hotels but we found out later that the guests in those hotels seemed to be mostly young people on inexpensive holidays. You take what you get when someone else makes the reservations and we were pleased with the hotel where we stayed. Who could have been unhappy with a great room, fabulous meals and total comfort.

When we arrived at the hotel we checked in and were shown to our room, ate our evening meal, a buffet with a good selection of food. Nancy, who loves fish, took a fish dish for her first try at the buffet but then quickly said, "Don't get the fish. It is the boniest fish I have ever seen. I think I might even have a bone stuck in my throat." NANCY- They were teeny tiny bones and totally filled the meat. It was a pity since the fish was delicious. I, Bill, tend to shy away from fish for just that reason. We were not sure, but we believed we were the only native English speakers in the room. There were many Germans and two muslim families from Africa. For better or worse, the hotel is like modern hotels all over the world with relatively small, clean rooms. This is good in that the rooms are clean and the beds are comfortable. However, they have none of the old world character such as the one in Istanbul where we looked out onto a centuries old wall into a centuries old courtyard from a centuries old window and in a room with lots of character. We find character with a clean room and comfortable bed lots of fun. It had been a long day and so we were glad to get to bed and to sleep.

The hotel is
Shoe shine standShoe shine standShoe shine stand

The wall behind is a depiction of a cave town.
built in a different way than any we have stayed in before. The reception, bar, dining area and massage room, gym, etc. are in the front building and other buildings are behind it with the sleeping rooms. Another one of these buildings is under construction between two of the present structures. While we were there it was only a big hole in the ground and men were laying the re-bars for the basement floor. There were no power tools. Using pliers they wired the re-bars together and once they are finished concrete will be poured. The concrete will come in trucks, the same as we see all over the world, mixing the concrete as it is driven to the construction site.

Additional photos below
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New building under constructionNew building under construction
New building under construction

The construction method reminded me of Brazil in 1970. Everything done by hand, no power tools.

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