7 June 2011

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After his “Full Body Latte” as Aurel would call it, the bus was feeling much better, but we were pretty worn out and consequently got a late start on the road to Cappadocia.

Cappadocia is about 70km from Kayseri, smack dab in the middle of Turkey and is known as The Land of the Fairy Chimneys, famous for it’s breathtaking views and rock formations, which pop up out of the high desert landscape and were once (and still are in some places) homes for cave dwellers.

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The area is made up a few different villages, sheltered all around by mountains so it’s not visible from afar, but once you drive into this enchanted valley, the landscape is absolutely out of this world. The scale, scenery, and architecture, are straight out of a fairytale.

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We drove in from the east snaking our way down into the valley on steep, twisting roads. We parked the bus and decided to hike between Uchisar and Goreme, a 4km hike on a high plain above the White Valley and the Valley of Love that was highly recommended by a good friend.

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After ten minutes of beautiful views and vistas, a huge clap of thunder directed our eyes west where an enormous dark grey cloud was hissing and spitting. We searched for some kind of shelter on the mesa we were hiking along. There was not even a leafy tree to huddle under!

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Down in the valley below we could see the bubbles and mushrooms of rock were dotted with little eyes and mouths—the openings to little caves. Hoping to stay dry, we scrambled down the rock face into the valley, surfing at times over the slippery smooth surfaces with even our best sneaker soles sliding down the water shined rocks.

The valley was cool and damp, with green all around us. Little stands of Irises shot their dark purple loveliness above the blades of their leaves, patches of tall shiny grasses moved in a quiet rhythm, and Russian Olive trees each with a green-silver mist of foliage stood in every direction. The cave we chose had a small entrance but opened up into a good size room where we played with the acoustics and stayed dry while outside it rained lightly.

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After the rain we continued our hike below in the Valley, amazed by the scenery all around. The pictures explain how beautiful it was much better than words.

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The White Valley
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The Valley of Love
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The Valley of Love
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We didn’t have time to explore the rest of Cappadocia where there are ancient churches and caves with paintings and an entire underground city of rooms and tunnels where Christians hid for years. But we were enchanted by even the 6 hours we spent in the valley. At around 4pm we got back into the bus and headed north toward Ankara and Istanbul.

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