We had an eighteen hour drive to catch a flight East. Another fifteen to board at JFK. Connect in Amsterdam and then finally land in Istanbul. An eight hour stretch through tightly packed stop and go traffic into the barren landscape of central Anatolia. The sun faded from burnt orange to pink as we stretched on to our final destination, descending down into the faerie like wonders of Cappadocia just at the crest of night. It took a week of traveling to begin our next travel adventure. The following day would be the beginning of a six week journey throughout the vast stretches of Turkey, the dreamy desert scape of Jordan and the ancient world of Egypt. We start off our trip in Cappadocia which marks the one year anniversary of our marriage.
We woke inside of a cave. Rough, carved walls shredded back in the appeal of the honeymoon suite. Dried rose petals lay scattered across the room. We dressed before the sun burst into view above the distant, shadowed mountains. The early morning chill tamed by sipping tea on the rooftop terrace. The sound of a hundred or more industrial fans whirling in the background, filling balloons in every far reaching corner of town. When the golden sun illuminated the valley, up they went, dotting the pale blue morning sky with impressive wonder.
A magical little town swarming with an endless flow of smiling beings. Roadside bazaars offering homemade scarfs, shaws, blankets, spices, treats and more. Smells abundantly wafting through the tightly packed streets. We found ourselves entrenched in the beauty of Göreme.
Afternoons led us into the valleys surrounding the town. The deeper we descended the quicker the crowds dissipated, leaving us at peace to explore the harsh environment. Our first walk took us through Love Valley; a phallic like oasis that required little to no imagination to depict the symbolism in Nature. Different shapes and sizes protruding from the desert floor, reaching toward the sky, distinct and erect.
We meandered through the Red and Rose Valley. A short walk turned into a hike as our enchanted eyes pleaded for more sights around each hoodoo and rock formation. Each perspective magnified the intensity of the landscape. Continuing on for stretches of miles in either direction.
Steep hoodoos and chimneys dotted the landscape. The further we went in, the deeper and more rugged the terrain became. We continued to walk until reaching a final end to our route : a domed sandstone overlook into the heart of Red Valley. An awe inspiring delight.
All through the valley floor and up on the crumbling ridges cave homes were endlessly hollowed out showing us the past, present and future of this incredible area. Homes still used today as they have been for multiple centuries.
The most impressive selection of cave homes we’ve seen in Göreme were in Zelve Open Air Museum. We found ourselves blown away by the immaculate condition, the intricate layout and the magnitude of this ancient city. What’s more is that they’ve been lived in for more than 1000 years and continued to be used as homes and crop storage up until 1952. Mosques carved into the side of cliffs. Tunnels leading from one valley to the next. The closest we have ever seen to anything like this before is in Southwest US where the ancient Pueblo lived in cliff dwellings scattered across the desert Mesa terrain. This is the largest ancient city we have yet to see. It’s vastness and ruggedness is truly incredible.
We sat inside of a deserted dwelling, shaded by the scorching sun as we watched it slowly fade down across the valley. Deep colors popping out as the bulbous sun displayed its final dance before retreating from the Turkish day. Our tagalong pup sat beside us napping in the shade while we watched the finale of the sun disappear.
After four days in this magical area, we are off to explore more of this incredible country. Follow us along our adventure as we spend the next three weeks driving and seeing as much of Turkey as possible!