Turkey holds a place in lots of Kiwis’ and Australians’ hearts. Tales of the heroic fight during World War II against the Ottoman Empire are now remembered through Anzac Day. For decades, Anzac families have tripped to Gallipoli to stand tall with pride in remembrance of the falling and survived soldiers.
Gallipoli was definitely my goal. However, tourists are currently cautious about visiting Turkey, as it has had terrorist threats. This being said, we still decide to visit the famously beautiful and culturally aesthetic country — however, we will be trekking away from the most prominent destinations.
Cappadocia is an area known for its wondrous, naturally formed above-earth caves, geologically known as fairy chimneys, and its lunar-like landscape. The area is rich in historical tales of kingdoms and empires. It’s now a hot tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We arrive from Munich, Germany into Istanbul (with Turkish Airlines), connect domestically to Kayseri (you can fly here internationally from some airports), and from here we are collected by transfer – organised by our accommodation. The drive is about an hour long with drop-offs along the way before we reach the magnificent landscape. From below, you can appreciate the rock formations spreading as far as the eye can see.
We approach the town of Göreme, Nevsehir. It is scorching hot, which isn’t a surprise. We make our way weaving through narrow streets, up rocky hills to our cave hotel, and the air is dry. With many reasons for tourists to visit, one of the many urges is to take the opportunity to stay in a cave. A large majority of the hotels are beautifully carved into the dramatic expanses of rock, most cascading down hard rock hills, similar to those of the locals.
Our hotel ‘Sultan Cave Suites’ is on the hot list. Basically, they have a famous dog and a large terrace attracting dozens of travellers attempting to capture their perfect picture, all shuffling around at 5.30am awaiting the sunrise when hot air balloons rise.
The staff are un fault-able, the restaurant is the best in town, and the views “KILLER”, so it makes sense to stay here and you really don’t need to leave.
The top attractions to see and do are endless: visiting the ancient underground city of Derinkuyu, visiting mosques and churches in the rock faces, hot air ballooning and off-road dirt biking through the valleys. All of these activities are fun, just not with baby.
Instead we choose to sit still and baste in the most magical, colourful sunrise, watching an orchestra of balloons take flight. We spend our days walking through the markets and eating, lots of eating.
Our time here was short, and it is a place we look forward to revisiting in the near future.