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Published: November 2nd 2015
Turkey is the 37th country I've visited.
I wouldn't say I'm well traveled but I've traveled enough to see similarities between countries.
I had reached a point where "the wow factor" doesn't happen much now. Yes, huge buildings/historical sites/natural phenomena are amazing but once you've seen one scenic landscape you've seen them all right?
I hadn't really experienced that feeling of being in awe of the sight of something in recent trips.
Cappadocia is known for its picturesque landscapes but not one picture I have seen can do justice to what your eyes actually see.
After two flights we arrived in time for dinner & bed. We were staying in a cave hotel, one of many in the area.
Our windows looked out to darkness at night, no curtains or blinds. I'm a bit of an insomniac so was naturally concerned the sun would wake me up at the earliest possible moment.
I woke up, in what felt like the middle of the night, but the light glaring in from the windows ensured me it was most definitely the morning, but the early morning wake up was welcomed.
I went to the window to see if Cappadocia's views were as impressive as the pictures I'd seen, as I peered out I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
Cappadocia is also known for hot air balloons. I knew this before I came, but seeing the entire sky filled with them, appearing to float but not move at all, was amazing.
I shouted to Nikki to wake up.
As usual she grumbled "what!?"
She's not a morning person.
"Come here & look at this!" I said.
She came over & instantly was just as in awe as me, no matter how much of a non-morning person one is, you can't help but be overwhelmed.
We quickly got ready to go to the breakfast terrace to see the balloons again.
By the time we got there the balloons were even closer & the sun was up higher in the sky, illuminating the balloons even more.
As we sat eating, looking out at the most magical landscape I'd ever seen, I looked around the terrace, it has been modelled on an actual ancient Roman terrace with real artefacts, some thousands of years old.
Classical music was playing, the sun was shining, the food amazing, then all of a sudden a hot air balloon appeared from below the terrace & flew over our heads, literally just feet away.
The people in the hot air balloon even shouted to save them some breakfast.
Most trips in Cappadocia involve caves.
Our first stop was the Goréme open air museum, which consists of a number of former cave homes & cave churches, with the earliest known inhabitants dating back 3500 years.
If I'm honest, I was a little disappointed with the trips.
Not only as the caves are all very similar but we had the worst guide I have ever had, of any trip, EVER!
He would literally walk into a room within a cave & state it's purpose, then move onto the next room, that's it.
Although I enjoy researching my trips & learning about places before I get there, part of the fun of the trips, for me, is to learn more.
Most of the time we just walked past parts of caves that looked interesting without the guide saying a word until we reached a point where
he'd point into the distance & say "Go explore" followed by "I'll wait over there"
As he pointed to a place to have a snack & a coffee.
He was more concerned about himself than us.
Probably the busiest cave complex we visited is the underground cave city, four floors of rooms underground.
Lost for years until apparently a farmer lost a chicken so went to look for him & stumbled upon an entrance to the cave city.
I found myself trying to listen to what the other guides were saying inside as mine was saying nothing at all. If it's possible to 'steal' a trip I think I did in part from each of the different guides I listened to inside hahaha.
But anyway, moving on to something a bit more positive & also a little funny.
Where ever I travel to I like to immerse myself in the culture. Eat like the locals, live like the locals, anything I can find to experience which is typically from the place I'm visiting, I'll do it.
Basically a full body exfoliation, in a sauna, followed by a deep tissue massage but instead
of using oil they lather up an enormous amount of soap & massage you with the soap.
I usually try to think ahead about things & I have a pair of underwear that I wear for when I get massages as they are thin & flexible so are easy to adjust if needed & they won't restrict my massage.
However, I forgot this was not a normal massage, as I laid in the sauna, before the massage began, the lady that massaged me began pouring water over my body as no oils are used.
Water poured over thin underwear = a shrink wrap effect around my man bits.
I was basically laying there naked!
Once I had gotten over the embarrassment of having 'little Chris' on display for the duration of the massage I managed to relax enough to enjoy the massage. I have never felt my skin so soft in all of my life once that massage finished.
Another typically Turkish experience was a cut throat shave & face massage and what better view than a sky full of hot air balloons.
Feeling probably the freshest I've ever felt in my life
after several fantastic nights sleep in a cave, amazing massages, full body exfoliation & a cut throat shave we embarked on our last excursion, which was an early morning horse ride around lesser visited caves in Cappadocia.
It's been several years since I last went horse riding, 2007 in Arizona to be exact.
As usual I got a horse that loves to just stop & eat. But I used this to my advantage.
I'd let him eat for a while so the others could walk off into the distance. Then I had the chance to have some freedom on the horse.
Just as the distance was far enough I'd pull my horse up & off we went on a little run to catch up to everyone else.
Not exactly an extreme sport but enough to ignite my fire for horse riding again & enough to take in Cappadocia in a way most will never see.
Despite its beauty Cappadocia is still a relatively well kept secret. Tourists travel to go in the hot air balloons but at all of the tourist attractions and around the streets there are very few people.
nights we ate in restaurants and were literally the only people in there.
Very few people still live in the caves, most were relocated to government owned accommodation so the caves could be preserved for future tourists to visit.
Sad that they had to move but also a good thing as this part of history is now being preserved for the future.
I'd highly suggest going to Cappadocia before the secret is out & it becomes busy!
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