Getting a Turkish bath in Istanbul

Cagaloglu Bath

[Hi, before you continue, I have to warn you that this is is a rather TMI (too much information) post. It has the most concentration of the word “naked” out of all my posts. In case you are curious, I’ve used the world “naked” before.

You are welcomed to imagine whichever person you want to see naked while reading the post, if that makes you feel better. You have been warned.]

This is an elaboration of my second last day in Turkey.

Cagaloglu Bath
Cagaloglu Bath

One of the things you need to do in Turkey is to get a Turkish bath at a Turkish bath (hammam). For those aren’t sure what a Turkish bath is, it’s a bath where someone–hopefully Turkish for an authentic experience–scrubs you really hard with a loofah and let you lie for a short period of time on warm tiles.

Yes, you pay someone to scrub you in the nude.

The last time I let anyone bathe me was when I was a kid and didn’t have full control over my limbs.

I’m not usually a shy person when it comes to bathing matters. After spending a bit of time in Japan, I am comfortable with walking around naked in Japanese and Taiwanese onsens. But getting someone to rub my body with a loofah is probably a test of my limits.

Even though I have Turkish bath on my to-do list, my mom who was travelling with me in Turkey wasn’t keen at all. She’s the type who get squeamish in onsens so I understand that. In the end, I have to visit the baths on my own.

According to my research (reading loads of mixed reviews on Tripadvisor), there were a few baths around my hotel area. I eyed two and started looking for them.

I found Cagaloglu Bath’s side door after a long walk up and down Istanbul’s slopes.  Fortunately, it was also the ladies’ side door. Entering the entrance, I passed by a poster of Kate Moss posing on some tiles before the screen that divided the bath and the outer world.

1,000 Places to See Before You Die
1,000 Places to See Before You Die

A long poster hanging on the second floor told me that it was one of the “1000 Places To See Before You Die”. That probably means that I’ll be paying for a lot of ambience too.

The little court had a few marble tables and stools. There were a lot of ladies sitting around looking bored. They wore the uniform white polo t-shirt and some brown pants.

I asked the lady at the counter for the price. Looking at the chart, I did a quick calculation and realized that it was quite out of my budget. But I already had my feet in the compound and I feel compelled to sign up for a session even though it would mean less lunch for me. I chose the cheapest package that included a scrubbing session.

Counter Lady said I could pay later and shouted to one of the ladies. The woman who answered reminded me of Rebel Wilson.

I was shown to a room and told to change. The room had a sleazy look to it. A bed with a plastic-like dark green fabric was pushed against the wall. A small dresser with a feedback form was next to the bed.

The room had a glass window which was frosted on the bottom half to protect the modesty of whoever was inside. Not that we need any modesty since we would be buck naked in the sauna room anyway.

So I changed out of my clothes and wrapped a towel around myself. Since I was paying a night’s worth of a hostel stay, I wore my glasses so that I could admire the marble hammam. But as I closed the door, Rebel pointed to my glasses and mimed taking them off. So much for getting my eye worth of the hammam.

I was told to wear clogs and I shuffled like some Ch’ing dynasty lady with lotus feet. Rebel helped by grabbing my arm and steadying me.

I walked with blurred vision, passing an empty chamber before going into the hammam itself. Rebel brought me to the round stage-like marble place and slapped the surface. I interpreted that as asking me to lie down.

So I lied down on the warm marble and tried to relax. It was a bit difficult because the marble is hard. Being half blind without glasses didn’t help with my experience. Everything on the ceiling looked like a blurry bouquet of lights as the sun streamed through some of the circles on the roof.

Roof of a hammam
Roof of a hammam. It was prettier inside the bath.

After a while, I flipped myself over like a piece of steak to warm the front of my body (while covering my backside with my towel). My neck twisted uncomfortably as I rested my cheek on the marble. I didn’t know I have cheekbones until the marble pressed against them.

I tried counting how long I was told to grill myself. It didn’t seem very long before Rebel appeared. She was armed with a loofah mitten and a bucket.

She flipped me around so I was facing the ceiling again. With a bit of warm water sloshed on me, she began her car polishing moves. Every inch of my skin was scrubbed.

Halfway during the scrub, Rebel grabbed my hand so I could feel the bunch of dirt that she had scrapped off me. There seemed to be a crazy amount of dead skin on me. I thought back the times that I had showered and wondered why there weren’t as much dead skin.

Then I was flipped over like a burger patty. My back, backside and legs were scrubbed. When all was done, Rebel patted my shoulder and escorted me to the shower area.

