Amazing place - seeing is believing: Cappadocia

Trip Start Jul 28, 2009
Trip End Aug 10, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Thursday, May 27, 2010

We arrived at midnight and the town was very quiet.  It almost felt like we had snuck into Disneyland in the middle of the night because we were surrounded by the strangest looking rock formations.  The town was so small that we had no problems finding our hostel.  We snuck quietly into the dorm room and went straight to sleep.

I was awakened early in the morning by the sounds of strong winds.  When I looked outside the window, it didn’t look windy at all.  The dorms were on the roof top of the hostel and as I walked out onto the roof, the sky was filled with Hot Air balloons.  It was simply a stunning sight!  I sat on the roof top and watched the hundreds of balloons above me and listened to the sound of hot air taking them up higher.  What an awesome way to start the day.

The Cappadocia region was once home to several active volcanoes which erupted over 10 million years ago.  It was covered with ashes which hardened into a soft, porous rock called tuff.  Over time, high wind and water eroded the tuff into free standing domes and other strange formations.  We chose to stay in the small village of Goreme.  This town has underground cities and cave dwellings dating back to around 300AD.

We walked out to the Open Air museum and marveled at the strange lunar like landscape along the way.  When we got to the open air museum, it was filled with tourists and stalls selling souvenirs.  This museum is said to contain the finest of the rock cut churches, with beautiful wall paintings with bright colors.  Most of the churches are from the 10th, 11th and 12th centuries.

The next day we headed out to one of the underground cities called Mazi.  We went with Sean, a guy working at the hostel and the owners 9 year old son and his friend.  We had packed a lunch so we had a little picnic before going underground! 

Our local guide gave us each a big torch and we headed into the caves.  It was so cool in there, we could see our own breath.  I'm glad we brought our jackets even though it was so hot outside.   We walked through the stables and the numerous rooms carved in the rock.  He showed us the opening to the outside which was protected by a huge stone wheel that locked the cave.  We then climbed through small openings to the next level. Some of them were a bit scary as we had to climb up a long tunnel with foot steps on the side of the tunnel and we were scared of slipping.  I don’t know how people could live in these caves for such long periods of darkness.  Certainly not my cup of tea!
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