Travel

Spring Break: Turkey (Day 8 – Aksaray->Güzelyurt & Goreme, Cappadocia)

Güzelyurt Tourist Area Map
Güzelyurt Tourist Area Map

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:

CD climbing inside
CD climbing inside
From each cave you had perfect views to the caves beyond for good communication
From each cave you had perfect views to the caves beyond for good communication
I'm so small compared to the cave
I’m so small compared to the cave
Temple
Church building
So intricate
So intricate
View of the next structure over
View of the next structure over
Cubby spaces as seats
Cubby spaces as seats

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.

"Floating" restaurant, how'd you like to eat here?
“Floating” restaurant, how’d you like to eat here?
Me, CD and MM enjoying our snack
Me, CD and MM enjoying our Effes and tea
Delicious Turkish "pizza"
Delicious Turkish “pizza”

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.

Ala Church
Ala Church
These ceilings would make you want to Ohm, too
These ceilings would make you want to Ohm, too

Next door we visited the Bezirhane, where linseed oil was produced.

Tool for making Linseed Oil
Tool for making Linseed Oil
MM and CD walk over a log to explore more
MM and CD walk over a log to explore more
Now that's a wheel!
Now that’s a wheel!

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.

On the way to Monastery Valley
On the way to Monastery Valley

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.

CD stopping for a well earned rest
CD stopping for a well earned rest

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.

The crazies climbed through that hole to the left to get to the top
The crazies climbed through that hole to the left to get to the top
The climbing freak scared us by attempting this. He couldn't help himself.
The climbing freak scared us by attempting this. He couldn’t help himself.
Amazing bridge to the other side. Must say I was scared to cross.
Amazing bridge to the other side. Must say I was scared to cross.
Two story cave dwelling
Two story cave dwelling

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 🙂

Turkeys, in Turkey! What I have been waiting for all trip!
Turkeys, in Turkey! What I have been waiting for all trip!

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.

Elif Star Cave Hotel
Elif Star Cave Hotel

I was starting to lose my skepticism about the intentions of these friendly locals. Another great day in Turkey!

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