This winter (2013) we decided to spend Christmas in Goreme, Cappodocia and have fallen in love with another very different Turkey. Here is what we did:
Flying to Kayseri via Istanbul meant we had a few hours to spare at the airport. We took advantage of the Pegasus Hospitality lounge and for 25 TL per person snacked on sandwiches, cakes and fruit. The massage chairs kept us all amused and the WiFi was free so everyone was happy. The flight from Istabul to Kayseri is just 1 hour, we had pre arranged the airport transfer through our Hotel.
On arrival we received a very warm welcome & fresh coffee from Angela, the owner of Taskonak Hotel. Angela armed us with maps and heaps of information to ensure we made the most of our stay in Goreme.
The following day we awoke to blue skies, sunshine, a passing Hot Air Balloon & a stunning view from our Hotel. After a breakfast of homemade pastries, pancakes & freshly made preserves we wrapped up to explore the village.
Firstly we headed off to (one of the many) panoramic viewpoints passing fairy chimneys and cave houses along the way. We wandered around the village & headed off to the Goreme National Park to enjoy the amazing caves & churches with frescoes built into the rocks.
A great day with lots of stunning views and good walks. We finished the day off with dinner at Sultan Caves Restaurant which serves local dishes in a gorgeous setting.
We were all awake just before sunrise to go Hot Air Ballooning! Wow!
Butterfly Balloons collected us from our Hotel. After a light breakfast were taken out of town to see our balloon being inflated. We climbed on board & were treated to spectacular views over the area from Goreme, Pigeon Valley, Rose valley and Monks Valley, all pointed out to us by our pilot during our flight.
We celebrated a safe landing, on the trailer, with Champagne & Mulled Wine, due to low temperatures, this was the moment that Mustafa, our pilot, handed us our flight certificates – a superb start to the day. Then it was back to the Hotel for breakfast & time get ready for the day.
We now understand why it was called Fat Boys Feast! a local bar friends had recommended for Christmas lunch. Great food and fun atmosohere.
First we headed to Kaymakli, one of the 36 Underground Cities in Cappodocia. These troglodyte cave-cities were excavated as early as Hittite times. They have expanded over the centuries as various marauding armies traversed Central Anatolia in search of captives and plunder.
Kaymakli Underground City is built under the hill known as the Citadel of Kaymakli. First opened to visitors in 1964. The people of Kaymakli village have constructed their houses around nearly 100 tunnels of the underground city. The inhabitants of the region still use the most convenient places in the tunnels as cellars, storage areas & stables.
The City has low, narrow and sloping passages, we were able to visit 4 of the 8 floors & we took a guide to make sure we did not get lost.
On the drive back to Goreme we stopped for views over Lovers Valley, visited Fairy Chimneys at Pasabag and took in the sunset at Red Valley.
After Pasabag we headed off to the Zelve Open-Air Museum, once housed one of the largest communities in the region. It is an amazing cave town, honeycombed with dwellings, religious and secular chambers.
Zelve is about 10 km out from Goreme. Until 1924, the Christians and Muslims lived together here in perfect harmony. A great place for exploring cave houses with amazing views throughout the site. There are several walks depending on the amount of time (& energy) you have.
Finally, our last evening in Goreme we searched for something different and found ourselves in the local Indian Restaurant for a superb meal in a very different atmosphere.
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and felt that 4 nights was the perfect duration to see everything in a relaxed manner. We only wish we could visit again in the summer to see Cappodocia in another season and enjoy some of the many walks in that area.
You may wish to combine a sailing holiday with a sightseeing tour & we would be happy to make recommendations, just ask us.