The Undergraund City (as spelled on sign)

Trip Start May 04, 2011
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Trip End Oct 08, 2012


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Where I stayed
Flintstones Cave Hotel and Pension Goreme
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Sunday, July 3, 2011

There are a few big attractions in Cappadocia, the most popular is taking a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Additionally everyone is trying to sell three pre-set tours to the different valleys. Since I couldn't justify spending the 150 euros, as much as I couldn’t think of a better place to take a hot air balloon ride, I opted for the "Red Tour" that involves a full day tour to various stops including the main attraction: the Derinkuyu Underground City and a walk through Ihlara valley. Our group was a nice mix including Chantelle, Molly and Dominque from Melbourne, some Argentinian girls and a few guys who work for the US state dept. Actually a funny story, Jamal one of the ex Marines was being bombarded by all the Turkish people asking to take a photo with him. Another American woman was wondering if maybe it was because he was a famous basketball player so she asked him, “why is everyone eager to take a photo with you?” As it turns out, it was because he is black, no other reason than that. Come to think of it, he was probably one of three black people I saw my entire three weeks in Turkey. It was fun having these really large guys with us as we were forced to hunch over and avoid getting stuck in order to make our way through the 4 feet tall and narrow tunnels of the underground city. They did it though. The entire landscape of this region reminds me of our national parks, particularly Bryce and the Grand Canyon.

That night I went back up to the panoramic vista to watch the sunset and ending up bumping into a bunch of backpackers enjoying a picnic. Among them was Jason from my blue cruise, as well as a Canadian couple I had met on the bus to Fethiye; Saunder and Sara.

Jason and I made plan to meet up the next day and explore a few hikes. It became quite a day of adventure to nowhere. I suggested we check out the infamous fairy chimney shaped rocks of Pasabag, which would have been an easy scooter ride had we not listened to Faruk scaring us about the safety. As it turned out, it was a simple dirt road with no traffic. Instead we walked and hitched our way in baby steps, first stopping in Cavusin and then eventually getting door to door service to the tourist attraction. We spent about a half hour, if that, along with five buses of Korean tourists covered up from head to toe and carrying umbrellas. The color was actually a nice contrast to the stone.

Now we had to figure out a way back, we were all for walking but not on a regular road. After heading a half mile in the right direction and just discussing how funny it would be to hitch a ride on the back of a tractor, along came an old beat up red truck. The farmer was so sweet, he was willing to drop us in Cavusin which is where he was headed but after boarding he smiled and made a gesture like he would take us the whole way to Goreme. Once again a taste of the innate hospitality of the Turks. We even offered to give him money for petrol and he refused.

It wasn’t until we landed back in Goreme that we learned that we were super close to Ugrup, another fantastic town and love valley which is famous for its penis shaped rocks. Not willing to back track but still jonesing for a good hike, we stayed close by and ventured up Zemeli Valley. According to one guy we asked there are supposedly similar penis shape rocks found here and based on what the sign read, is a 5,000 meter trail. Well after walking a good 1.5 miles along a semi muddy creek without a clear sign of a trail, we turned back around and warned the others attempting the same.

The heat takes a toll on me regardless, so it was fine by me that we parked ourselves at a terrace café and just chilled out for the remainder of the afternoon. I was leaving on another night bus to Istanbul tonight anyway so I used the time to catch up on emails and decompress.

It was a good call that I decided to take a sleeping pill to get me through the eight hour journey, I actually felt rested by the time we arrived. However, I wasn’t prepared for the shoving and pushing by the locals once the shuttle bus arrived to take us into the city center. OMG, thank God I had jumped on initially and held a seat or I would’ve had to wait for the next one. I started seeing a new side of the locals these last two days when it comes to waiting in lines and this was no exception to the typical behavior.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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