An August 2002 trip
to Capadocia by isewell
Quote: Capadoccia is my fondest memory of Turkey. "The Valley of Fairy Chimneys" is truly like something out of a dream. The area is sprinkled with these giant finger-like rock formations that have been dug out and inhabited. There is a lot of hiking, sightseeing, and relaxing here.
- The underground city, while not for the claustrophobic, is also a unique worthwhile experience.
- Hot Air Balloon rides are apparently fantastic, but are still very pricy. Be sure to go with a reptuable company.
- Having dinner looking out over the sun setting on this amazing natural landscape while drinking Capadoccian wine was a great experience.
- If you're going to go on a hike and don't have time to get lost, go on an organized tour. They are cheap, and will take you to places a little out of the way.
- There is not much to do in Nevsehir, except as a midway point elsewhere.
- The Accomodations Office right as you step off the bus will set you up with a place to stay if you arrive without a reservation
- Most hotels will pick you up from downtown upon arrival.
- There is no "otogar" as such - just an outdoor collection of bus companies, some with direct buses to Ankara, Konya, and beyond, and others just operating shuttles as a feeder service to the big buses running out of Nevsehir.
- For lots more photos, please check out www.ianandwendy.com
- The walk to the Open Air Museum from Goreme is pleasent and not too long (half hour). You will be offered a donkey ride - and a few polite "no's" will get you some peace.
- Getting to the underground cities is easy with public transportation. This is a great option if you want to do the cities alone, or not spend a whole day of it.
- The dolmus that run between the towns can be rather chaotic, but are very cheap, and run almost everywhere.
Hotel | "Kelebek Pension"
Walking up to the hotel, you will be sure that you are lost, as it's tucked pretty far out of the way. Keep on following the signs for the Pension, though, and you *will* get there!
They sell drinks at the reception, but they are rather overpriced - you'll do better in town. When we arrived, a lady sat down with us and spent 20 minutes talking about everything they offered - what tours they have, etc. They sell hiking tours of the area (see Rose Valley hike), Whirling Dervish concerts, balloon rides, underground city tours, balloon rides (too expensive for us) etc. The woman was not too pushy selling things, and as soon as we said we weren't interested she moved on. She also provided us with advice on how to do the tours ourselves - i.e. what public buses to get, etc.
We stayed in the pension for two nights. We noticed our room hadn't been clean/made on the second day - I'm not sure if this was just a mistake or standard, but it certainly didn't matter to us.
Although the room was not air conditioned, because it's in a cave, it's a fairly constant (low) temperature and we were both very comfortable. If your're claustrophobic, this sort of room might not be for you, as the "window" is really just a tiny hole outside. The room is decorated with Turkish rugs and other country-themed furniture. Many people had brought candles in, as evidenced by the buildup of wax on the shelf (actually just a dug out ledge in the cave.)
There are cheaper rooms available (without shower and non-fairy chimney). There is even a "crash-out" room for people who arrive at odd times of the night, or in the morning, where you can leave your pack and take a shower. Could this place have possibly been any better set up for backpackers?
And no, there's no TV. :)
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 18, 2002
619 Georgetown Crescent
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Attraction | "Goreme Open Air Musem"
You can pay extra money to see the Karanlik Kilise (Dark Church), which is a cave church with exquisitely preserved frescoes, and worth the admission fee. The paintings are mostly biblical, and might be tough to understand without a guide, but there are enough around that you should be able to just listen in on one.
There is a cafeteria at the entrance to the museum (of course). The site itself doesn't take that long to walk around, but give yourself some time to explore everything. A few hours should suffice.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 18, 2002
Goreme Open Air Museum
1 Mile Outside Goreme
Everything they needed to survive is found here. Ventilation shafts, kitchens, dining halls - the only thing we were wondering about was the restrooms. The two underground cities you can tour are apparently very similar. We satisfied ourselves with just seeing Kaymakli. To get there, we took a minibus to Neveshir, where we took a local bus to Kaymakli. It was pretty easy. When we got off the bus in Kaymakli, the driver refused to drive on until he saw we were walking in the right direction towards the underground city! These people are so incredibly nice. We had to cross the road, walk up a small street lined with souvenir shops and stalls (we knew we were getting close!) and hang a right at the end into the underground city.
Like in the open-air museum, getting around tour groups can be a bit of a hassle in the caves. I believe Kaymakli has the advantage here: It is less popular. Guides will try to sell you their services at the entrance. They are really not necessary. They will promise you you will get lost, you won't understand what you're seeing, etc etc. Whatever. It's impossible to get lost, as the passages are all one-way with big arrows pointing up or down. You'd have to be blind.
Kaymakli Underground City
19 Km From Nevsehir
Attraction | "Rose Valley Hike"
Getting to hikes like this can be a hassle if you do it alone - there is no transportation out there, so unless you trust a taxi to pick you up at the other side (and you know when and where you're going to come out!) it might be a good idea to take a guided tour. There are many, many tours offered, and they're all cheap (we paid $10 each for a 4 hour guided hike).
We were particularly impressed with the fact that our guide picked up garbage along the way - he had brought a bag and just cleaned up the route as we walked along.
Santa ROsa, California