Thoroughly enchanted by Cappadocia, we spent nine days at a campsite only two kilometres and one very steep cobbled hill from Goreme. Arriving after one too many punctures and a challenging last few weeks on the road we found ourselves suddenly surrounded by tourists, being handed English language menus and at a campsite…with possibly the best hot showers of our whole trip, a kitchen and an icy cold pool!
Here are a few snapshots of our time in the region.
Cycle Tourist Central
We were welcomed to Kaya Camping by Australian/German couple Guy and Freddie handing us cold beers and inviting us to pitch next to them. While we had planned to meet them here we weren’t expecting to see quite so many other cycle tourists during our stay. Groups of cyclists regularly arrived and departed, with one Canadian couple Roger and Catherine staying long enough to be roped into renting a car for a day with the four of us. Six in a car is OK in Turkey judging from the other traffic we saw.
We all enjoyed parking and forgetting our bikes for a few days before carrying out the inevitable cleaning, fixing and tuning they required. After a sad goodbye to Guy and Freddie who were heading further east to Iran, we spent three more days exploring Cappadocia before handing over the dubious title of longest resident cycle tourists at Kaya Camping to Roger and Catherine.
Over and underground
From our campsite we walked through the Rose, Red and Pigeon valleys and climbed to the top of Sunset point. Scrambling around caves and holes carved by pious monks made us feel like Indiana Jones style explorers in a giants playground. With squinted eyes the unusual shapes and colours could easily have seen us transported to Mars or the time when dinosaurs roamed.
Renting a car for a day we visited the very crowded Kaymakli underground city, the totally empty Church with Buckle and a somewhat busy local supermarket – we were after all six hungry cycle tourists.
The two fascinating elements of Cappadocia are the topography and the (unexpected for us) role of Christianity in the construction of the many cave churches and underground cities. In times of danger, the local population would take refuge for up to three months within the underground cities complete with animal stables, kitchens and chapels. Our photos from Kaymakli didn’t make the grade being taken in low light so below is a picture of the lovely Rose valley (we think).
Hot Air Ballooning
We woke every morning to the scattered roar of gas burners and the sight of up to 80 balloons floating past and over our tent. After a few days we gave in and booked ourselves on an early morning flight. Watching the sun rise and gradually light up the valley below us was awe inspiring and worth the 4:30am wake up call. We can’t believe that the pilots of the balloons get to do this every day.
We had an enjoyable first balloon flight with Sultan balloons but if you have the cash to spare Butterfly balloons have a good reputation and seemed to fly an exciting path close to the fairy chimneys.
Camped next to us for the whole time we stayed at Kaya Camping was this awesome expedition truck complete with resident travelling cats and world map including New Zealand on the side. Very cool!
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route map for this post
The map below shows the waypoints for this blog post. To view the details of our trip to date take a look at our complete route map.