Ankara to Cappadocia, Turkey
We left in good old Freddy Fiat after a couple of nights in Ankara in search of the mythical creature known as the good Turkish driver. Unfortunately we didn’t find that guy but stumbled across heaps of other fun stuff along the way.
Notably was a huge salt lake that appeared alongside the highway. As we approached this enormous stark white expanse we noticed a lot of dark figures on the flat and thought they might have been old jetty stumps or something similar until it started to move around. Realising it was people we decided that it was only fair to investigate and it was a total shock how unreal it was. So we poked around, shoes off in the salty goodness while watching the local women collect the salt in whatever receptacle they had available so they could probably sell it to silly tourists like us. Another successful in between destinations destination and a very fitting start to an eye opening time in Cappadocia.
Cappadocia is in the interior of Turkey and as such it’s hot as hell, but as usual nowhere near as hot as travel guides/interweb tend to make out. If you believe what it says in the lonely planet or trip advisor style guides you’d be fooled into thinking you were about to embark on a journey to the surface of the sun but in reality it’s cooler than an Australian summer and there’s always cold beer in a fridge somewhere within a 15m radius.
We arrived in Goreme (the only place to stay in Cappadocia as far as I’m concerned as it’s right in the thick of things) to another round of eye popping scenery at every turn in the road. It looks completely alien, certainly unlike any terrain I’ve come across before or since. It’s the home of the fairy chimneys and cave hotels. We stayed at a place called Vezir Cave Suites and it was without a doubt the fanciest cave I’ve ever seen, jacuzzi and all. The guys there who ran the hotel were also brilliant. One had an amazing Australian accent, not in the cheap “G’day mate, come and see my shop Aussie Aussie” way that the dodgy salesmen pull out but a proper, normal speech Aussie accent. When I enquired if he’d been to Australia he told me that he’d never been outside of Turkey but when they learnt English as school they had to option of choosing American, British and Australian English and he obviously chose to learn Australian English. Pretty silly really considering we abbreviate everything and have long failed to speak our own language with any respect.
We spent the next few days exploring the area, from walking through the houses and churches mined into the side of the Ilhara Valley and through the valleys surrounding Goreme, hot air ballooning over the fairy chimneys, wandering through underground cities that were built centuries ago so villagers could hide during wars and drinking a few beers while watching the sun set over the whole lot. I even managed to get shat on by a tortoise I foolishly picked up. It was something new everywhere we went and one of the most unforgettable places in the world.
We’ll be dining on those memories for a very long time. Enjoy the photos.