Cappadocia: Part 2 (Photos from the Ground)

We had a wonderful time exploring Cappadocia by foot on the Golden Hiking Tour with New Goreme Tours. Our guide Gulsah was super friendly and knowledgeable about the landscape and history. She also taught us our new favorite Turkish phrase, “Tehlike Benim Adim,” which means “Danger is my name.” This is apparently what Turkish people say upon seeing a sign that says TEHLIKE. On our tour, we explored the Pigeon and Love Valleys as well as the Rose and Red Valleys. It was uber hot but we stopped often at little cafes to hang out with locals, who all seemed to know and like Gulsah. There were lots of places to buy 1TL bottles of water (sweet deals!). Here’s a photo tour of our hike:

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There were butterflies fluttering all around us throughout the hike

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Mushroom caps in the pigeon valley. Can you guess the former water level in this valley?

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The many pigeon coops give Pigeon valley its name

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The beginning of the hike into Love Valley

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Can you guess why Love Valley is called Love Valley? It used to be called Honey Valley before some dirty-minded folk came along…

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Walking down into Red Valley

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People really lived in these walls and also risked their lives to carve homes for the pigeons!

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Rose Valley looks like a fairytale.

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This amazing fresco was inside a cave church. It’s shocking to walk into one of the cave churches and see how spacious it is

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The view at the end of our hike.

After our hike, we walked around Goreme a bit and found a wonderful lamp making shop on Iceridere Sk. It is across the street from the Art by Emre shopThey make lamps out of dried gourds and also offer lamp-making classes. I definitely recommend a stop here, if only to see the beautiful lamps.

We had dinner at Topdeck Goreme, which was quite delicious. They have a huge selection of meze as an appetizer and we all got the many-hours stewed lamb as our main. The chef was super friendly. My friend wanted to know what spices to buy in Turkey and he essentially brought out his entire spice rack to show us his favorites and share recipes. Make reservations if you want to go here; people were definitely turned away throughout the night. We also stopped by the supermarket next to the Korean restaurant on the main two-way road and found some awesome Turkish delight for 2.75 TL by the company Servet. I usually don’t like Turkish delight because it’s too sweet but this brand was just right.

I should mention that we stayed at the wonderful Safran Cave Hotel. Our room was large and clean. The owner’s son Omar arranged airport shuttles for us and even took us to Avanos to see the market (more on this in the next post). The entire family was uber nice and the breakfast here is delicious. Seriously, that breakfast was the best; there was borek (fried flaky dough with cheese inside), simit (kind of like a sesame bagel), lots of fruit (watermelon and regular melon were especially tasty), cheese, eggs, olives, juice, tea, pretty much everything you could want out of breakfast, and you also get a lovely view of Goreme from the breakfast area.

Hope you enjoyed Cappadocia, we’re going to make a quick stop in Avanos before we leave this region…

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