The shower area is basically a corner of the hammam. The bath lady waits for the pail to fill with warm water before giving you a good shampoo.

When I was lying down on the tiles, it was OK for me to close my eyes and not look at what Rebel the Bath Lady was doing to my body. But now that we were standing up, I awkwardly looked at the top of her head.

As Rebel finished my shampoo, I saw her give my body a look and give a nod. I felt it was an approving nod, or wasn’t it. I wasn’t sure what to do so I awkwardly smiled at Rebel instead. Then I was wrapped in a towel and shooed back into the room.

Back in the brothel-like room (where no one gave me a “happy ending”), I counted my coins for Rebel’s tip. My notes were too large and luckily my coins were just enough for tip.


I shuffled out of the “1000 Places To See Before You Die”, feeling sparkling clean but strangely molested.

I later discovered that the ladies’ entrance I went into was a dwarf compared to the real entrance which was very beautiful. I felt cheated that I wasn’t asked to leave from the main entrance.

Read more about other people paying to get scrubbed by strangers:

#FoodFriday A fishy meal at Savoy Balik in Istanbul

savoy balik

Welcome to YQtravelling’s FoodFriday. The day of the week when I show off some of the lovely eats I had while travelling.

Today we’re going to heading to Turkey for some seafood.

My mom and I had a good meal at a trendy fish restaurant on her first night in Istanbul.

The place was called Savoy Balik (I think “balik” means fish in Turkish and it also means “to return” in Malay.) Getting there was an adventure (see below!) but it was worth it.

Savoy Balik
Savoy Balik

I ordered grilled fish and it came with half a lemon in a plastic stocking, beets, half a raw onion and raw vegetables. (Eek! I dislike raw veggies.)

Grilled fish

Mom’s fish stew was better and I ended up eating more of her share than mine. The stock that came with the fish tastes of tomatoes. Yummy.

Fish stew at Savoy Balik

Turkish desserts after meal

Although we were quite full after the bread and fish main dishes, I still wanted to try the desserts. I didn’t recognize almost everything on the menu so I picked two dishes which were on the cheaper side.

Semolina pudding

One of the dishes was a sweet pudding. I didn’t write down the name so I’m not sure what it is. It could possibly be semolina pudding with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

It’s a bit too sweet since we had to mix it with the vanilla ice cream to get it to become not tooth achingly sweet.

Apricot drizzled with sugar water

Another dessert was apricot sprinkled with something unknown. At least I know that it’s apricot?

Walking for our food

The restaurant wasn’t initially on our To-Eat list. How did we end up there?

Well, Foursquare convinced me that it was a short walk away and then I convinced my mom to head there.

So we followed Foursquare’s directions. “Head north and turn to the left.” What Foursquare did not tell me was that there wereA HELL LOT OF STAIRS to climb before we got to the place.

Staircase to food

Mom and I took about 5 sets of stairs this tall before we got to the right street.

Mom kept saying that we should take a cab but I didn’t think it was worth being fleeced if the restaurant was just around the corner.

However, we ended up walking for what seemed like forever until we hit the right corner. The seats outside were all taken so we had to sit inside where the waiters didn’t pay us much attention.

How far have you travelled for a good meal? Share your experience in the comments below.

Caturday: Black Beauty at Istanbul Archaeological Museum

black beauty

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

Black Beauty in Istanbul
Black Beauty in Istanbul

If I had a cat, I would like to have one that is all black. That way, it wouldn’t look too dirty if it rolled around in something.

This cat was resting at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum before I went to disturb it. It walked off, ignoring me.

When it reached the steps, it turned back and gave me a mean look. Meow!

Cat from afar
Cat from afar

If you have a cat, what color would it be?

Turkish riots and afterthoughts as a tourist

Istanbul's Blue Mosque
Blue Mosque in Istanbul
Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Mom and I were in Cappadocia when the riots in Istanbul erupted. We were in our blissful bubble which popped when Mom received a Whatsapp text from her friend with a short sentence in Chinese, “There are riots in Turkey.”

We both tried to guess what it might be related. Mom thought it might be because of arguments over land ownership while I couldn’t think of anything.

So mom sent a question back to her friend and to test her theory while I checked the Internet. (Mom’s friend replied, ‘I don’t think it’s about land ownership.”

I scanned a few headlines about the riots. Reports said the riots broke out because of Gezi Park, and how the government wanted to turn the greenland into a shopping mall.

