Posted by: David Stewart | June 15, 2013

Balloons over Cappadocia – Goreme’s rad rocks in Turkey

This is part of a series of posts about our Spring 2013 trip

DSC00190Goreme Outdoor Museum

Wednesday, April 24

Our first full day in Cappadocia started with the roar of hot air balloons above the hotel. There were dozens of balloons cruising over town and across the valleys. It seemed crazy – like a hot air balloon rally.

Typical morning breakfast, shared by Susan Stewart

Typical morning breakfast, shared by Susan Stewart

Breakfast at the hotel was similar to all of our breakfasts in Turkey – sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, cheeses and breads. This time we had a dish of mixed fries and tomatoes, and fried rolls of bread and cheese and cherry preserve and honey. The bread rolls were really terrific – crispy crust with soft crumb – awesome.

Goreme Outdoor Museum

Nunnery at the Goreme Open Air Museum

After breakfast, we walked to the Goreme Open Air Museum. This is a cave monastery where Christians escaped the world. Unlike the underground city of Derinkuyu, these were Christians who wanted to escape the church which they felt had become corrupt and live more simply. These cave cities include homes and churches with amazing wall paintings. The frescoes were vivid portraits from the life of Christ and other stories from the Bible. Sadly, most of the figures had their eyes scratched out, because there is superstition in Turkey about the “evil eye”.

After climbing around the cave town, we stopped in a nearby restaurant and had lunch. Then we hiked up the road behind the Open Air Museum towards the next town. There was another cave church that we climbed through, and then climbed through the valley back to Goreme.
Goreme Outdoor Museum
At this point, we decided to check out the only ham am or Turkish Bath in town. This included a change out of street clothes into a pair of shorts and sandals they provide. Then our faces were painted with a mask, some kind of grey stuff. Then a sit in a sauna, and then you are led into the hamam itself. Here you sit and are doused with warm water and told to wash, then you lie down and the skin is scraped off. Then you are rinsed off and then lie down again on the warm marble slab and soaped and massaged. Finally another warm rinse off and a soak in a jacuzzi. Afterwards, you are toweled off and recline with a cup of apple tea.  Unfortunately, Deb and Susan didn’t have as good an experience on their side, since there was a massive Belgian tour group coming through which dominated the facility and overwhelmed it.

For dinner, we decided to track down a restaurant called the Seten Restaurant which had been highly rated in our Lonely Planet Guide Book. Unfortunately we misread the map and didn’t find it. Instead we stopped at a “Local Restaurant” (that was the name of it) and had a fairly disappointing dinner, with us being the only patrons. Chalk that one up to a lesson.

There are many more amazing photos of this outlandish geography in this Flickr set

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