Endless Hike: Cappadocia Part I

Endless Hike: Cappadocia Part I

I woke up for the nth time to shift to another position. My bum usually gets sore if I sit in one position for way too long. I was on a ten hour bus ride from Pamukkale to Cappadocia. My watch tells me its 5am. The morning light was slowly starting to creep in to the night sky. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I put my earphones on, played Coldplay on repeat and observed the world from the bus window as we drive through the empty streets of central Turkey. I was drifting in and out of consciousness when weird rock formations started to dominate my view. I felt like I was transported in a different planet. And then I saw the balloons, hundreds of them slowly filling the horizon. It was the most magical thing Ive ever seen. I wanted to get my camera out of the bag and start to snap, but then our bus suddenly stopped which tells us that we have arrived. There were just 2 of us who will get off at Goreme, Cappadocia. The bus was going to Sivas, so we have to hurry up, get our luggage and get off the bus. My seat mate who was a girl from China just woke up and I have to repeat myself 3 times that we need to get off because the other passengers are waiting for us.

Why I went to Turkey

I managed to snap one photo on my phone and I really wanted to take more with my actual camera but I was in the middle of the road with my luggage in a probably 5 degrees weather. It was too cold in Cappadocia and Im only wearing a denim jacket. I needed to find my hotel first. There was an open travel agency at 6am right where the bus dropped us off. I went inside and asked someone to call my hotel to come pick me up. I paid them 3 lira for the call and after a few minutes the hotel car was right in front of me. I honestly splurged a little on this leg of the trip because Cappadocia was the main reason why I was in Turkey.

Why I went to Turkey

I stayed at one of the top hotels in town which is Kelebek Hotel and I got a junior suite room all to myself. This is so unlike me but it was my birthday trip, so I allowed myself a little luxury. My room was huge, it has a fireplace and a sitting area. I love that its a cave room which is common in Cappadocia, but it still provides the luxurious amenities of a regular hotel room. I honestly cannot say enough good things about them and to be honest they are not that expensive. I got the room for 60 euros per night with free breakfast, which is actually cheap considering that its a junior suite. It was still too early to check in when we got to the hotel and my room wasn’t ready yet so I was invited to their breakfast buffet instead. My tour group was supposed to pick me up at 9:30am and since I still had a bit of time, I took a hot shower in their common toilet/bathroom which was all too nice and spacious. The front desk told me that I can just leave them my luggage and they will put it in my room later, once its ready. In the meantime, I can go enjoy my tour for the day.

Travel Tip: Both hotels and tours give discount if you pay by cash instead of credit card, so make sure you bring enough cash.

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Cappadocia is vast and there are no public transportation to and from the popular sights, unless you hire a taxi for the whole day which will be too costly. So the most sensible way to get to these places is to book a tour. I did the green tour on my first day but I wish I did it on my second day instead. The green tour was just too tiring for someone who just got off from a 10 hour overnight bus ride. Our first stop was Selime Monastery, and man, I wasn’t expecting that we have to climb it. It was a very short yet very steep climb. I was literally out of breath and I was coughing non stop, my throat felt like it was closing off. But no one minded me and I preferred it that way because I don’t want to get any attention to myself. It was a small group tour, there were just about 9 of us and all of them were really fast walkers, I have to remind myself that I need to keep up because no one will look out for me here, and no one will wait and go with my pace. We then went to Derinkuyu Underground City which was too cold, remember to bring a thick jacket if this is one of your destinations. And then we did a 3.5km hike in Ihlara Valley which was honestly an easy hike but my group mates were so fast, I could hardly take any pictures because I might lose the group if I linger too long. We also visited Goreme panorama and Pigeon Valley, thankfully both places were reachable by car.

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Why I went to Turkey

Selime Monastery is one of the biggest in Cappadocia. There used to be about 300 monasteries in this town. It also served as a shelter for the travelers and traders of the Silk Road. Fronting the monastery is an Anatolian tomb, the Selime Sultan Turbesi which is conical with an octagonal base.

Why I Went to Turkey

Derinkuyu Underground City can go down as deep as 200 feet and can house up to 20,000 people and their animals. During the Byzantine period, these underground cities used to be a hiding place and protection from the enemies. If you’re claustrophobic, have asthma or high blood pressure, they don’t encourage you to go inside. Some of the passage ways were really narrow and short.

Why I Went to Turkey

Why I Went to Turkey

Why I Went To Turkey

Why I Went to Turkey

Why I Went to Turkey

Why I Went to Turkey

The river in Ihlara valley runs from Selime to Ihlara village. It’s 16km long but we only hiked the 3.5km route, obviously. We stopped at one resting area and I saw these beautiful ladies who graciously allowed me to take photos and videos while they make flat breads.

Why I Went To Turkey

Why I Went To Turkey

Why I Went To Turkey

It was called the Pigeon Valley because these caves used to house pigeons. Pigeons are important in Cappadocia because people use their dung as fertilizers. So they leave food in these caves so that the pigeons would stay. But since the advent of chemical fertilizers, pigeons were no longer needed. There are still a lot of pigeons when we were there, but its mostly just for touristic purposes. Those blue charms hanging on a tree on the photo above are called evil eye. It’s very popular in Turkey. It is believed to protect you from any misfortunes.

We were done at about 4:30pm which was way too early, even our guide said that we were too fast. When I got back to my hotel, my room was ready and my luggage was already there too. It was so tempting to just retire for the day and get my much needed sleep in my soft comfy bed. I was dead tired but sleeping is a waste of time when Im traveling, so I asked the hotel front desk where can I watch the sunset. They showed me a map and directed me to sunset point, they said its about 20-30 minutes hike. It was a short uphill hike but I was still so out of breath when I got there. But the good thing is, I was doing it by myself and I was going on my own pace, so all is well. It was the highest point in Goreme, so there were actually a lot of people there, waiting for sunset. I walked a little bit further until I got an unobstructed view of the Red and Rose valley, which for me is the most captivating out of all the valleys in Cappadocia. I got there just in time for the golden hour and it was breathtaking. You can see the town on one side and the valleys on the other side.

Why I Went To Turkey

Why I Went To Turkey

Why I Went To Turkey

After my sunset hike, I had a dinner at Pumpkin Restaurant. They’re very popular and you need a reservation to get in. It was actually just a small family owned restaurant but what makes it unique is that they don’t have a menu. They’ll discuss with you what they have for soup, salad, dessert and they’ll give you 5 options for the main course. 1 set of meal costs 70 lira which is expensive in my opinion, but the servings are actually huge. I was not able to finish my main course and dessert because I was too full. I didn’t have any reservation when I went there but they said they can still accommodate me if Im willing to sit outside, kinda like alfresco dining. So I did and ate as fast as I could because it was too cold outside. Lol! But the owner as well as the staff were too kind, they kept checking on me, if I was okay and that they were sorry that I have to sit outside. There were actually 2 of us who braved and sat in the cold outside. Their customer service was just exceptional and Im saying this even if I sat outside.

Why I Went To Turkey

I had a really wonderful albeit tiring day, I didn’t know that there’s a bad news looming around the corner. I was knocked out, sleeping soundly when the room telephone rang at freakin’ 3am. I was told that they wont be able to pick me up at 5am for an air balloon flight because of the strong winds. So much for looking forward to that balloon flight. But the story doesn’t end there, I don’t give up easily. After all, the balloon flight was the main reason why I was in Turkey. Read my next story to find out what I did.

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Why I Went To Turkey

 

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    Cancelled Flight: Cappadocia Part II | Im A Lost Dreamer
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