Having slowed things down appreciably from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul by stopping in the glorious Safranbolu, we eventually arrived in the region of Cappadocia, which seemed to have acquired near mystical status with us over the last few days from conversations with other tourists and locals alike.
We drove in from the north via Ankara, or more properly, via Ankaras massive ring road. We knew that wild camping was a no no in this area (national park…) so we aimed for one of two campsites in what seemed to be the hub of things round here, Goreme (a small village near Nevshehir). The camp site we found blew us away, after our slightly cramped experiences in Italy and Montenegro this place had it all: space, laundry, good showers, kitchen, a pool and, (most astonishingly of all) the best view I think I’ve ever seen form a campsite.So having found a little piece of camping nirvana the boys set to work making the most of it, by getting greasy and swearing at the Landrover for three hours.
The following day we decided to explore this wonderous locale and headed for the Goreme Open Air museum, literally just down the road. We were greete with a vista that can only be described as somewhere between a folk tale and that planet what Luke was born on in Star Wars. For the last three thousand years various peoples have been carving a their homes, workplaces and churches from the soft volcanic rock which nature has formed into some of the strangest formations imaginable. The open air museum is a great example of this, a small steep valley in which appear towers of rock tapered by the winds of millennia. These towers are known as Fairy Chimmneys and range in size from small ( a one window home) to large ( a fully fledged nunnery)…
The museum of Goreme was principally a monastic complex, created as a refuge during various times of difficulty for the Christian population of Asia Minor, before and after Byzantium. The murals within the various chapels are truly stunning although most of the pictures of important religious folk seem to have had their faces scratched off.
After the museum we explored the town and decided to make our way, with much sweating and difficulty, to the famous Pidgeon Valley. This winding, steep and lush valley leads to the next village up the road and proved to be a proper adventure. With silly hats firmly on our heads we spent a wonderful few hours playing Indiana jones, trying to scale the vertical sides of the valley to enter the small windows in the rock face, denoting a veritable city cut into the Rock.
Sadly it was all to no avail and we had to make fairly quick progress of the return journey to make our booking at the Top Deck Restaurant that evening. After a cracking meze we headed back to camp, only to awake the next morning to this…
After the quite serenity of early morning hot air balloons we hit the road and set about on a mission to find the magnificent and highly humorous rock formations of Love Valley. Our mission accomplished, we proceeded to giggle inanely for a good hour or so. Words can’t really describe this, so I shall leave it to a picture:
All in all, Cappadocia was one of the most marvellous places I think I’ve seen.