What can I say really, except that Cappadocia is a magical place. After spending some time in Istanbul, we relocated our journey to Uchisar, a small town in Central Turkey. It was an incredibly quiet, peaceful place after having been in a big, crowded city. Cappadocia is best known for it’s cave homes and underground cities. (Oh, and for hot air ballooning… that post is coming up soon!) Some of the caves are still people’s homes, while others have been converted into hotels and bed & breakfasts for visitors. We were lucky enough to secure a cave bed & breakfast called Taka Ev. The owner was always there to help, made every arrangement for us from airport transportation, to our rental car. We had such an amazing time staying there! Our room was set back into the mountain just past this sitting area. And it was indeed a cave! Some of it had been renovated to be certain. But the seemingly random hole in the wall to the left of the bed… well, that was once used for crushing grapes to make wine! The town was a combination of caves, homes and business that partially used caves, and structures that were built on the mountain (rather than in it). They used materials that blended seamlessly into the mountain and surrounding landscape.
It seemed that every hill was speckled with caves that had been dug out hundreds and hundreds of years ago. And many of them were easy to access. You could just walk right into one and check it out. Sometimes you could even clearly see the distinction between a living room, a room for cooking, and a room for sleeping, really not at all unlike a small suburban house. Nearby in a town called Goreme (a little more highly traveled by out-of-towners) we went into their open air museum, where they had some incredibly elaborate, almost high-rise style cave structures to wander through. The most incredible thing about the open air museum was that there were several ancient Christian sanctuaries with these unbelievable frescos painted from floor to ceiling. We got in trouble for taking these pictures, but I had to include them… and trust me, these weren’t even the most amazing ones there! The columns were perfectly carved and the colors were so vibrant. There was one sanctuary (no pictures, sorry) that actually had the only known depiction of Jesus as a teenager! We made sure to do some hiking through Love Valley. Some of the vegetation reminded me of California in the summer. This farmer had a business set up, off the main road and out of sight. You wouldn’t know it was there unless you hiked by like we did! See why it’s called Love Valley? No I’m not joking, that really is why it’s called Love Valley. We also did a little hiking through the valley just below Uchisar. There is a footpath that connects all of the towns in the nearby area, so you can easily walk from Uchisar to Goreme and beyond. All along this path we came across small local farms. Everything seemed to grow without effort, and we only ever saw one person, or maybe two (usually an old couple) tending to the farms. There is actually a small wine industry in the area as well, and they really were good wines! Any vineyard we passed by seemed tiny, but thriving. In some areas they had even gone so far as to terrace up the hill to make more space. We spent some time wandering through the “downtown” if you can even call it that. Yes, we did indeed bring home a Turkish rug, and it came from this shop. The owner was such a friendly guy and had grown up in the area. He had this incredible collection of keys. There must have been hundreds of them! We loved coming across this group of men hanging out on a bench in the middle of town. They were happy to pose for us, and I like to imagine they’ve been friends since they were kids. Who knows, but don’t they look like it? Looking at these photos again, it’s surreal to think we were ever there. Admittedly we didn’t do as much site seeing as maybe we should have, but we were all so relaxed and felt so peaceful there. It felt natural to just rest, wander, and enjoy the view. This last photo was taken the morning we left as we were just about to get into our shuttle to the airport. It was so hard to leave! We hope to get back there again one day.Wouldn’t you love to take a nap with this view in the backdrop?