When George broke the news that we were joining a guided tour to Cappadocia, I was ecstatic! God is great! Only eight days in Turkey and we were getting a tour to one of its most beautiful places-for free! Isn’t that amazing?
So we left Ankara at 5:30 in the morning and arrived Cappadocia after almost four hours of travel through a rented mini bus. Our first stop was at the Pigeon Valley where my eyes feasted on the majesty of human creativity. We were told that early Cappadocian farmers manually carved these pigeon houses on the hills, placed food for the birds, and collected droppings to be used as natural fertilizers. There were sooo many pigeon houses because for the farmers, more poop spelled more farm produce. Unfortunately, the practice stopped when farmers discovered artificial fertilizers.
There was also a souvenirs shop where we bought ref magnets to include in my growing collection back home.
Also a natural viagra market which amused George so he had his photo taken for souvenir.
Then we went to Göreme Open-Air Museum where we spent about two hours tour time. It was almost like hiking in Albay’s Lignon Hill, only that the stretch is much longer and the view’s a lot better. We saw stone churches where early Christians (including St. Bede) first practiced Christianity, away from the condemning Roman soldiers. There were paintings inside the cave churches and I was in awe of the devotion the early Christians had to be able to express their faith through paintings.
I would have taken pictures inside but it was prohibited. The tour guide said that taking of photos (without flash) inside the caves used to be allowed but was later on banned because many tourists disobeyed. The flash on cameras made the paintings susceptible to fading and the government wanted to do everything to preserve it.
It cost 20 Turkish Lira (approximately Php300) to enter the museum. There was also an option to have an audio guided tour in languages such as French, English, or Chinese/Korean for an additional 50TL (if my memory serves me right). We didn’t need it though because our guide spoke good English, only that her accent made me exert more effort in listening.
Our third stop was another Open-Air Museum that was about 40-45 minutes away from where we had lunch. It was supposedly where, according to our guide, the most beautiful fairy chimneys or rock formations can be found. Indeed, the place did not disappoint. There were animal-looking formations and there were human-looking ones too. They were just so amazing to look at!
There were also several camels that tourists could try riding (for photo ops) for 10 or 15TL. We just weren’t into it.
Then we headed to another museum where early pottery stuff of Cappadocia are kept. There was also live demonstration on how to make a simple red clay pot. I know, I know. I should have taken mental notes and actual photos…but lousy travelers forget to do those! Maybe next time I’d be better at travel blogging.
Our last stop was the Kaymakli Underground City, one of the many underground cities in Cappadocia. These were built by early Christians too in order to avoid persecution. There were several tiny tunnels which we had to pass through in order to see the cave dwellings. The adventure was worth many burnt calories.
After almost seven hours of touring, we headed back to Ankara and slept away our tiredness. I must say that it was a happy, happy experience.