Fred Flintstone, I think I found Bedrock!
When I found out that I needed to go to Turkey for work, I quickly googled stuff to do. And one thing that kept coming up – Cappadocia, (locally known as Kapadokya) land of Fairy chimneys! At first I was very concerned that I wouldn’t be able to afford this, also considering that Sam would join me. But hey, I am all about chances! So I checked out Tripadvisor for recommendations on good companies. Goreme.com was fantastic (Goreme is the area where Kapadokya and all the great hotels are located!) and I was so surprised at how affordable it was!
Remember, this was winter time, so everything was much cheaper! Goreme sorted everything out for me, from our flight to the Neveshir airport, to pick up and hotel bookings, to going on tour, and also getting a Hot Air balloon ride!
First, our hotel, the amazing Kelebek Cave Hotel – yes, an actual cave. Many hotels in Goreme are actually built into caves and fairy chimnies (since there are so many of them!). And maybe many are all this nice, but Kelebek was really special! We had a junior suite, and the food spread of the hotel for breakfast, OH MY LORD! See the food video below.
This blessed space was created in the 8th Century. I think when God thought of Cappadocia, he really think of homes for his people. The original city was built for Hittites. There are at least 8 levels downwards but while the rest are still being checked, so tourists are only allowed up to 4 levels down. Imagine, an entire population lived here , hidden from enemies who wanted to kill them, just underground. They lived, cooked, ate, slept, had their livestock, made wine, had school and church, all under the ground! And nature provided for them – with vents in the cave systems, and water in areas, sunlight streaming in – they were absolutely fine. One cannot fathom how they lived, but this journey honestly felt just so ethereal! Families even had ‘two story’ apartments in there! Sam and I were especially excited about the wine making chambers! See the photos below (but know that they don’t do justice!)
Wine Touring at 11am!
Yes. Who does that. Apparently tourists in Turkey! We were taken to a local winery (Cappadocia has some of the best wine in Turkey apparently!) After 4 shots of wine (red, white, rose, and a special red) we did end up buying some!
So, all these amazing formations above the ground all these amazing rocks that, until recently, were homes for people. We were really lucky to see all the amazing structures, many that were monasteries and churches, and this was some sort of a ‘religious learning centre’. These churches, with their frescos (all painted from natural sources we assume) and the most beautiful paintings of Jesus Christ, the ascension, and other scenes, are really where Christianity started. In fact they even have a painting of Jesus as a teenager. No pictures allowed in these spaces, to allow for the sanctity of the frescos (but also to protect them) – but beautiful anyway!
And more rock formations (I don’t think I could ever get tired of them!) Monk’s valley, where monks lived, learned, ate. And so many other fairy chimneys where people lived. We even climbed into some!
And finally, UP, UP AND AWAY! The hot air balloon symphony!
SO, hot air ballooning. Done this in Kenya – you are probably thinking , why would anyone do it again! Well, the view in Cappadocia at sunrise is something else (and also it was half the price compared to Maasai Mara!)! We woke up early, and since it was winter, the sun was coming up around 8am. We were booked with Comfort Balloons , lovely people! The pilot was the funniest guy ever! On a regular morning, there are 150 balloons that go up into the air in Cappadocia! Crazy right! The team also recorded our entire journey and gave us the video – very exciting!!!
Later that day we left to return to Istanbul -I absolutely LOVED Cappadocia and would definitely be back!