I remember being selfish and thinking, “I hope this doesn’t affect our trip. Maybe it would all die down when we get back to Istanbul.”

It wasn’t until days later on our Pamukkale tour that I realized how serious the situation was.

I was having lunch and scanned through my Twitter stream for random reads. Our tour guide saw me and said, “Are you reading the news?”

“Just Twitter,” I said.

“Ah, you should know about what is happening in Istanbul,” she said in a serious tone. Our guide, Rayu, was only 25 years old, with a ponytail and kohled eyes.

The other tourists were curious about what was happening. The guide said, “There are riots and some people died.”

Back in the mini van, Rayu elaborated. She said the protest was not just about Gezi Park but about the government. The president wasn’t listening to the people so they have had enough and found the reason to fight.

She showed us a grainy photo on her phone of people occupying the bridge that connects the Asian and European sides of Istanbul.

She shared that a few of her friends are participating in protests and that she was worried about them so she did not get much sleep.

Rayu was passionate. She wanted to join the others in the protest. She said that Turkey needs a new hero like Ataturk and joked that maybe she could be the next hero.

Same thoughts, different person

Our other tour guide for the Troy tour had similar thoughts. I forgot what her name was but she had very curly hair that was tied into a bun. Since it was a Troy tour, let’s call her Helen.

She said we tourists should know what was going on in the country. I don’t think she meant that we should know about the news so we can stay safe. The undertone was that since we are in this country, we should not be in a bubble.

Helen said the protests were not limited to Istanbul anymore. Other cities, including her hometown in Antalya, had similar protests.

She was also angry about the president. She called him a dictator and said he wanted to turn Turkey into an Islamic nation. Although most of the citizens are Muslims, they do not see why their country should become Islamic, she said.

Tourist sights not impacted by Taksim protests

I remember thinking, selfishly, that I was glad that we didn’t choose to live in Taksim Square. (I was very close to booking a hotel there.)

When we were back in Istanbul, the Sultanahmet area where most historical sites are at was business as usual.

Mom and I took the tram to the end of the west side. It was one funicular ride away from Taksim Square. Of course we were sensible enough not to get involve or gawk.

When I checked Foursquare, I saw that Gezi Park was trending. Looking at the photos of the location, I saw people in selfies with handkerchief as facemasks.

Would the same happen in Malaysia, Singapore?

I was surprised by passionate both young tour guides were about the protests. They wanted to join their fellow country people, to show support.

I tried to imagine something like this happening in Malaysia. Sure, the young people were very vocal in showing support to whom they believe should lead.

Despite the phantom voters and blackout incident, Malaysians didn’t break out into riots. The police did not have to subdue crowds with tear gas. I’m very glad that everything was peaceful.

How about in Singapore? I know that Singaporeans are a peaceful bunch and probably something as violent as riots would not happen now.

Still, we have to remember that riots had happened in the past in Malaysia and Singapore so there’s no guarantee that they wouldn’t happen again. What is the tipping point for riots to happen?

For me, as someone who has a stake in both countries, I hope no riots happen because it causes devastation to all involved.

To the people in Turkey, stay safe.

PS I have very little knowledge about politics and only know bits and pieces from reading. If anything of what I wrote was wrong, please give feedback in the comments.

End of the Orient Express [YQrtw Day 58 Jun 4]

Cagaloglu Hamami ceiling

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

West end of Istanbul tram line
West end of Istanbul tram line

I was listening to one of the podcasts from Rick Steves. One of the callers to the radio program asked if they could take the Orient Express while in Istanbul.

The answer was that any train that went to the east was considered the Orient Express.

For me, my oriental journey is at its end and I’m heading to South America. I actually do not know what to expect, except the cold winters.

This morning, I had the breakfast provided by my hotel. It’s the usual Turkish fare: bread, olives, cheese, fruits, tomato, hard boiled eggs and drinks such as tea, coffee and artificial lime juice.

Turkish breakfast
Turkish breakfast

There is something about hard boiled eggs in Turkey. They are too tasty for their and my own good. I limit myself to only 2 eggs each day but feel like eating another 2 after I finish them.

After breakfast, I still had to pack my backpack. Since it will be winter in South America, I had to make sure that things such as swimsuit are at the bottom of the pack.

Packing seemed a lot easier these days. I managed to tidy up everything before check out time.

Getting scrubbed at a Turkish bath

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I still had Turkish bath on my list of To-do. On Foursquare, I found a hamam near my hotel so I walked to the place after checking out.

