despite all of our difficulties getting here, Goreme has been one of the highlights of turkey. goreme is a small town located in the region of turkey called cappadocia. this area was covered by volcanic ash thousands of years ago, and gives it a complete unique and unearthly landscape. there are rock hills everywhere with crazy unusual ridges, bizarre rock formations, “fairy chimneys”, and intricate valleys. because the landcape is made out of ash, it’s actually incredibly soft (for rock) and is quite easy to dig through w/ even primitive tools. because of that, people here have for thousands of years lived *inside* the landscape. people have built homes, churches, and othe building directly into the mountains and a lot of the population to this very day live in these cave homes.
the town of goreme in the hills
one of the things hella people that come to this town look forward to is staying in one of these caves. of course, living in a cave has it’s drawbacks… it’s definitely not the warmest place around, but our hotel has central heating (in the caves!). unfortunately, the heating is only on in the evening time, but it still helps! so, the first day, after our hellish bus ride, we went straight to our cave and went immediately to sleep. we were so tired! we didnt get up for hours, and then went outside to trry to get food. it gets dark early here!! by the time it’s around 4:45 pm it’s already getting dark! still even at night, walking around town and checking out eh environment surrounding it was cool. this place is so beautiful!! anyways, due to our incredibly late start that day, i dont have all that much to report for the first day…
our cave room
cave rooms from the outside
the second day here, we woke up and it was raining. actually, it wasnt raining, it was pouring like crazy! this is when we started getting worried. it’s late fall here, and it supposedly rains a lot here in turkey at that time. what if it rains like cdrazy for the resty of our time here? how are we gonna see anything? in other places, where we do as lot of stuff indoors, it wouldnt be too much of a problem, but here, when everything we want to see is outside???
well, we were determnined to at least see something, so we put on some ponchos and ventured out. near town is this “open air museum” which is an large outdoor area with a bunch of rock cut churches. it was pretty crazy. the churches were just carved out of the mountainside, and when you walk in you could see intricate archways, tables cut out of rock, graves cut out of rock, and hundred year old frescos. this outside area had many many of these churches and it was pretty interesting to wander through the random caves, climb the laddres, and check out random tunnels.
churches etc carved into the rock
eventually though, the rain became too much to deal with. we were getting drenched and we were freezing so we headed back to our cave hotel to get warm. at our hotel, we ran into jenny and mitchell, this canadian couple that we keep runnig into. w e first met them when we were applying for our syrian visa in istanbul, and ever since then (since most travelers in turkey follow a similar path), we keep bumping into them in each town we go to. they happened to be staying at the same hotel as us, so this time we got to hang out w/ them more than before.
we had heard about this wine bar called the “red red wine” from the owner of the Flinstone’s internet cafe (we talked to this guy a bunch of times.. he’s really cool and happens to own at least 4 of the businesses here around town). we decided to go down there and check it out, so we went w/ jenny, mitchell, and this girl molly from new york who we had talked to a bunch the day before at the hotel. this wine bar ended up being awesome!! the place was totaly chill, with a fireplace, candlelight, and people playing live mellow turkish music. the wine was cheap (2 bucks for a full to the brim glass) and we all smoked the nargileh as well. we allhad a great time, and it was a lot of fun to just get to hang out, kick back, and have drinks w/ some americans again!
after a while, the bar kicked it up a notch. the people who were playing their musical instruments got really into it, and soon all the turks in the room started singing along. next thig we know, hella people are getting up and dancing and stuff. it was hella cool. it was really neat how all the turks that were there knew all the words to the traditional songs. anyways, all of us ended up having a really good time there, and decided that we had to come back!
the next day, after a delicious Menemen (a mix of scrambled eggs, sweet peppers, onions and spices) from our hotel, we went out for a hike to check out the beautiful terrain. we went to a place called Honey Valley which joined up w/ a place called Love Valley. trying to find the trail to start w/ was quiet difficult. the trail wasn’t clearly markes (read: competely unmarked) and wasn’t exactly always a trail (sometimes we would have to just folow a river). trying to get down into the valley, we accidentally took the wrong path, and ended up at a sheer dropoff that went down several stories. oops!! we retraced our steps and finally found our way into the valley.
the hike we did was amazingly beautiful. the rock formations all around us looked so damn cool, and i realy wish that i had the words to explain just how neat they were. the hike wasn’t super long, but we had a super great time just wandering down through the valley and checking stuff out.
after the hike, we met up w/ jenny and mitchell and their friends Comby and Sarah (irish and australian respectively) and went down to the Red Red Wine again. heh, it’s becoming our local hang out now! not only is it nice to have a local hang out for the 4 days that we’re in town, but we now have a posse as well. we’ve bene hanging out w/ these same people for the last few days, and we’re all gonna come down to syria together. it’s cool to have a clique of people to hang out w/ for an extended amount of time. we’re so used to just saying hello, having a conversation w/ people, and then never seeing them again! Red Red Wine has a dvd player for people to watch movies on, but unfortunately it wasn’t working. oh well… back to nargilehs and beer and wine. surprisingly, no one complained ;). while kicking it at the wine bar, we got to know the waiter guy who works there. he’s incrdeibly nice, and has hooked us up w/ free wine, free beer, and shared his own hookah w/ us. talking to him was hellza interesting as well. after another delicious turkish dinner, we went to sleep.