One of the greatest things about travelling is all the “new” you get to experience. This is especially true when you are going to a place that is completely unlike home. Your every sense is on overload just trying to keep up with the constant stream of new input. New sights and sounds, new smells and tastes, even the air can feel different. I think people love travel because its the closest you can get to feeling like a kid again. Its wonderful to recapture that wide-eyed wonder that you see in small children, even if its only temporary. Turkey is definitely a place that brings out that childish excitement. It is nothing like Canada, and frankly is dramatically different than anywhere else we’ve been.As if the different language, customs, religion, food, weather and currency were not enough we wanted to give ourselves an additional shock. We could have started with Istanbul (but not obviously not Constantinople), which a major European capital and tourist draw. Instead we chose Cappadocia as our first stop. This is a region whose topography would be much more at home on the moon than on earth. I mean look at this:
We stayed in a town called Goreme which is built around (and in) the rocky hills of Cappadocia. For centuries the residents carved cave homes instead of having to build walls like those suckers in Europe and Asia. This doesn’t mean the former residents were taking the easy way out. The homes were not simply holes in the ground, they were beautifully carved with care and skill.Those who dwelled in Cappadocia went well beyond just a few rock condos, they built whole cave cities. Suck on that Flintstones. These cities had wells for water and air, kitchens, stables, churches and of course wine presses. Because hey, if you are going to hide underground with 20,000 of your closest friends while rampaging hordes wreak havoc outside, you may as well be drunk. There are dozens of these cities located in the region and likely many still to discover.
The tradition continues to this day and the area is famous for it’s ‘Cave Hotels”. The walls of the rooms are actually naked rock which is pretty awesome as a concept, but not a fantastic conductor of Wi-Fi signals. The tours were great, but the biggest tourist draw is the land itself. The wave like rock formations and the naturally formed “Fairy Chimneys” are an amazing sight to see. Our tour guide let us know that one area was called the Valley of Love due to the extensive collection of chimney’s and their strong resemblance to a part of the male anatomy. Personally we didn’t find them all that similar and suggested he might want to see a doctor.
THE AERIAL APPROACH
In any case the place is incredible, and the best way to see it is from the air. We had the brilliant idea of going up in a balloon and enjoying sailing leisurely over the area. Apparently we were not the only ones to have this thought and were joined by about 2000 other people.Fortunately the other balloons added to the scenery instead of taking away from it. The weather cooperated and it ended up being an incredible morning to go along with the rest of the incredible experiences we had in Cappadocia. We will leave you with some pictures of our flight and our recommendation that you visit this truly unique place.