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. Would have enjoyed it more in someone else’s motorhome. But it had to be done and that’s what a touring holiday is all about. We bypassed Ankora, the nation’s capital and continue south. 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.
It’s been a long day we have the co-ordinates for our campsite (recommended by Jenny and Ewout, fellow motorhomers from Adelaide). As we enter Goreme, what now seems like a typically Turkish thing happens, another lollipop man and road works. He points up an impossible steep, cobblestone path. 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. 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.
We had talked about the hot air ballooning some months ago but Pam had dismissed it out of hand. 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. 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. The area is most renown for its fascinating topography and human history. There are more than 500 churches carved into the sandstone rock in the maze of canyons near Goreme. 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. But like similar isolated area in other parts of the world it was about religious freedom or freedom from persecution.
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. 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.
Much too my surprise Pam said we shouldn’t come all this way and not do the balloon ride. 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.
We have a rest day by the pool, an afternoon sleep and go out for dinner. Accidentally bump into a young couple from Perth we met on our quad-bike tour the day before and have dinner together. 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