We left Aksaray as quickly as we could get out, wanting to take full advantage of the day. After a few short hours we arrived in Güzelyurt, near the Ilhara Valley of Cappadocia to check out the caves. Some speculate that they are the work of aliens, having no understanding of how this brittle, flaking rock could produce sturdy caves. History also says that those who built the caves were probably using them as a way to hide away from enemy threats from the sky. There’s definitely an air of mystery to the whole place that intrigued us greatly. We arrived at the first church in the early morning. While most would spend just 30 minutes exploring we took a full two hours.
Here are just a few of the best pictures:
Next, we traveled to the Valley of Monasteries and aimed to see as much as we could. With a quick break for snacks on a floating restaurant we refueled.
At our next stop in Ala Church we started our new tradition of melodic “Ohms” inside of the echoing structures. It’s quite silly, but we all go into it. Even GP’s dad, IP who was with us for this whole journey. The church was small but full of formerly beautiful art on every surface.
Next door we visited the Bezirhane, where linseed oil was produced.
We drove a couple of kilometer further to go down hundreds of steps into Monastery Valley. The next part of our adventures sounds like it would be tough but was in actuality quite tame.
The steps were nothing that we couldn’t handle and even play on, as MM slide down a the banister to the first landing. Though a well times break was great to take in the scenery of the beautiful lush green valley that lay below.
The real treat was climbing into all of the churches along our way down the river, outside of the main tourist area. Once again, we marveled at how unrestricted this experience was, being able to climb into, touch, and photograph everything that we pleased.
After hours and hours of exploring every cave we could find we headed to a nearby town, that guidebook said was known for its food and views. Lonely Planet literally pulled that off of the ‘Welcome Sign’ for the town. All of the places they suggested were either closed or non-existent. In this dumpy little town we had an expensive meal that shouldn’t have been so, but our eyes were bigger than our stomach. But, I did get the joy of photographing a turkey in Turkey 🙂
Last stop of the day was in Goreme to find a much talked about cave hotel. We didn’t think it was going to be a problem to find the one we wanted upon arrival, but Goreme was full of tourist the few days we were there. We made a Turkish friend, owner of a local restaurant, who helped us find a place to stay, tried to bargain down the price for us and invited us to dine in his restaurant the next night.
I was starting to lose my skepticism about the intentions of these friendly locals. Another great day in Turkey!