7.28.2015

sleeping in a cave, an underground city and surprise mountains

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in cappadocia, we slept in a cave. deciding on accommodation there took by far the longest of any of our destinations while we were planning the trip, because there are soooo many super cool cave hotels! we were kind of obsessed with sorting through the different cavey room options, and once we got to our hotel we were kind of obsessed with the cave dwelling experience. i mean…our bedroom was literally hewn out of rock.

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^^ we also had this sweet little sitting room attached to our bedroom! cappadocia was one place where we splurged a bit on accommodation, because it’s such a part of the experience! ^^

on our last morning in cappadocia, i woke up early and walked down the street of our hotel to watch the balloons fly. it was pretty otherworldly to watch, especially because we had been in one of those balloons! and just because it was so mesmerizingly beautiful. 

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and then i came back for breakfast on our terrace at the hotel. aren’t the eating options and the setting so pretty?

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after breakfast, we drove to the derinkuyu underground city – one of many (most of which are not fully excavated) ancient, multi-level subterranean communities in the cappadocia area. approximately 20,000 christians (and their livestock!) lived up to 60 meters underground in this city sometime between the 5th and 10th centuries, in efforts to protect themselves from persecution. it was absolutely crazy to descend down into this space and imagine life there – a humbling and fascinating experience. we explored around what used to be homes, meeting places, churches, schools, wineries, etc., through many very narrow and very short passageways. amazing.

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we stopped for some treats – freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and theeee most delicious turkish ice cream (both of which were on so many street corners everywhere we went) and then continued our drive back around to goreme, but the long way. we were totally surprised to find, so close to the wild fairy chimney formations we had flown over and explored, massive snowcapped mountains and stretching vivid green fields.  isn’t that little town in the shadow of the peaks so so charming?!

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we stopped at ihlara valley, yet another different geological wonder in the area. the steep, jaggedy walls of the valley were carved by volcanic eruptions, and the river flowing through was refreshing to take a little stroll along. there were also some ancient churches carved out of the cliffs with amazing, well-preserved frescoes.

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before we left to go back to the airport and fly to istanbul, we stopped at a cafe with a sweeping vast view of cappadocia badlands – a perfect ending to our time in that magical place.

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7.27.2015

cave dwellings and fairy chimneys

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after our hot air balloon ride (and a heafy nap!), we explored around the whimsical, charming, and strangely beautiful villages of cappadocia. when i first saw pictures of this place, i was taken back that something like this excited on our planet earth, and being there in the flesh i was even more genuinely amazed. the wildly eroded landscape of this area has been a refuge for people for centuries – cave dwellers inhabited the green and gold land long long ago, early christians dug into the soft rock to hide, and today many come through to simply enjoy the uniqueness of this spot.

the two days we spent in the cappadocia valleys were balmy and full of quite relaxed fun. we loved scrambling through different areas where we could really explore caves and fairy chimneys (that’s what they call the rocks that singularly stick straight up, like the one in the picture on the left, and isn’t that just magical?!). we had delicious food, met really kind and funny people, were impressed and humbled by history, and we slept in a cave, which was just pretty really cool. IMG_8200
^^ here was our view from breakfast at our cave hotel. ^^
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^^ a pretty good spot to eat breakfast under the sun! ^^
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^^ in the town center in the village of goreme. just a crazy jutting rock formation dotted with caves – nbd. and beautiful textiles in street side shops! ^^
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^^ we bought a magnet in each place we visited, to start a collection that we plan to continue to add to throughout the years ahead. we were constantly looking for stellar magnets everywhere we went. cappadocia had some great options! ^^
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^^ shopkeepers on their smartphones – a sight common to every single stop on our trip. ^^
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^^ this is at the goreme open air museum, which is such a neat place! we strolled around and entered lots of different caves, some of which were churches and some of which were burial places and some of which were dwellings. it was so neat to imagine life there centuries ago. ^^
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^^ the remains of carvings and paintings in a cave church. these were everywhere around cappadocia, not just at the museum. we went inside many cave churches that were remarkably well preserved…^^
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^^ like this one! iiiiincredible. we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, so i lifted this photo from here to help me remember that i was pretty awestruck inside those caves. ^^
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^^ also, there were wildflowers everywhere. so pretty! ^^
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^^ i love this man. ^^
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^^ on our walk to lunch we passed through lots of cute alleys and sidewalk shops selling beautiful things. ^^
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^^ for lunch we had a testi kebab, an anatolian specialty – meat and vegetables cooked inside a clay pot that had to be hammered open by our waiter! it was really, really tasty. ^^
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^^ a view from our drive to the village of uchisar, which boasts a cave “castle” on top of a hill. ^^
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^^ i loved this dried fruit and nut stand in front of the entrance to the castle. ^^
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^^ and of course these wildflowers! ^^
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^^ the view from the top of the castle, and more nuts and dried fruit because isn’t that so beautiful?! ^^
more views from the top:
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^^ as we headed back down, we decided to follow some paths to scramble in and around some different cave dwellings. it was so much fun to explore. ^^
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^^ inside someone’s home, inside of a rock!, centuries ago! not a bad view from the “window”… ^^
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^^ we love trying random foods or treats in foreign places, and that strawberry soda was really, really delicious. (and ian’s navigating skills with the iphone and rental car were top notch!) and… more streetside shops selling beautiful patterns. ^^
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^^ we headed to “rose valley” around sunset time to see the pinkish/redish rock there. we took a little walk among the green grasses and pretty wildflowers. ^^
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^^ along the drive back to goreme. horses. ^^
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^^ we rushed to catch sunset from a viewpoint back in goreme, and kind of missed it trying to get up high. but it was still wonderful to see the landscape bathed in descending light. ^^
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amazing day in an amazing place!!

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