I saw the ladies’ entrance to the hammam. The real entrance inside was hidden behind a screen. After I stepped in, I was too embarrassed to step out even though the pricing was higher than what I wanted.

1,000 Places to see before you die
1,000 Places to see before you die

In the end, I reasoned that I was going to take a bath in one of the 1,000 Places to Visit Before You Die. So I paid my 108 lira and steeled myself for an exfoliation session with an attendant who looked very much like Rebel Wilson.

I’ll talk more about the bath in a future post so stay tuned!

Aimless walking, training around

Istanbul post office
Istanbul post office

I didn’t actually cross “Eat Turkish delight” off my list since I didn’t have much cash left in my wallet after the bath. Instead, I took the tram from the west to the east and back to the stop nearest to my hotel.

The train took about 1 hour to reach the west to the east. I didn’t really look out the window all the times since I fell asleep.

Passing the neighborhoods, I felt sad that I was leaving the city where I’ve spent 4 days. Yes, just 4 days but the store signs were already familiar to me.

Of course, my time in Istanbul had to end. I boarded the airport shuttle (6 euro) off to the airport for the third time.

Viagra boxes on the street
Viagra boxes on the street

This day last week…

I was on a hot air balloon in Cappadocia and it was pure awesome.

Too late for the Trojan war [YQrtw Day 56 Jun 2]

Fake Trojan Horse at Troy

Location: Cannukale & Troy, Turkey

The only “bad” weather we had throughout our trip was limited to this day.

When we got off our overnight bus, it was drizzling. We hopped on a shuttle bus to nowhere although someone from the hotel was supposed to come and fetch us. I reasoned that people usually pick up guests after the shuttle bus drops them off.

Using Foursquare, I found out that our hotel was on the other side of the bank. At first I thought we were at one of the banks of a really large lake. I later found out that we were actually separated by the sea.

It was drizzling heavier when we reached the ferry terminal. The shuttle bus driver told us to take Ferry 1 to the opposite bank for the hotel.

The ferry seemed to take forever to reach. We sat indoors where the food counter was. I looked out of our windows and felt that the scenery outside crept too slowly.

While we floated across the sea, one of the little girls awkwardly took secret photos of my and my mom. Her smartphone angle was too strange.

We finally reached the opposite shore. Being the know-it-all, I directed mom to the left side of the road. I was embarrassed to find that I brought us to the wrong direction.

Eventually we reached the hotel. The ponytailed receptionist told us that our day-use room was still occupied so we cannot check in.

He also told us that our tour to Troy which was supposed to be in the morning was scheduled for noon.

So mom and I sat in the lounge, playing with our smartphones until breakfast time came.

The breakfast had typical Turkish food such as bread, olives, 2 cheese, butter, tomato, cucumber. There was a tank that had two faucets: one gave hot Turkish tea while the other gave hot water for us to balance the strength of our teas.

At breakfast, a horde of young people came to eat. I’m a bit uncomfortable with loud human crowds so we quickly finished our meal.

It took another hour or so before our room was finally ready. It was a small twin-bed room on the third floor. I heave our suitcase up the multiple flights of stairs.

Mom took the opportunity to nap while I tapped out more words. We didn’t feel like leaving when 11:30am came.

Start of Troy tour

Well, the Troy tour actually begins with a lunch at the backyard of the hotel. The lunch felt like something from a school cafeteria since the hotel doled out sides onto plates.

If you were staying in Istanbul and opt for seeing Troy, you will be travelling starting from about 7am to Canakkale where lunch is served. Then you will be driven back at 18:00 and reach around midnight.

Moral of the story. Do not take the Troy tour if you are staying in Istanbul.

Our tour finally departed after it was well past 1:00pm. Our guide brought us on the ferry to the Asian side where a bus awaited. The drive to Troy’s site was short. The landscape in the window had hills with multicolored patches.

The hills were much better than the Troy site.

Fake wooden horse

Fake Trojan Horse at Troy
Fake Trojan Horse at Troy

I think I chose to visit Troy for the wrong reason. Mom’s friend’s future son-in-law had visited Turkey on a tour group. They had visited Troy as part of their visit so I added it in as well.

At the beginning of the site, there is fake wooden horse. On the day we went, the horse was closed and we could not climb in.

The wooden horse is a replica but even so, it wasn’t impressive. From our cordoned off area, it looked quite tiny.

Most of the remains of the various Troy cities were the stone wall. I didn’t have enough imagination to think about how it might have looked.

The walk and tour took less than an hour. We looked at stone walls, crumbled mud walls, trees and what used to be the sea.

