Thursday, 18 August 2011

The caves and the underground cities of Cappadocia

My Cappadocia


It is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. More words are useless in describing the charm and the beauty of this region and its people. You must experience this for yourself!
The area is a combination of history and natural land formations (eruption of volcanoes). Signs of human life have been discovered, dating from the bronze age, then the Persians took over, then the Roman empire, the Byzantine, Ottoman empire…Cave churches and underground cities can be seen everywhere.

On the 5th of August I arrived to Nevsehir. From the Otogar there was a free shuttle bus to the town so I got to Toki Mosque and waited for my host to pick me up. It turn out that he left to Antalya but his flatmates were here so they “took care” of me J. Apart from me, there were 2 other couchsurfers, 2 German girls, hitchhiking their way back to Germany.  We all slept in the living room, each having a pretty big beds and amazing pillows (those orthopaedic ones)! 
Antje and I, fighting with the inflatable bed

As it is Ramadan here now, the Muslims who really do it, don’t eat or drink until the Ezan before sunset starts (around 8 pm). So the guys made a really big dinner and when the Ezan started they just fell upon the water and food, imagine not drinking anything since 4,30 am till 8 pm, in August and in Turkey!!! Later on, they would wake up at 3 am and have something like breakfast to be able to resist with no food until the evening. They were all really nice and considerate and made sure we are fed and comfortable. We played a lot Rummicub or what the Turkish version of it is. 
Im not doing very well here
"8 o'clock" time
And we all watched Titanic in Turkish. By the way, on Turkish TV you can´t see people smoking cigarettes, the cigarettes are blurred out.

Mulmo and his amazing house-museum


So I would say that Cappadocia (Kapadokya in Turkish) is really impressive! The nature, the ruins, and the people...Especially the people! We hitchhiked together with the German girls, Cristina and Antje, going from a village to village, or sometimes even within the village, and never waited for longer than 20 seconds. Any car with enough space for three of us would stop immediately. 
We went to pretty amazing places like Avanos, Cavosin,  Red Rose valley to watch the sunset (it was quite a hike but a nice one), passed through Göreme on the way back...In Avanos we were invited by this very friendly and atheist Turkish  guy to his house-museum where we spent at least 2 hours and ended up having chai and watermelon on his terrace and talking mostly about politics. The house was amazing, it had 8 levels, lots of tunnels and he took us on a tour. They (lots of people in the same association) apart from all the pottery work, make their own wine.
Arif and Antje dealing with börek
Arif, Ceristina, Mustafa and Antje

Antje leaving the pottery

Avanos
Everyone was so nice and talkative, convincing us to take these chai-, beer-, watermelon or borek breaks so we couldn’t see all the places we initially planned to visit but we met some nice and very interesting people. It was worth it. Cristina and Antje were at exactly in the same state of mind as me (except for being vegetarians and im such a big meat fan J )) and I think we got along very well. Very easy and fun.

Red Rose valley


After sunset we got a ride from a Japanese couple and it was so funny when Cristina asked the guy “Aren’t u going to South Korea tomorrow” and he answered, “No, Im Japanese”, obviously confusing him with a guy we met earlier in Çavuşin, also Asian looking one. I was so happy that im not the only one who messes this up. We even went to another village further away (again hitch hiking), just to buy some baklava and ice cream for our hosts. We wanted to cook them a dinner but then got tempted to see the sunset. One thing we didn’t do was the hot air balloon flight but that was for two reasons: 1. Not for our pocket (150€) and 2. Too early – you have to be there at 5 am. Actually one of the guys who picked us offered one free flight because he was working there, but just one L. We wanted to set the alarm for 6 am so we at least take photos of the balloons from the window but at the end no one wanted to sacrifice her sleep J. So they were supposed to look like that:
That's how it's supposed to look
Next day Cristina and Antje decided to hit the road to Istanbul so I was left alone for a few hours which I used to see properly Göreme – a small town and many people still live in the rock houses. Also many pensions and small hotels have rooms cut into the rocks. This is a very inexpensive type of air-conditioning for the summer months because the temperature stays cool inside the rocks.  Later on the guys joined me and took me to some places. 
Göreme

At 8 o´clock I headed to the bus station, direction Trabzon (hitchhiking instead of waiting for the city bus, good decision cos i got there in no time) where one more visa is waiting for me, I hope. Apparently in the Turkish buses, the girls cannot sit next to guys, I discovered it when I booked the ticket online J.






Evil eye






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