Calcium pools, luxury in Antalya, cave hotel
Trip Start Mar 05, 2002
40Trip End Jan 2003
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Where I stayed
From there, we headed to Antalya. Our first night there we stayed in a hostel that had flying cockroaches and we slept with the light on to discourage them from invading our room. The toilet was a HIT-G (our newest term for hole-in-the-ground.) Not the most pleasant place. But it was only for one night, and we knew we had a bit of luxury to look forward to. Thanks to all the travelling I did at my last two jobs, I had a lot of Starwood hotel points saved up, so we got to enjoy a weekend at the Sheraton Voyager Antalya. That was a welcome break from budget travelling. We barely left the hotel for the entire weekend. We just lazed around the amazing pool, watched lots of European MTV, and exclaimed a lot. "Look a real bathtub with a shower curtain!!" "Look, TWO rolls of toilet paper!" "A padded headboard!" "Free stationary!" Yes, I've stayed at five star hotels before, but after six months of cheap pensions and dorm rooms, the thrill was back.
Antalya is a really beautiful city, right on the Mediterannean. It is a pretty big city, but a lot more laid back than Istanbul. People don't bug you as much, and for the most part, nobody is trying to sell you anything, which is nice.
From Antalya, we returned to Olympos. We loved it so much the first time that we just had to go back. Unfortunately, I was sick the whole time so I never did get to see the naturally ocurring eternal flame or anything else. I just stayed in bed, pretty miserable.
After a couple days in Olympos, we returned to Antalya for a night en route to Capadoccia, which is where we are now. The town we are in is called Goreme. I've been wanting to go to Capadoccia for years, and this was number one on my list of places I wanted to see on our trip. I was a bit worried that I had built it up too much in my mind, but that isn't the case at all. I've never seen anything like this place. It has a very dramatic landscape due to the eruption of three volcanoes and the subsequent erosion of the tuft. Basically what is left are these enormous rocks sticking out of the ground, and people have carved homes and churches into the rocks. There are also several hundred small underground cities in the area, where people hid during wars.
We are staying in a cave room, and we took a tour around the area yesterday. We saw the "fairy chimneys," then we went to visit an underground city, where we had to risk life and limb climbing up these vertical tunnel things. It was like trying to shimmy out of the bottom of a well. Sorta like rock climbing without any ropes or safety proceedures. (They didn't even bother to warn us that we would be doing that.) I am slightly claustrophobic, and one of the climbs was about twenty feet up, and I made the mistake of looking down, which scared the hell out of me. I made it up, but when I got to the top I was shaking and half crying. I mean one slip of the foot and I would have broken both legs, at least.
Despite the scary incident, the tour was incredible, thanks to the natural beauty of this region. It truly looks like another planet. By far the most unique scenery I've ever seen in my life. Go to Capadoccia. I'm already planning to come back.