In short, it was rather boring.

We were shuttled back to our hotel for our ride back to Istanbul. Along the way, there was a souvenir shop stop but the shopowners were not as enthusiastic as the other shopping stops we were on previously.

The long way back

At 18:00, it was time for the private shuttle back to Istanbul. Mom and I were the last ones to board so we got terrible seats at the back.

The journey to Istanbul would take 5 hours. That sounded like forever.

For two hours, we zoomed on the highway next to the sea. We had the view of the Asian side of the shores for a long long stretch. I

Next up was our dinner and restroom stop. Mom and I had an overpriced dinner of roast chicken and gozleme (Turkish roti canai).

Asian celebrities

When we got out from the restroom (1 lira entrance each), we went to look for our bus.

I was looking for our bus when we were suddenly stopped by two local school children. One had long curly hair in a pony tail while the other had blonde hair.

The two kids were super excited seeing us. They asked, “Korean? Japanese?” I said, “Malaysia.” but it didn’t register.

They started talking in long Turkish sentences and mimed taking photos. I wasn’t sure if they meant for me to take photos of them or not but I said, “OK.”

They shouted to their friends, making photo-taking gestures. One of the boys looked bashful and walked away, saying something rather reprimanding.

No one with a camera appeared so mom and I were allowed to go. We walked around a bit more. Our bus door was not open so we stood in a corner, hoping the wind would not catch us.

There, the two students found us again. This time, another boy with a Nikon DSLR was there. As about 6 students gathered around us for the photo, cameraman tinkered with his camera for a long while but didn’t manage to take any photos.

I asked them to take a photo with my camera instead. And they did. By that time, the Nikon camera worked and we were stunned by a bring flash.

Turkish kids and Asian fake celebrities
Turkish kids and Asian fake celebrities

After the photos, everyone was too excited to leave and kept speaking in loud Turkish. Suddenly, a woman appeared and told the kids to calm down. She turned to us and said, “I’m their teacher. Sorry.”

Laughing, I said it was no problem at all. Mom and I returned to our bus, thinking what a funny incident it was.

Our bus to Istanbul finally arrived at past 11:00pm. Our hotel still kept our room and we retired.

Have you ever been photo’d by strangers?

The day I begin travelling solo again [YQrtw Day 57 Jun 3]

kfc in istanbul

[Update June 20, 2014: This post is from the 57th day of my round-the-world trip in 2013. I had been travelling alone until my mom joined me in Turkey. This post marks the day my mom flew back home, leaving me to travel alone for the next 63 days.]

Location: Istanbul, Turkey

(I don’t think anybody’s checking but the post for Day 56 June 2 will be up a bit later. I was on the bus all night long and didn’t have time to update about our visit to Troy.)

5:26PM The sun is still bright outside but I’m now back in my solo travel mode and I won’t be going out until tomorrow morning.

10:25PM Finally back to writing this post after a lot of web surfing and tidying up of future posts.

In the morning, mom and I walked around Istanbul, doing last minute souvenir shopping. To us, souvenir shopping means a trip to the nearest supermarket and grabbing local stuff instead of decorations for the house.

Before noon, I wanted to bring mom to a restaurant that was highly praised. We took the tram to the Asian side of Istanbul. I found the restaurant but it wasn’t serving lunch until an hour later. In the end, we went back to a little cafe near the hotel and had lunch there.

Mom’s shuttle bus came. I went with her to the airport. I felt sad that mom was leaving but I didn’t want to show it. Instead, I became surly and refused to help mom ask where the right passport lane was. In the end, mom figured it out and left.

I waited until mom was inside before leaving the departure area. When I saw mom look back at me after her passport check, I was teary. I thought that it would be lonely being by myself.

I bickered with mom right before she went to her queue because I'm a horrible daughter.
I bickered with mom right before she went to her queue because I’m a horrible daughter.

Turkey’s 3G data policy is horrible

Since my phone’s 3G stopped working since yesterday, I checked with the guy at Turkcell airport counter to see what’s wrong. On my first day in Turkey, I already had problems with the Turkcell folks in Istanbul not giving me my mobile data so it was really annoying having to check with the company again.

After the Turkcell dude served a few tourists, he helped with my phone.

Him: When did you sign up for data?
Me: About 11 days ago.
Him: Oh… Foreign phones can only use 3G data for 10 days. Have you tried switching to another phone?

