The sinusitis monster attacked me shortly after a 6am flight from Istanbul to Kaiseri yesterday (and a spectacular fall off a travellator at Sabiha Gokcen airport), so I am not particularly talkative in blog terms at the moment.
This post is going to be more about the pictures. But in a nutshell:
I am staying in a cave hotel in a small town called Göreme, which is close to most of the main attractions in Cappadocia. The region was covered in volcanic ash about 30 million years ago, and the ash solidified into tuff. When the Christians were persecuted by the Romans, Arabs and other Christians, they started digging into the tuff and built secret churches, dwellings and underground cities that provided shelter for up to 20000 people at a time (okay fine, 2012 Berlitz Turkey pocket guide, I’ll credit you for this bit of information). The surrounding Göreme National Park and the rock sites of Cappadocia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
So far, I have visited the Ihlara Valley, the Castle Monastery Church and the underground city of Derinkuyu. It’s hair raising to think people lived in the seclusion of the extremely deep, dark, narrow passages and low ceilings of Derinkuyu.
I would have visited Uchisar Castle, the Goreme Open Air Museum, Devrent Valley, Urgup and Avanos today, but had to pull out of the tour as the bus aircon would have just worsened my current dilemma with snot.
One thing that I refused to miss though, was a hot air balloon trip in the wee hours of this morning. Had to be ready to be picked up by the operator at 4am, who eventually picked me up at 4:30am (the Turks really don’t seem to be most punctual people on this earth). They served us breakfast at 5am, and we set off into the skies soon afterwards.
It is the perfect way to see the historical, archaeological and geological heritage of Cappadocia, and I can now understand why some tourists hit and run this area, only doing the hot air balloon rides before they move on to other areas. I would probably rate this as one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced in my life – expensive, but worth every penny and one of those things you should do before you die.
Not that I’m going to die of sinusitis.
The next blog inscription will be posted from New Delhi. (It all depends if there will be electricity by the time I get there.)
Goodbye Turkey. It was awesome.