We arrived in Goreme about 5.45am, into a clear, cold morning. As we got off the bus we watched the sunrise and dozens of balloons rise with it – it was simply stunning.
After ascertaining that our hostel was only a few minutes walk away, we refused a ride there for 10 lira and just walked the few hundred metres. No-one was up, so we simply went to sleep in the armchairs placed on the front lawn until the owner came out a couple of hours later. He let us into our room…which was a cave! We stayed in a hostel which has been made out of former caves, so our room was half plaster and half cave and totally cool.
After a nap and some food we wandered out to Goreme’s famous open air museum – a group of churches made out of caves. We had a great time wandering through these, looking at frescoes (no pictures allowed) and trying to squeeze past tour groups. One of the highlights was the Dark Church. (Check out the link for a picture of one of the frescoes).
We needed some tea to refresh ourselves after exploring the churches!
The next day we became part of a tour group, something we often avoid because we like to spend more time exploring than you usually get on a tour. However, we really wanted to see the sights on the “Green Tour” and doing it ourselves was going to cost just as much and be more difficult, so we joined a group. Our first stop was a scenic overlook, looking over the “Fairy Chimneys” that Goreme is famous for.
Our next stop was the underground city of Derinkuyu. This is the deepest underground city in the area and was used as shelter when enemies were attacking. We headed 8 stories underground, climbing through narrow tunnels and bending over (at last a benefit to being short!) It was so cool to explore this underground city.
Our next stop was at a scenic lake before we went for a walk in the Ihlara Valley. Here we saw the Daniel church (the pictures here were much like the ones in the open air museum) and walked past cool rock formations. It had started to rain by then so we were quite happy to get to lunch.
We learned that pigeon eggs were used for plaster and then it was painted over – apparently it helped preserve the paint!
Because of the rain we had to skip a planned visit to a monastery. Instead, we went to a Turkish delight and tea tasting and then onto see a stone shop…this was the part of the tour where you could buy stuff but we just enjoyed the free tea!
On our last day it rained again…we had another night bus booked so just chilled and enjoyed relaxing until the rain cleared and we went for a walk in Pigeon Valley. We managed to get a little lost and wound up scrambling up a cliff, then walking to the next village (Uchisar) then back along the correct path…fun times! We did make it back in good time for our night bus.