Exploring Cappadocia

I’m also gonna skip day 5 as it was just me getting lost in the city, eating pretzels, drinking tea and being hit on by some weirdos on the streets.

As you may remember, I missed my connecting flight to the central part of the country, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. So how did I find myself in Cappa? The Bus! That’s right, I took a 12hr journey in an overnight bus from Istanbul to Nevşehir (pronounced as Nev she hir), and a transfer to Göreme. These guys have some fancy buses, nothing close to what we have back home in Kenya. My charging port worked, I had an overhead reading light, adequate leg room and free tea. That’s the perfect recipe for a Kenyan.

We arrived at around 7.45am and had a 15min drive to Göreme. Along the drive, you could see the balloons take off from different sights and that was incredibly delightful. I was then picked from the tourist office to Coco Cave Hotel. There is no rest for the wicked (insert evil laugh). I had just finished unpacking and my driver was already at the door ready for the Green Tour.

Green Tour ‘dits’

  • Price – € 35 (app. KES 4000) not bad, right? (prices can go up to 50 euros though)
  • Includes – tour, entrance fee to sites, transport to and from hotel in an air-conditioned van and buffet lunch (not including drinks)
  • Time – 9.30am – 5.30pm (yes, it’s a whole day tour)
  • Scenery – Kaymakli Underground City, Pigeon Valley, Göreme Panoramic View point, Onyx Jewelley Factory Tour, Uçhisar castle (our tour also included part of the Rose Valley which is covered in the Red Tour)
  • Sign up – from your hotel or tourist office in town or any local travel agency

Now to the tour

We started with the viewpoint where one was drawn in by the panoramic view of Cappadocia. If I say intoxicating, I’d be understating it, but you get the point. See video for reference.
Disclaimer: I’m not the best at this photography/videography business, but I try to capture what I can for memories sake.

Panoramic view of Cappadocia

I was still sleepy and exhausted form the 12hr bus ride but this woke me up.

Pigeon Valley

We proceeded to the Pigeon Valley. This is an area located between Göreme and Uçhisar and is filled with numerous pigeon holes carved into the soft volcanic rocks. Eons ago, the residents of Cappadocia were farmers with vineyards and they’d collect the pigeon dung as fertilizer for their grapes. The pigeons were used as message carriers.

Those squarish-window-like structures on the rocks were the pigeon houses
Pigeon Valley

Göreme Onyx Jewellery

Göreme Onyx Jewellery was just on the opposite side of Pigeon Valley so we popped in for some lessons. I did enjoy the tour around the factory learning about the Zultanite stone that is only found in one place in the world – the Anatolian mountain region.

Kaymakli Underground City

There are 36 underground cities in Cappadocia and this is the widest one, with 8 underground levels but only 4 opened to public. The shafts could go as far down as 80 meters but we only got to about 20 meters. Once you start the tour, you can’t go back so you’ll have to go through the tunnels and exit on the other end of the city. It took about an hour to get through, especially with the crowds. If you are claustrophobic, I suggest you conquer your fears and explore – you’ll breathe, they have ventilation shafts.

One of the food storage rooms in Kaymakli Underground City

Uçhisar Castle

This is probably one of Cappadocia’s most prominent landmarks visible from kilometres away, which provides a panoramic view of the landscape. Back in the day during the Ottoman era, it was used as a hideout spot from enemies and as pigeon holes to collect droppings for fertilizer.
We unfortunately didn’t get to the top as our guide told us it’s dangerous to climb up because of falling stones and rocks.

Uçhisar Castle
Taking it all in
I made some hairy friends

Rose & Red Valley

We didn’t get to explore much of it as it was already evening and our guide was gracious enough to allow us a glimpse of the sunset from this valley.
I’ll talk more about this in another blog post.

PS: I haven’t been sharing in the past two months. I’m blaming it on writer’s block. Poleni!
That’s it from me folks. See you in the air (this will make sense in the next post, hopefully).

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