A Travellerspoint blog

CAPPADOCIA, TURKEY

Hot air ballooning, Goreme Open Air Museum, Love Valley, Uchisar Castle, Urgrup ... and I stayed in a cave hotel!!

sunny 20 °C

large_IMG_0049-001.jpg
Cappadocia ... WOW! Its as awesome as I was hoping it would be! From hot air ballooning over the valley of hoodoos, to cave dwellings and underground cities ... such a unique place to explore!

I arrived in Neveshir in the Cappadocia region of Turkey via a 12hr night bus from Istanbul. The bus was $33CAD, did not have a toilet, and only stopped twice. So if you are like me and have a small bladder ... don't drink too much of anything or you'll never make it, lol! I arrived in Neveshir around 7:30am, and then had to wait about 30min for the free shuttle to Goreme.

I really wanted to stay in a cave hotel, but expected them to be expensive. But I found a great deal on Expedia the night before for Castle Cave House ... only $36 to sleep in a cave converted to a hotel!
large_IMG_9935-001.jpg
large_IMG_9932-001.jpg
large_IMG_9931-001.jpg
It was very basic (there were definitely fancier ones once I walked around town, but this one was in my budget)
large_DFD346A495275EC3C486340C2273AFB3.jpg
Communal living room area
large_DFFD8722E67CFFA77D41E123D8694704.jpg
The bathroom was great - hot shower with lots of pressure, and there was even a heater in the bathroom! I was here in Late October so evenings were chilly.
large_IMG_9605-001.jpg
View from my bedroom window
large_DF98E299DC31C3DC609924459CE00D80.jpg
large_IMG_0245-001.jpg
View from the rooftop terrace
large_DFA5594D98F51E5294896F3FC454234F.jpg

After checking in I walked around the town a bit. I came across this fancy cave hotel - I'm assuming it was way out of my budget, lol!
large_IMG_0266-001.jpg
large_IMG_0257-001.jpg
large_IMG_0251-001.jpg
large_IMG_0241-001.jpg
Turkish flag
large_IMG_0265-001.jpg
Souvenirs for sale
large_DF882E24946CF85D8A5BF7F1F4C44727.jpg
large_IMG_0272-001.jpg
I tried some Turkish Delight, which was quite pricey. 4 little pieces for $2CAD. None were good enough to buy more. Its just basically flavored jelly candy. Two of them I couldn't figure out the flavor, another was green with a hazelnut on top but tasted like banana, and the other was rose water. That shouldn't even be allowed to be a flavor, bleh.
large_DFB2125AA7A552D24F71E427ACAD5D3A.jpg

When I returned from my walk, the owner of my hotel asked if he could take me sightseeing on his scooter. He said I could pay him whatever I felt was fair. I ended up giving him 100L ($50CAD).I probably could have given less, but on my walk I had noticed tour agencies offering bus tours for that price. Except bus tours only go to a few places, and he took me to all the places I wanted to see! A full day of sightseeing, crossing everything off my list, staying at each place as long as I wanted rather than being stuck on a tour's itinerary, was worth $50 to me.
large_IMG_9855-001.jpg
Our first stop was Goreme Open Air Museum. Admission was 20L ($10CAD). In all honesty, this place is a tad overrated and over priced. A lot of the cave dwellings were blocked off by chains or ropes, and the ones you were allowed into you could not take photos in. For $0 you can pull over on the side of the road at any other cave dwelling and climb all over it, taking as many photos as you want.
large_IMG_9662-001.jpg
large_E0F8DFF4FD164E6D4D6C78BDC1CAC8FF.jpg
large_IMG_9671-001.jpg
large_IMG_9676-001.jpg
large_IMG_9657-001.jpg
large_E06E3509C9C1DA08967689163A6075A8.jpg
I was able to sneak a few photos inside one of the dwellings before being yelled at by a guard. A lot of the dwellings were ancient churches.
large_IMG_9623-001.jpg
large_IMG_9646-001.jpg
large_E048E072A6B67306270C6A293122E286.jpg
A tunnel I had to crouch down to get through
large_IMG_9620-001.jpg
After about 30min here I asked my new friend to take me to more cave dwellings that I could climb on and explore better. So he took me to Urgrup ... which is free! Perfect price for me :)
large_IMG_9736-001.jpg
large_IMG_9728-001.jpg
large_IMG_9744-001.jpg
Nearby were a few restaurants, ice cream stand, souvenir stands, a camel waiting to have his photo taken with tourists, and a cute little puppy :)
large_IMG_9692-001.jpg
large_IMG_9774-001.jpg
large_IMG_9793-001.jpg
In the same area there is a hill to climb for great views over the area!
large_IMG_9807-001.jpg
View over Urgrup
large_IMG_9787-001.jpg
large_10634FD9FE700522F5AA0AEF7FD701B2.jpg
The next stop was Love Valley ... or "The Valley of Giant Penises" as I call it, LOL! Its definitely obvious how this place got its name!!
large_IMG_9841-001.jpg
large_IMG_9852-001.jpg
large_F9B0E851BF750220A6FC2D75A1D7C152.jpg
large_IMG_9862-001.jpg
Look for our little scooter ... the hoodoos/fairy chimneys/giant penises are massive!
large_IMG_9871-001.jpg
large_IMG_9875-001.jpg
large_IMG_9873-001.jpg

