Cappadocia from above and underground

{ November 2009 - Cappadocia, Turkey }

We started the day cold and early for a hot-air balloon ride. We were initially reluctant to spend the exorbitant amount of money for the ride. However, we thought it could probably be a once in a lifetime experience as it would be the first time for both of us to be up on a hot-air balloon. After reading many great reviews, I was looking forward to it.

And it was simply breathtaking! Although I do have to admit that it was quite scary whenever I looked down, the view and the sunrise was amazing. The surreal and moon-like landscape that looked weird the day before, was even more interesting from above. We saw the fairy chimneys and the rock-cut houses, the pigeon holes and the vast landscape of Cappadocia. At some point in time, we were more than 1000 metres above ground!

After around an hour, we landed - directly onto the truck to save them from having to pull it back up I assumed - and were presented with champagne and certificates. It was a great start to a beautiful morning in Cappadocia.

We rested and had breakfast back in our bed and breakfast before leaving for another tour around the area. We hiked up for even more amazing views of Rose Valley.

We then went to the nearby Cavusin Village and visited some abandoned houses carved into the rocks.

Next, we went to Kaymakli Underground Town, one of the many underground towns in Cappadocia. It was bigger and more impressive than the tunnels in Cu Chi, Vietnam. They have stables, rooms, kitchens, pantry, wine cellars, chapel and many others. It was carved out of the relatively soft rocks in that area, and was built to shelter the town from invading armies. It was believed that there were many more of these underground cities that has not been explored or even found.

This was a large stone slab that was could be rolled to block the passages.

At night, we took a walk around the town centre of Ürgüp. It was a relatively small town but with many restaurants and shops selling all sorts of Turkish souvenirs. We had dinner at a relatively small and quiet restaurant that serves great guvec – stew baked in claypot.

After a long day spent above Cappadocia on a hot air balloon, hiking up for an amazing view of the landscape and then underground, Cappadocia provided us with an experience not found anywhere else in Turkey.

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