Cappadocia the land of beautiful horses! There is still a debate whether the meaning of the word Cappadocia means the land of beautiful horses, but I can say in confidence that Cappadocia is the land of beautiful fairy chimneys, spectacular landscape, hot air balloons, friendly cats & dogs, pigeons & mesmerizing sunrise. I visited Cappadocia in mid-October which was the best season to travel to the region and I was staying in Goreme the perfect city to stay in Cappadocia. This was my first ever travel to anywhere in the world and Cappadocia didn’t disappoint, it was simply a beautiful place to visit & a life-changing experience for me. Here is my recollection of my four days trip to Cappadocia.
Nevsehir airport to Goreme – Inviting landscape
I flew to Cappadocia from Istanbul and it took around 1 hour. I have read about a bus trip to Cappadocia, but I found the Idea of 8 hours & 750 Km bus ride madness. When I arrived at Nevsehir airport it was already late and unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to book the airport shuttle service from my hotel. Which later I realized was a big mistake, as soon as I got off the airport some meter Taksi(Taxi in Turkish) driver offered to take me to Goreme with a reasonable price and I decided to give it a try hoping that a meter taxi would be fair. Let just say the 45 minutes of ride from NAV airport to Goreme with all of the unusual landscape was the only inviting thing to what Cappadocia might offer.
Booking Tours and Activities in Cappadocia from the Hotel
The thing I have noticed about Cappadocia is that everyone is nice and they don’t expect anything from you in return. The hotel reception made me feel like I am at home, we had a little chat about my hair transplant & the famous Ethiopian runners. And he offered me if I want to book a tour & activities in Goreme. I had received some email notification from the hotel months before I arrived, but I didn’t act upon it. Now when I look back at it, my stay in Cappadocia would have been a disaster if I hadn’t booked tours & activities through the hotel. It was cheap and it helped me use my time efficiently. I booked a Turkish Night show, Red tour, and Green Tour.
One hour of Walking around Goreme town
My hotel was around 10 minutes of walking distance from the main downtown area. When it got dark, I took a walk to the center of Goreme and I was amazed by the landscape, beauty & cleanliness of the town. It was Saturday night and people were out having fun, a bit crowded by tourists & clearly tourists outnumber locals, but I think it made Goreme a lively town. I was able to notice that Asian people dominate in Cappadocia, which made me question if Cappadocia is a region located in far East Asia. On my last day in Goreme, I also did a 1-hour walk in the morning to take some pictures and explore the town more.
Turkish Night Show
The Turkish Night is a show that highlights traditional costumes, music beats, and dances of various Turkey traditions – most importantly a Belly dance. We were picked up from our hotel and our driver took us to a cave hall. As soon as I step into the Cave, I heard some sick Turkish Darbuka drum beats and I knew it was going to be a night to remember. We were offered a tasty dinner and in no time the place was filled with tourists. Then came the traditional dancers, I have to be honest Turkish women are beautiful. Even though I was drinking water(I don’t drink alcohol), I was dancing to the drum beats which I believe were phenomenal. I hear a lot of rap music, so I have an ear for a drum sequence and I found the drummer to be a great musician. After a group dance, an experienced belly dancer came out and showed us what it takes to be an entertainer. I know women who obsess about a slim waist, but this belly dancer has a weight around in the middle and still, she was beautiful & can dance the life out of her body. I believe this show is for everyone, there were Turkish people who came with their families and they were enjoying it. And it’s a Turkish custom(I assume), people will sing along with the music and they do it with the Italian hand gesture – It was a night to remember.
Red tour of Cappadocia
Red tour or North Cappadocia tour is a one day tour that highlights Uchisar castle, Goreme open-air museum(Goreme church), Love valley, Pottery shop in Avanos, Passabag valley and Imagination(Devrent Valley). I did the tour on a Sunday, at around 9:30 I was picked up from my hotel and we went on to pick the rest of the group up at their hotels. This is where I met Jose and his wife couples from Costa Rica, I remember their excitement – it was contagious! And then we picked up our tour guide, he has one of those unique personalities, knowledgeable & focused, but also fun to listen to, Turkish people have a sense of humor that I can understand. If it wasn’t for our tour guide & his sense of humor the day could have been a boring one. I am not good with history and it is very easy for me to lose focus during activities that I am not interested in, but the tour guide does his job very well & I was able to learn something from the tour.
It’s the highest point in Cappadocia which provides a panoramic view of the surrounding towns. As our tour guide, Baki told us it was used as a retreat by the villagers whenever enemies came to attack. Our group only gets to take photos and spend around 15 minutes at this stop. One thing that I found interesting was, some of the dancers from the Turkish night were taking a picture & selling them to tourists by including a photo frame.
Goreme Open Air Museum
Goreme open-air museum is a UNESCO world heritage site which features a collection of Christian churches & monasteries. And you have to pay a fee to get inside, our guide took care of the pass for us, but if you are not with a tour group you should get a pass ticket at the entrance. And I remember there was another place inside the open-air museum where you will need to pay a small fee to get inside.
When we made a stop at love valley the sun very hot and I was feeling it on my hair transplanted head. But the rock formations and the landscapes of this valley are hard to resist; it’s a vast area that can be seen from a higher point with a panoramic view, some tourists were saying it’s like the Grand Canyon. The place is perfect for hiking and I also have seen some people from far who drove to the highest points. After taking some pictures, I came across two guys who were taking pictures with the BMW they drove to love valley – I asked to join in and got the perfect pic.
Avanos Pottery – Kapadokya Seramik
We made a stop at a pottery shop in Avanos, a family-owned business that had been passed down six generations. I’m not into ceramic or pottery, but this place showed me the level of pottery skill of Cappadocian people. After a brief introduction from one of the staff of the shop, he introduced as to a Master potter who studied poetry for 11 years to become a master. The master potter made a vesicle within 15 minutes as a demonstration, he makes it look very easy, but I knew it’s not as easy as it looks & the guy who gave us an introduction at the start remind us that this is not an easy skill to acquire it takes many years of practice. He then challenged our group to come out and try to make pottery. Jose’s wife volunteered and she actually made a good looking pot.
Passabag valley is normally called Monks Valley and it has one of the most amazing fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. You can see beautiful fairy chimneys with caps, even twin caps. The rock formations don’t look like they were created by many years of weathering action, you can see clearly formed shapes like they were crafted by craftsmen. The fairy chimneys are genuinely beautiful and the treas that are planted with carefully selected spacing give life to these rock formations.
The last stop of the Red tour was at Imagination Valley. Where our guide challenged us to use our imagination and guess a shape created by the fairy chimneys. The only shape I was able to guess was a Camel, which was kind of obvious, but our guide Baki came up with many shapes. He told us to be creative while taking pictures, he took grass and held it in the direction of the camel shape so as to create a picture that shows a person feeding a camel. I was actually very tired at that time and didn’t take any pictures.
Red/North Cappadocia tour is the perfect way to spend a day in Cappadocia, I really enjoyed it. I met wonderful people, learned a lot about Cappadocian people’s history and most importantly I had fun & felt happy about the day. The only thing missing from the Red tour of Cappadocia for me was a place with a river or a stream, I don’t know why but I feel peaceful around water. Lucky for me the Green/South tour of Cappadocia had a thirty-minute hike along the green river canyon – which was the highlight of Cappadocia for me next to sunrise hot air balloon ride.