Johanna 's Travel Blog

December 29, 01:32 PM
Goreme, Turkey

We took an overnight bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia (Kapadokya) by way of two little jumper buses. The larger bus had TV screens in front of each chair where the mesmerizing turkish channels included a soap opera, cartoon network of sorts and my personal favorite which was a live feed from a camera at the front of the bus. A few hours in the screens and all overhead lights shut off and I was a able to catch some shut eye (aided greatly by sleeping pills). We observed that women were always assigned seats next to other women. The bus assistant also filled our cups with instant tea, coffee and soda for the children twice. James and I gobbled some sandwiches we made the day before.

We arrived in Nevsehir around 9am and with some Turkish help arrived at our hotel in Goreme shortly thereafter. Goreme is a tiny town (triangularly oriented with tourist shops and scatted restaurants on two sides and a bus depot and travel agencies and ATMs on the third), surrounded by bizarre rock formations, like endless phallic treehouses and human-sized termite mounds. James described it as ‘other worldly Cappadocia, land of ant-farm cities and monkish cave paintings.’

We are staying at an absolutely beautiful hotel called Kelebek Special Cave Hotel , with a bountiful breakfast and ornately stark cave and stone rooms. 80 euros a night buys such luxury! Thank you Norah for the suggestion! Sadly we will be leaving tomorrow too early to take advantage of the hamam though I’m really excited to try a Turkish massage.

Somewhat exhausted but exhilarated to be in the sunshine and surrounding by breath-taking volcanic rock formations, we set off (by foot) to the open air museums in the hills. It was astounding to see such detailed paintings from the 10th and 11th centuries in structures build in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. See photos.

We also wondered to El Nazar Church. The very kind site attendant welcomed us into his office for tea and after some brief negotiating, gave us a reduced rate and embellished descriptions in which he compared me to an angel and pointed James toward the jail cell to spend the night.

Our negotiation went something like this:

Kindly Attendant: Hello, Hello
Johanna: That's a scary dog.
KA: You want see church?
James: The door was looked when we tried.
KA: Aha! Have key, come come. 
Johanna: Ok!
James: How much money?
KA: 8 TL each person, you 8, you 8.
Johanna looking at James: Er, thank you, but too much money.
KA: OK, ok, for you 8 for both.
James: Yes, 8.
Johanna: (handing him the money) Thank you. 
KA: We go now.
James: Can we take pictures?
KA: Normally, no.  Well, okay.  You argue well.
KA: Tomorrow you come back. We go to secret cave. Only you. 
James: We are leaving tomorrow, sorry, another time.
KA: Free tour, only you.
Johanna: That scary dog is barking at me.

We walked back munching on pocketed breakfast cookies and dried apricots.

Finally we checked into our room and took showers and promptly fell asleep for 2 hours until we were awoken by the call to prayer at 6:30. Then we tramped back down the hill bundled up in our coats, hats and gloves (I almost regretted the decision not to bring the comedicly large and fuzzy polar bear hat James got me for Christmas) and found a nice pide place (part calzone, part flat bread with toppings) and had a filling meal which included free tea in the lovely tulip shaped glasses.

Now back the the cave hotel, we are reading and writing by a fire in the common area and might attempted to start one in our room with the kindling.

Side note about the history of the tulip: the shape is like that of a curved blade and the almond.

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