Yet another early start, this time up at 4:30am to catch the morning flight to the Cappadocia region. On arrival it was raining and my shuttle service was yet again poor. The driver just left me in the mini-bus for 15min with no explanation then had to stop for fuel, then stopped again for cigarettes and smoked whilst I was his passenger. Not happy! He then was speeding whilst talking on his mobile phone to try to make up the time. I missed the start of the tour so he had to continue to drive me on to catch the group but I had already missed the first stop for the day! Needless to say I was not happy and expressed my thoughts to the tour organiser.
The rest if the day improved from there. The rain cleared though the overcast, cold conditions remained. Cappadocia's landscape looks like the set of many a Hollywood Sci Fi movie. It is just incredible. The original inhabitants were Christians fleeing from the Roman forces. The Troglodytes dug into the soft rock to create a human-created cae-homes, places of worship, stables and stores. There are tunnel complexes linking cave homes effectively creating an underground city. This was an important region as it linked the silk road from Asia to Europe, making it a desirable asset for an budding empire.
Today we visited Monk's Valley to see the fairy chimneys, Goreme open air museum and their incredible rock-cut churches., the natural castles at Uchisar and finally Love Valley for more fairy chimneys, though these 'chimneys' looked deciding like another something else ;} The rain did return for the final stop at Love Valley so this was unfortunately but necessarily cut short.
The standout was the so called Dark church in Goreme with its wall to wall and ceiling frescoes dating back to the Byzantine era. This truly is a special place, equal to places such as Meteora and the Valley of the Kings.
After the tour I was dropped off at my accommodation for the night, a cave hotel cut directly into the side of a hill. My room is brilliant.In fact, straight after this blog I will hop into my spa. It feels like Fred Flintstone should appear at any moment yelling out WIIILLLLLLLMMAAAAAAAA!
Dinner tonight was a Testi Kebap cooked in a once use clay pot for up to 3 hours, the traditional cooking style of the region. Again another gastronomical treat followed up by yet another variety of baklava.
Tomorrow I'm hoping for one final early start, 4:30am again for a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia. The weather forecast is not favourable so I'm praying to my current god, No. 17 for the Bulldogs :}
Rock Ghost, Goreme Open air museum
Mushroom rocks, Monk's Valley
Fairy Chimneys, Love Valley, Hmmmmm.........
Cave hotel room