Then we headed over to Uchisar Castle. Ah-MAY-zing!! Its the biggest cave dwelling of them all! A whole city carved into it! Now there's a staircase built on one side so you can climb to the top for great views. Admission is 6L ($3CAD).
large_IMG_9918-001.jpg
large_IMG_9886-001.jpg
large_IMG_9921-001.jpg
360 degree views!
large_IMG_9900-001.jpg
large_IMG_9905-001.jpg
large_IMG_9915-001.jpg
large_0BDD921B069ABFB6C9694DFFED3F04FC.jpg
People really still live in cave houses! Just like the Flintstones :)
large_IMG_9906-001.jpg

Just outside of the castle a little market was set up selling all kinds of stuff. They let me sample stuff before buying it :)
large_IMG_9916-001.jpg
large_IMG_9917-001.jpg
large_08A586A2F9840736EA101E710617C4EB.jpg
large_IMG_9883-001.jpg
Turkish delight
large_087EAEA0B3590E16C5BF1ADFD745A0AD.jpg
large_IMG_9880-001.jpg
large_IMG_9879-001.jpg

My new friend also helped me book a hot air balloon ride for the next morning. It cost $190USD. Pickup & dropoff were included, as was a small breakfast.
large_IMG_0239-001.jpg
Pickup was at 5am, while it was still dark. We were brought to the tour company's office where a small breakfast was served (just biscuits & coffee/tea). Then we were rounded up and driven out to where the balloons were being inflated. It was neat seeing 100s of balloons being illuminated in the dark as they were all being inflated!
large_IMG_9957-001.jpg
large_IMG_9973-001.jpg
large_IMG_9969-001.jpg
large_IMG_9959-001.jpg
large_IMG_9964-001.jpg
large_IMG_0228-001.jpg
My one complaint is that there were way too many people in the basket ... 28! The tall people (myself included) were stuck in the back, and the short people got to stand in front. So in order to see over the basket's edge I had to fight my way to the front each time :( Below: I'm the one in the toque.
large_IMG_9985-001.jpg
large_IMG_9980-001.jpg
large_IMG_9981-001.jpg
Once we were all crammed inside and everyone had a photo op, it was lift off time! This was my first ever hot air balloon ride so I had no idea what to expect. It was a completely calm & smooth ride. I really couldn't feel anything at all! It was just like we were floating :)
large_IMG_0003-001.jpg
large_DCD53B6FB92942D2442FCB21F472B72A.jpg
Bumping balloons
large_DCEE1946F3240A27FB58E7C44F508B44.jpg
The view over Goreme. We were 800m high!
large_IMG_0037-001.jpg
large_IMG_0014-001.jpg
large_IMG_0006-001.jpg
large_IMG_0061-001.jpg
large_IMG_0184-001.jpg
The flight is timed perfectly with the sunrise. There is a 2nd flight that takes off after sunset which is cheaper, but I recommend splurging on the sunset!
large_IMG_0136-001.jpg
large_IMG_0086-001.jpg
large_IMG_0068-001.jpg
large_DCB1E650F799E1A0B253E978C01CB28A.jpg
I forgot to time how long it was, but if felt like an hour or so. We landed in Love Valley amongst all the giant penises, lol!
large_IMG_0161-001.jpg
large_IMG_0204-001.jpg
large_DD349ECBECEE3D05202E3D932686F15B.jpg

The hotel owner let me stay until 9pm before checking out at no extra charge! Probably cuz I over paid for the scooter tour. He also then scooted me to the otogar (bus station) for yet another night bus. This time I was headed to Pamukkale!

Posted by ChantelleS 12:10 Archived in Turkey Tagged caves cappadocia balloon turkey air hot europe asia fairy chimney

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint