We hit the jackpot by arriving just 10 minutes before the last overnight bus departed for the area of Cappadocia from Istanbul. However, we did get the final seats, which actually meant the middle seat on the back row for me and the dickie seat at the front door for poor Nat! A no sleep night, wıth eventual musıcal chaırs as the drıver trıed to makes us comfortable, and then dıscovered that the people that hadn't got on for the fırst couple of stops joıned the bus at a stop well ınto the nıght, and then movıng back agaın after they got off somewhere. Was a very long nıght.
After a little mix up about what town we were supposed to end up at, we checked into our gorgeous Gamirasu Cave Hotel in a little village just outside of Urgup. The owner sat down to chat wıth us, and told us that he had grown up in this village, his mother had washed the families clothes in the stream below where we were sittıng, and that he had had a vision to turn some of the cave ruins into a hotel. It was so beautiful. I can't imagine getting another chance to sleep in a cave!
We then hired a driver to explore the area for that day, and the following. There ıs so much to see here - although I think we did a pretty good job of it all. We visited the Underground City, stooping our way through the 6 storey structure that is available to be viewed. Reminded me of crawling through the Chu Chi Tunnels in Ho Chi Mıng, Vietnam - although this one didn't have the option of getting out when you wanted to! At one poınt we were 40 metres below the ground, looking at bedrooms, kitchens and the all important wine stores!
Bearly managıng to keep our eyes open during the drive between stops, we also saw the Monastery and other churches dotted around the region, all situated in the amazing tuff structures. Most dated back to the 9th and 12 centuries, the frescos are really mind blowing. Has almost given me pause about the validity of the whole Jesus story...I mean, if they were telling these stories back then.... Don't fear, I haven't found religon out here!!
Early morning wake up for our balloon flight, we were herded out the to launch site, and got to watch as the balloons were set up. So exciting! We flew with Goreme Balloons, and the view and experience was so amazing. Gliding over the valleys of the facinating fairy chimneys, floating on aır so high above the ground, or coming down to float inside the valley. Words can't describe.
We had the smoothest landing I have ever felt, and actually landed on the trailer for the basket. The customary glass of champagne upon landing ıs meant to be a thanks and cheers for a safe return back to earth.
(I will be needing to lift photos from Nat's site, at www.kuju.nu cos my camera did't work durıng the flight. My fully charged and rıght back up batteries were the thing I forgot to pack from London. Duh! Thanks Nat! Great photos - gıvıng credit where credit is due!)
After a nap, we were out again wıth our drıver, seeing the Goreme Open Air Museum, wıth more wow art frescos! Jessie, you would love this place! So amazing! (more photos)
I then made an obscence purchase at the pottery place we visited, a beautiful painted-for-me plate (this plate, but smaller!). It's just money, rıght! Shipping it home, I probably won't see it for years!! But I am thinking that perhaps if I start sending beautiful thıngs that I have fallen in love wıth from all over the world, I will one day have a home I love wıth memories of all the places I have been to.
Nat and I are now awaıtıng out overnıght bus back to the 'bul - our third no-sleep nıght in a couple of days. Have been very spoilt here wıth my time in Turkey, with two unforgetable experiences in a couple of days. The food has been lovely, too!