Location: Goreme, Turkey
It’s a little funny how all the travel agents in Cappadocia have the same itinerary. (I didn’t do a scientific test but 5 out of 5 tour companies I’ve seen have the same route.)
Today was our turn to go on the “Green Tour” route which would take us to Göreme panorama, Derinkuyu underground city, Ihlara valley, Yaprakhisar, Selime monastery, Pigeon valley viewpoint.
The only thing I was expecting from this tour was the 3.5km walk in the valley. Remember, walking and I are not the best buddies so I wasn’t looking forward it to that much.
A bus full of Asians
Our minivan arrived at our hotel slightly past 9:30am. Mom and I got on the wrong bus before this so we were careful to check that this was the right bus.
The bus picked up several people from their hotels and from the travel company HQ. Interestingly, the bus was full of people with east Asian heritage (so PC!).
There were two men (who we later found out to be from Singapore), us Malaysian Chinese and 7 Korean people.
Statistically speaking, the chance of having a bus full of Asians here in Cappadocia is not that high so I wonder if someone pulled some strings, thinking we would be more comfortable with each other, or something.
So as the itinerary said, our first stop was the Göreme panorama. Panorama stops are a big thing here in Cappadocia because the landscape is pretty amazing.
These pointy mountains are the result of residues from volcanic eruptions. The walls of the mountains are soft, allowing the residents to cut through the stones to make cave houses for themselves.
While waiting for the bus, we spotted a pomegranate tree with baby fruits. It’s a shame that it’s not pomegranate season now because I could use some of those juicy seedy fruit.
Derinkuyu underground city
After a long journey during which I napped, we arrived at Derinkuyu underground city. We could only visit up to the 8th underground floor of this now-abandoned city but it was fun hiding inside the cool caves.
Some of the more interesting points of the tour was the visit to the graveyard/morgue which did not have any dead things in currently.
It wasn’t very fun crouching and climbing the stairs to get to one floor or another so those with back problems should be aware of this before signing up for the tour.
After the underground city, it was a 50-minute bus ride to the Ihlara Valley where we had to walk a lot before we could lunch.
Even though the valley was pretty, the exercise I got getting down the stairs into the valley made me a little grouchy.
At the end of the staircase was a little cave where cartoon Christian frescos remained. The paintings reminded me of this news when compared with Renaissance period Christian works.
Our 3.5 km walk didn’t seem too long since there was a little river with clear water and the trees shaded us from the sun.
In between the start and the end, there was a small rest area where enterprising locals made 3 lira orange juices and boys chased ducks.
Mom and I survived the 3.5 km walk. Everyone was treated to lunch by the river. Drinks of course require extra payment.
Following our itinerary, we arrived at the Yaprakhisar caves which included the Selime Monastery. There is more than enough climbing for a lifetime at this place.
One of the cave chapels still have signs of frescos but everything was covered in what looked like black soot.
Far from this location was the set for the filming of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. From where we stood, we saw pointy mountains with holes as windows and doors, but not anything more.
Well well well, one of our last stops turned out to be a souvenir shop that sold onyx and other jewellery.
I managed to win a low-grade onyx paperweight by remembering that Cappadocia meant “beautiful horses”. (My answer was actually, “Many horses? Beautiful horses? Strong horses?” I need to cover every possible answer.)
Right next to the shop was our last stop: the Pigeon Valley Panorama.
There were a few pigeons around but I was more curious about the stall selling “Turkish Cappadocia Naturel Viagra”. I never found out what the place sold.
That night, we still had to take the bus from Goreme to Pamukkale. The bus ride was about 11 hours and I was stuck in front of a lady who seemed to be leaning forward alot, bumping into my seat from time to time.
I couldn’t recline so I ended up with a stiff neck when I woke up.
More on the blog:
Last week, I was in Greece and I visited Delos, the birthplace of Apollo.