Michael and Pam's Travels

Cappadocia, Turkey. 2015

Travelled: 537 klms from Inebolu on the Black Sea to Goreme, Cappadocia

Visited: Goreme National Park, Cappadocia (3 days)

Stayed: Panorama Campsite, Goreme. TL60 a bit expensive for a campsite and it’s a bit of a walk into Goreme, but it has a nice pool, all the usual services, and the best view. N38.647020, E34.821530

The drive south from Inebolu on the Black Sea to Cappadocia is a full day of roadworks, potholes and magnificent motorway. ย Would have enjoyed it more in someone else’s motorhome. ย But it had to be done and that’s what a touring holiday is all about. ย We bypassed Ankora, the nation’s capital and continue south. ย From the Lonely Planet we gather Ankora is a large and modern city with some interesting features but time passing and Goreme is our goal for today.

 

Not all like this, but we appreciate it when it comes along.

Not all like this, but we appreciate it when it comes along.

 

Get Directions

 

It’s been a long day we have the co-ordinates for our campsite (recommended by Jenny and Ewout, fellow motorhomers from Adelaide). ย As we enter Goreme, what now seems like a typically Turkish thing happens, another lollipop man and road works. ย He points up an impossible steep, cobblestone path. ย Before Pam can object too loudly, it’s into first gear and up we go, the tow bar gouges a mark in the cobbles that may been followed a millennium from now and we turn onto the path. ย Turning left and right by instinct alone, waving to concerned locals we pass upmarket hotels and the odd barking dog before the crest and the steep descent to Panarama Camping.

 

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At Panorama Campsite, the view is spectacular, but in reality we probably spend more time in the pool than looking at the view.

 

We wake up and it's freezing inside the camper, the AC still churning away. So I get up and turn it off. Get back into bed and hear this odd sound, like a gas jet igniting over and over. We jump out of bed to this sight !

We wake up and it’s freezing inside the camper, the AC still churning away. So I get up and turn it off. Get back into bed and I hear this odd sound, like a gas jet igniting over and over. We jump out of bed to this sight ! (Clicking the image should open the panorama view).

 

We had talked about the hot air ballooning some months ago but Pam had dismissed it out of hand. ย But I can see a glimmer in her eye.

With Lonely Planet in hand we walk down the hill into Goreme Village and up the hill to the Open Air Meseum. ย A brief history of Cappadocia starts, the Hittites settled and lived here from 1800bc to 1200bc. It was then under Persian, Roman and Byzentine rule then later the Otterman’s. ย The area is most renown for its fascinating topography and human history. ย There are more than 500 churches carved into the sandstone rock in the maze of canyons near Goreme. ย Christianity flourished here from the 4th to the 11th century and these churches date through that period. This is hash country and how or why a people would try to etch out a living here amazes us. ย But like similar isolated area in other parts of the world it was about religious freedom or freedom from persecution.

 

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Don’t mind the pile of cobble stone, just more roadworks.

 

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Lots of stairs to climb throughout the museum, not to mention negotiating the Korean’s armed with selfie sticks.

 

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The floor of most of the churches have been used as a tomb.

 

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Quick photo whilst the ‘no photo guy’ was arguing with the Koreans. Another tomb in the floor of a church, this one still obviously occupied.

 

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This partial collapse has exposed some of the sculpturing and simple fresco work.

 

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Inside one of the more larger and more highly decorated churches, this one is under renovation as part of a world heritage grant. ย Simply amazing in its form and detail.

 

It became obvious that we could be here for a week and not see half the area by walking around. That’s not taking the mid-day heat, which makes doing much from 12-3pm onerous. ย So we opted for a sunset quad-bike tour which proved to be a lot of fun and gave us the opportunity to visit a number of the canyons and unusual formations in one afternoon.

 

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It was a bit more fun than being in a twenty seat bus, which is the only other way of getting to the vantage points without walking. ย Luckily Pam was constantly providing me with safety tips.

 

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This canyon is referred to a Marraige Canyon or Love Canyon depending on your guide or book.

 

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Oops looks like I’m going to get another safety violation.

 

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At one time this hill must have been a honeycomb of rock houses and churches with the usual row of shops selling touristy things.

Much too my surprise Pam said we shouldn’t come all this way and not do the balloon ride. ย After shuffling some money about and deciding the children would rather know we have had a wonderful experience, than have an inheritance we booked in.

 

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Just to be sure we set the alarm on both our iPhones before going to bed, unfortunately one for 4pm and the other 5am an hour late. ย Luckily the campsite manager banged on the door at 4.10am, so we still had time for a coffee and nervous you know what. ย Back to the photo, they use large fans to blow air into the balloons for 10 minutes or so, then bang the LPG fires up and things get exciting.

 

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Firing up the Balloon is quite a spectacle, note the rope securing the gondola to the old truck. Just in case.

 

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We seem to be one of the last to get airborn which was a little frustrating waiting but made for a great picture as we ascended.

 

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We rise and descend several times during the flight reaching 3000+ metres on a couple of occasions. ย However dropping into the canyons and gliding past the formations was the most spectacular in our opinion. Like this one as an example.

 

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Close to 3000 metres when I took this picture, how do I know ? ย The altimeter was on the stantion next to me. ย As dawn broke across the valley the colour change was amazing.

 

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Anyway we made it back to terra ferma in one piece, thinking it was well worth the cost. ย I stood next to the pilot by chance for our flight. ย Turkish, good style of a guy (handsome you women would say) with good English. ย A consummate professional, never rushed anything, spoke when he needed to, with just a little humour from time to time. ย Reminded me of myself.

We have a rest day by the pool, an afternoon sleep and go out for dinner. ย Accidentally bump into a young couple from Perth we met on our quad-bike tour the day before and have dinner together. ย You guest it, they had been ballooning in the morning as well, so we had plenty to chat about.

Our journey east into Central Turkey has finished, we now head south-west into Anatolia to explore the lakes and mountains of Turkey.

 

Michael and Pam

 

4 thoughts on “Cappadocia, Turkey. 2015

  1. Gaye Jennings

    After seeing your pics I am now so sorry we too did not put our children’s’ inheritance aside and do the ballooning as we saw so many of them in the skies above our cave hotel on waking early on a few occasions. We also missed doing it in the Valley of the Kings but have done it in Sydney many years ago and found it exhilarating.

    Gaye

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