In my last travel post I shared with you my experience in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (aka KKTC) A few weeks later we took a flight to Keyseri, a small town in central Anatolian region (aka Asian side of Turkey), also a popular tourist destination because of its underground cities and hot air balloon rides. Today I thought I’ll share my Cappadocia experience with you 🙂
Disclaimer: Some of the images are taken from the Internet and all credits including clickable website links are given below all such images. Images without credits are taken by myself)
Cappadocia is a historical region that houses many cities such as Keyseri, Nevşehir, Aksaray, etc… in the Central Anatolia of the modern Turkey. Also famous for its volcanic peaks (including fairy chimneys), the region’s history pans up to late 6th century BC.
The entire region is covered in rocks and caves you almost feel like you’ve landed in a different world. We stayed in a small town in Ürgüp, and our hotel was also a cave hotel (which was a great new experience for all of us!)
We hired a car from the airport for our entire stay, and we think this was a brilliant idea since taxis and other public transportation was scarce in this region. We highly recommend you to do the same to save both money and time.
(Our boutique hotel- Cappadocia Abras Cave Hotel)
Our hotel was about 1.5 hours away from the Keyseri airport. The drive was lonely yet a peaceful one with zero traffic.
In Ürgüp we had breakfast from a small restaurant, and our food was probably made by its owner who was very friendly and welcoming. This is something I’ve noticed throughout my stays in Turkey. Turks are friendly people. They are among the kindest I’ve seen to tourists. Also, the breakfast in almost all towns, regions, homes taste the same, which is great. Food is something you don’t have to worry about when you’re in Turkey 🙂
Uçhisar Castle & Fairy Chimneys
We went to Uçhisar Castle and on our way we passed the infamous fairy chimneys beside the lonely road. Generally this region is filled with tourists but with the recent political conflicts and tourist-targeted attacks, many of the boutique hotels have closed down here and majority of the tourists were from Asia and Middle East (as opposed to the many Europeans and Americans I saw two years ago)
The view around us was just stunning to a point where it felt almost unreal. Surrounding us as we climbed the top of the rock were hundreds of volcanic rocks and caves. With the sunset falling upon us, the whole experience was incredible.
(The view from the top of Uçhisar Castle)
In the evening the whole area looked magical as everything was bathed in purple light from the setting sun. We were there in the end of May, and it was pretty chilly and windy by nightfall. My fiancé and I enjoyed a walk in the moonlight in our hotel area, but since it wasn’t filled with tourists as usual, the emptiness around us was a bit eerie and we returned to our hotel soon.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
We were so lucky that the weather was excellent the next morning for our hot air balloon ride. We picked up from our hotel around 4:30am and everyone gathered to a large, area clear of caves and fairy chimneys to start our balloon ride. We were given hot tea with biscuits while our balloons were lit and aired by the crew. It was a beautiful scene, seeing colourful balloons coming to life next to the gorgeous sun rise. Our balloon was the first to rise from about 60-70 balloons that day.
(Early morning pic and you can see our giant green colour balloon being prepared for the flight)
(Other balloons getting ready)
This is something we will never forget. The view, the ride and the entire experience was simply breathtaking. No pictures can do justice to this one hour we spent on air with around 10 other people in our balloon.
Goreme Open Air Museum
The Goreme Open Air Museum is a complex of rock-cut churches with beautiful frescoes inside and unfortunately photographs were prohibited inside the churches…
(That’s my dad being photographed the typical Asian way! Haha! But behind him is one of the many churches in Göreme Open Air Museum)
(Image source: www.turkeytravelcentre.com)
(Frescoes inside the church… Image source: www.turkeytourguide.com)
In a few churches there were some real skeletons preserved in glass tanks on the floors. Some of the frescoes were also very faded unlike in the above picture. We went in the end of May so the weather was hot and dry, yet the caves were very cooling inside. Apparently in the winter time the caves are warmer than outside.
Kaymakli Underground City
We also went to the underground city which is a crazy maze of subterranean corridors and caves (that look like holes in cheddar cheese) We felt a bit claustrophobic as we went down and because I have asthma, we didn’t go to deep in the tunnels. Some of the tunnels were extremely low that we had to literally crawl up and down to walk into the tiny rock chambers where you can stand straight again. (If you’ve read the novel “Host” by Stephanie Meyer, these tunnels kind of represent the cave Wanda was in) The air was fresh inside, yet cold with slightly wet feel to it.
Anyway, I felt so much better as we climbed out of the city. It was a weird, yet worthy experience to go underground in those ancient caves. I cannot believe thousands of people used to live there thousands of years ago!
Do check out the websites listed under the sourced images so you can read more about these places. We were too claustrophobic to take our own pictures inside 😀
If you visit Cappadocia, don’t forget to buy some Keyseri manti (Turkish ravioli) and their own spicy sausages call Sucuk…
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you travel to Turkey, Cappadocia is a must-visit region!
I’ll see you soon!