Turkey is really exotic and diversified in terms of its food, culture, land scape and people! Right from the day of planning, Turkey was a must to see in our list and I am so glad weÂ could make it.
As we had very limited time, for Turkey, we decided to check out Istanbul and then hit Cappadocia region, which isÂ famously known for its fairy chimney’s, the underground cities and the beautiful hikes.
From Istanbul we took a Pegasus flight to Kayseri airport which is about an hour drive to Uchiser which is the highest point in Cappadocia region. We stayed at the Cappadocia Cave Resort, it being the last leg of our trip, we decided to indulge ourselves in a bit of luxury. The drive from the airport to the resort had been amazing with beautiful and distinct views of the region.
We checked into the resort at about noon. While having lunch, we were thinking of how to go and where to go. Probably one of the things I quite din’t like about Turkey is, the hotels try and encourage you to book tours (for obvious reasons) instead of letting you explore the region on your own. We faced this issue in both Istanbul and Uchiser. Right at the time of check-in, while asking for maps and info, we straight told the resort management that we dont like tours and would love to explore the place ourselves.Â Cappadocia cave resort guys had been super understanding and offered all of the info that we might need.
We quickly discovered that to navigate in the region you either take tours and guides (a big NO was our answer to it) or public transport or hire a car/cab/scooter. Guides and tours can be arranged by the hotel/resorts. For easily navigating in the region using public transport, Nevsehir is the major city. There are connecting buses to this city from different smaller towns like Uchiser, Goreme, Zelve etc. But with literally a day and a half Â in our hands and so much to see, we couldnt possible be changing buses and spending hours for connection buses.
So we chose hiring a scooter, which was cheap, quick, easy and fun way of transport. It costed us about 20 Euros per day. The resort helped us in the hiring process. The guy came to the hotel and gave us the scooter.
At around 2pm we hit the road on a 125cc scooter.Â You would think that figuring the way would be hard. But wasn’t! The awesomely friendly people and the signage everywhere on the main roads made it extremely easy to find places.
First stop Goreme. Beautiful little town with lovely people. We visited the open air museum which is on the UNESCO world heritage list and is also the world’s biggest open air museum. The area consists of the rock cut churches and wall paintings which are as old as 10th century. It speaks a lot about the prevalence of christianity in the region, before the rise of Islam.
A combination of the nature’s wonders with history and religion!
We then hit the roads again towards Zelve. Stopping in between in the small towns for Â cay (turkish tea), gozleme and ayran in the homes on the sides of the roads.
This is one of the most amazing and heart touching experiences I have had. Sitting on the divan with the turkish family, sharing a laugh and having gozleme, while totally not understanding each other’s language and hence trying to communicate in broken english and gestures! WIN!
Zelve has another open air museum. But we were nearly done for the day so we decided to skip the museum but instead talk to the locals and slowly drive our way back to the resort.
The entire drive is full of panoramic views, historical churches and lovely cafes and restaurants. So having a scooter did help us to stop wherever we wanted and get a pic!
Hot air ballooning early in the morning is a very popular and a must-do activity in this area.
The beautiful early morning sun light, the lovely fairy chimneys (hoodoo) and the beautiful landscape, watching from an altitude, the hot air ballooning in this region is a must-do and definitely worth the spend, which is usually around 175 Euros per person, depending upon the flight.
To get to Cappadocia region, you can fly in to Nevsehir airport if you fly Turkish airlines, the other airlines like Pegasus fly intoÂ Kayseri. You can then take a private taxi or a shuttle cab from the airport to your hotels. The hotel/resort can book the private taxi, but the shuttle cab can be booked online and is heaps cheaper.