Turkey; Cappadocia And Its Magical Landscape

Written By Hajra Khatoon, Travel Story

The thirdTurkey Map in the travel interview series, we explore the ravisher Cappadocia in Turkey. Mary Nolan, an Ireland resident reveals her sojourn...

A little bit about the traveler:

Mary Nolan, fifty something mother of four, is a primary school teacher and has lived and worked in a small village in the south east of Ireland. She loves to travel and usually combines this with her passion for photography.

Her favorite holiday destination:

In recent years she has traveled to Turkey three or four times a year. Its rich and varied culture made every trip an adventure for her. Turkey provides the best of everything – history, sun, sea and a wonderful cuisine to compliment all that, because the country is so vast they say that you can find all four seasons here at any given time. While she usually bases herself on the west coast she likes to explore the rest of the country and Cappadocia is the most interesting place she visited here.

Cappadocia is an area of natural wonder, steeped in history.  Its lunar-like landscape was formed by tufa from volcanic eruptions which has become eroded over the years into “fairy chimneys” caves, clefts and folds in the rock. It is this landscape that initially attracted her to the area and as she recalls, "Every corner you turn there is a new vista waiting and all you want to do is to nudge the person beside you and say “Wow!”".

The Stay and the experience:

They stayed in the Kelebek Hotel in Goreme. This is a cave hotel and offers rooms for every budget, from luxury suites to rooms with shared bathroom. She mocks "Our bedroom was a cave room in what was originally the stables".

"We had three full days to explore the area.  As we sat eating our breakfast on the first morning, we watched the hot air balloons drift by" she says. This is not a cheap activity, but if you plan to visit Cappadocia, you should build the cost of the balloon ride into your budget. It is a must do. "I’m scared of heights, my husband suffers from motion sickness, but it was the most unforgettable experience of our trip, a wonderful way to view this magical landscape", she smiles excitedly.

"We visited the Goreme Outdoor Museum" she said, it was one of a kind museum she ever visited. The natural rock formations are hollowed out by Christians, many centuries before, to form churches. The original frescoes are still to be seen on the walls.

Moving on, they visit the underground city of Kaymakli that has 7 different levels, 4 of which are open to the public. It was used by the Christians in times of persecution. It was never meant for continuous occupation but was only used in times of danger. There are 14 known underground cities in the region.

If you have had enough of the history and culture you can get out and explore the many valleys, Rose Valley, Pigeon Valley, Love Valley (so called for its phallic like rock formations) or the beautiful green Ihlara Valley, a gorge carved by a small stream.

"We spent our evenings in the restaurants in downtown Goreme, sitting on the floor to eat testi kebab, a dish that must be ordered at least 10 hours in advance as it is slow cooked in a sealed clay pot and then opened and served at your table", she advised. Another evening, they spent listening to traditional music in one of the pavement restaurants where we shared our table with a Libyan couple and their six month old baby.

Let’s talk Money:

One of the major advantages of Cappadocia is that it is affordable on any budget. Once you arrive in Turkey, there is an excellent intercity bus service; internal flights if booked in advance are not expensive. Accommodation in the area ranges from budget to luxury. Restaurants are inexpensive.

Best time to be there:

May/June and September /October are the best times to visit as the weather is not too hot and you can avoid the summer crowds.

Image Courtesy: Mary Nolan, Google Images.

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