After spending an amazing morning with Voyager Balloons experiencing Cappadocia from above we were ready for a closer look. With the help of New Göreme Tours, we did just that, after some apple tea in their office of course. We met our friendly guide who gave us a rundown on the historic sites we were about to visit on our day in Cappadocia. We had much to see and do so let’s get to it.
Letting Our Imaginations Run Wild in Devrent Valley
Our first stop in our day in the Cappadocia tour was the wonderfully odd Devrent Valley, also known as Imagination Valley. This area has some of the highest concentrations of interesting rock formations in all of Cappadocia. Years of erosion have created fascinating shapes in the lava rocks which has allowed years’ worth of visitors’ thoughts to ponder. We toured the hillside in astonishment.
So. Very. Odd.
I tried to let my playfulness get the better of me but wasn’t seeing much more than really weird rocks. Our tour guide kept asking me what animals and shapes I saw. I felt like I was being grilled by a psychiatrist over inkblots. Erin finally chimed in with her sightings of the man bending over and then the camel. The floodgates opened.
Possibly my favourite animal sighting was the puppies roaming the tourist groups for treats. Erin briefly became the puppy whisper so I could get this great shot:
Mustafapaşa the Greek
We then toured the charming town of Mustafapaşa, a once-thriving Greek community in the middle of Turkey. Here you will find many remaining signs of Greek life with a stone houses, churches, and buildings unlike those found in the rest of Cappadocia. We strolled the cobblestone streets of this historic town then enjoyed the sunshine in the town square. We fit right in with the old Turkish men chatting on park benches and sipping on apple tea.
Get a Load of These Beauties
Possibly the most recognized site in all of Cappadocia is the Three Beauties of Ürgüp. These unique Fairy Chimney rock formations have probably been photographed a million times, and with good reason. The scene from this lookout is spectacular. There you are presented with three bizarre rock towers along a red rock valley and Mt. Erciyes in the distance as your backdrop. The view was so good I asked our tour guide to play model for the Timbuk2 Snoop Camera Messenger Bag I was given by Timbuk2 to photograph around the world.
Yes. Turkish wines. Apparently, they are quite good and the best come from the region we were in. We stopped at Kocabağ winery to put this to the test. We saddled up to the bar and were served a red that was just “meh.” We shrugged it off thinking they were saving their best for last and waited awkwardly for the next sample. It never came. One bad shot of wine and we were gone. Disappointing as we were looking forward to this stop in our day in Cappadocia tour. We would later have an amazing bottle at our hotel and find out that there is indeed excellent wines in Cappadocia.
Getting Testi at Lunch
We stopped for a lunch break at your typical tour group restaurant – the ones that funnel people in and out like some sort of senior citizen factory. With only so much daily space in my stomach and so much great food to be had in Turkey I wasn’t thrilled with this stop. My attitude quickly changed when I found out they where serving Testi Kabab, a dish unique to the region. We had already had it once while in the area and loved it. A lamb stew cooked to perfection in a sealed clay pot. The only way to get the delicious and tender meat out is by breaking the pot, usually dramatically with a large cleaver so the tourists can ooh and aah. A bit of a show but delicious none the less.
You think because I had it twice I would have been able to capture the show of the waiter smashing the clay pot. Sadly no.
Cave Churches for Days
Full on buttery rice and tasty stew we waddled our way around the peculiar Göreme Open Air Museum. This massive collection of churches, houses, kitchens, stables, and schools – all carved out of rock, makes up the massive park. Orthodox Monks spent many-a-year digging into the lava rock formations to create this wonderful little community. Walking inside the churches of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and seeing the ancient frescoes is a must-do when visiting the Göreme Open Air Museum during your day in Cappadocia.
Some churches have an entry fee on top of what you paid to get into the open-air museum but worth it if you are into incredibly old art on the walls of ancient caves, painted by Monks. To each their own. An interesting note is many of the faces of the prophets painted on the walls have no faces. This is because when the Islamic folk moved in they enforced their strict no representation policy on depicting people in religious art.
Walking the massive park exhausted us and brought us to the end of our day in Cappadocia with New Göreme Tours. They offered us the choice of being dropped off at our hotel or in the town of Göreme, which we had yet to explore. We obviously picked the latter and said our goodbyes. All in all a great day and a great way to cover a lot of ground in one day. For those looking to pack a lot into a short visit consider New Göreme Tour for your day in Cappadocia experience.
Although I was provided with a reduced press rate from New Göreme Tour,
the experience, opinions, and words are my own.