Well buddy, that’s news to me. Obviously I didn’t read all the entries about Turkish 3G on Google. From Wikia:

All mobiles phones purchased outside Turkey using a turkish SIM card must be registered with the government. There is a grace period that can be as short as 2 days, after which the phone will be blocked for the Turkish SIM.

Thank goodness I bought spare dumbphone with me. I switched my SIM card to the Nokia dumpphone and used it on the super slow 2.5G.

Twitter client on my dumbphone
Twitter client on my dumbphone

Of course, the first thing to do is to check-in on Foursquare. The dumbphone didn’t support Foursquare apps so I used Opera Mini instead for the check-in because the default Nokia browser takes forever to load. I’m glad that the Opera Mini browser was built into the phone so I didn’t need to download anything.

Super blurred photo from the Nokia dumbphone
Super blurred photo from the Nokia dumbphone

I decided to check out Carrefour as my first solo adventure after mom’s companion. I reached Carrefour’s area by Metro but the place was giving me weird vibes (someone tried to follow me and waiters were yelling “Coffee, tea or sex.”) so I went back to the Metro to the city.

Alone again

But I got back to my solo travel routine so easily that I scare myself. I ended up at a mall and had a meal of KFC to cheer me up.

KFC in Istanbul has Coke, not Pepsi like back home.

I was pretty lost then but after tinkering around some of my apps, I found the right direction back to the hotel. After I settled in, I haven’t been out but I do have a list of things to do tomorrow:

  • Go to a hammam
  • Eat Turkish delight
  • Be at the airport on time

I will be in Buenos Aires on June 5. See you when I reach!

Read more about my mild adventures:

Living in the caves of Cappadocia [YQrtw Day 50 May 27]

Cave Hotel

Location: Göreme, Turkey

If it were up to me, I might not have planned a trip to Cappadocia. Instead, I would have spent many days in Istanbul.

However since my mom was visiting, my sister was very helpful and enthusiastic in looking for sights to see. She found out about cave hotels and balloon rides in Turkey and even helped us book 2 nights in a cave hotel in Göreme.

After a 12-hour bus ride from Istanbul, we arrived in the little town of Göreme. The tour company picked us up from the bus terminal but took a little while looking for our hotel.

When we got there, it was too early for check in but we were allowed to have breakfast. The spread was more generous than what we had in our Istanbul hotel.

Since we couldn’t check in so early, we decided to visit the Göreme Open-Air Museum (15 lira entrance, extra 8 lira for Dark Church).

It took us quite a lot of walking to reach the museum from our hotel. Along the way, we saw the many caves and mountains that are famous in this region. The rocks look quite funny.

One of the more famous rock formation is called “fairy chimney” but for my 15-year-old teenage boy mind, they look more like pen*ses (I looked up wikipedia for the plural of pen*s.) See for yourself.

One fairy chimney. Photo was not actually taken on this day.

After a gruelling walk up and down some hills, we finally reached Göreme Open-Air Museum. Thank fully the entrance fee wasn’t 25 as I previously thought it was.

Göreme Open-Air Museum, worth the visit

Before coming to the museum, I read a few conflicting reviews about Göreme Open-Air Museum on Tripadvisor.

The place was actually nice since I really like Christian Byzantine art for its “unrealness”. But the caves are really small and we needed to elbow a few other tourists to visit the tiny little chapels in the caves.

The best church among the caves was the Dark Church which requires an extra 8 lira entrance fee. Inside, the walls and ceilings are covered with art works but most of the saints have their faces chiselled off.

On our way back, I caved in so we got back on a taxi for 10 lira. It was well worth the money since the noon sun was even more cruel.

Six hour power nap

After a lunch in the little town, we head back to the hotel. Our room was ready and our bags were brought into our cave room.

The cave hotel room was cool even though it was blisteringly hot outside. With our double bed and light, the whole setting didn’t look very much like a cave. Instead, it was more like the walls having funky uneven patterns.

In a cave hotel room

Unfortunately, the room was rather humid and nothing would dry if we hung it inside. Thankfully we have a little porch with two sofas. We took the liberty of hanging a few of our laundry outside.

Since we took a night bus, our sleep quality the night before wasn’t very good. The room was so cool that we fell into a nap very soon.

Mom’s nap turned out to be 2 hours longer than mine. I admired the sunset and worked on May 26’s blog post during that time.

Goreme sunset

At night, we went to a restaurant suggested by Foursquare. The place was awesome as the tea and apple tea were served free and for as much as we want. Yum!

We walked back to the hotel in the cool night air and rested at 11:00pm to prepare for our early morning hot air balloon ride the next day.