Leaving Olympos felt a bit wrong, I could of easily stayed a bit longer with the way you get used to life but I had to start making my way back to Europe for an important date. But at the present I had a nice little bus ride out of town and to Antayla. Not only that but a good hour wait and we had a long overnight bus to the middle of mordorr. Oh I mean pretty much the centre of Turkey. The night bus, however, was actually terrible. We were packed like sardines and I had the worst guy next to me slobbering and nudging me in his sleep – for some reason he couldn’t quite understand ‘personal space’ and I pretty sure I told him to fuck off after multiple awakenings from elbow jabs into my ribs. Asshole.
Arriving in a place when the sun rises has to be a surreal experience – and in this area where its close to desert it’s quite remarkable. The downside is, how crap one feels with the lack of sleep.
I bid farewell to the friends I made on the bus ( Anna, Krystal, and Max) before setting off to the guesthouse I’ve booked. On arrival it doesn’t seem too bad. The dorm isn’t ready so they offer myself some turkish coffee and I sip on it whilst browsing through the Cappadocia section of the Lonely Planet. Then the manager talks to me and in his broken english accent states that “There is a problem with your dorm room, it isn’t ready and cannot be used we will give you a double room for the same price as the dorm”. I get a little excited about having a room to myself, that is til I actually see the room.
The room is ok, its got that dingy look that wasn’t on the hostel booking website. It would be quite bearable. Though once you enter the room, its not the look but the god damn smell – I don’t really know how to describe it but it smelt like out dated medicine and vomit. It’s a tough smell to digest and I try not to gag as I thank the owner.
Realising I cannot possibly sleep in that room I go off in search of somewhere else – where the new found friends were staying cause at least if the place was terrible I’d have people to talk to. Although I do get a bit lost trying to find the place – but end up there and score a bed in the dorm. It feels a lot friendlier than the other place.
So after getting my bag and making up some sort of sordid excuse about not staying there I check in and wait for my bed to be ready. This itself takes a fair while but its not bad. After chucking my bag I head off to catch up with the others and a new inclusion Matt. I run into them in the main street of Goreme and we go in search of sleeping tablets for the next bus trip. And a feast of Turkish Pide – that wasn’t as good as I’ve had elsewhere.
We head off for the Goreme Open Air Museum which is a good couple of kilometres from Goreme. We do decide to go explore some off the road cave dwellings. At the Open Air Museum we realise how expensive it is – but you’re only at this place maybe once in your life so might as well cough up and it’s only Max and myself who decide to venture in.
The museum itself is basically a small community of cave dwellings and churches on the outskirts of Goreme. It’s not bad – but it’s probably not worth the entry fee. It’s still incredible to see how they used the land to live the way they did. Though we’re kind that there are about 20 churches (note: 20 is an overstatement but there was a lot).
We head on back to the guesthouse to chill out by the pool for the afternoon. The pool will put icicles on your testicles, it was that cold. It probably wasn’t but in relation to the Outside temperate of what felt like 50 degrees it was freezing. But it was good to chill out, read, and refresh in the afternoon.
By late afternoon, the sun is starting to set and we decide to grab a few cold beers and snacks then head on up the lookout (if you must find it, just follow all the people walking up the hill). We sit back and enjoy one of life’s simplest and great pleasures. And to state the sunsets in Turkey are gorgeous is pretty understated but couple that with the surroundings of the strange rock formations and its absolutely breathtaking.
Not only that but we after the sun goes down, we get a bit of a moon rise. Back down we have a few beers at the guesthouse before going down to check out The Flintstone’s Bar. Though we get there and it’s dead. Completely and utterly. But we decide to make the best of it and sit on the bench/gutter and drink Efes to their music. Someone does go inside to use their toilet – and they confirm it’s absolutely dead.
We head back towards the guesthouse and stumble on one of those carpet/rug stores you dread of being dragged too. Though this one had a bunch of pissed up old kiwi’s drinking the night away and Turkish outfits and not doing much else. We do join them for a bit – but food gets the better of Max, Anna and I and we go straight to the Kebab store before returning to the guesthouse where we sit next to the pool.
The following morning I awake later than usual, those cave rooms are dark and without any natural light filtering in you just doze away and not realise what the time is. After a dirty big french toast that wasn’t good I head off to find a scooter to get on. I go to the numerous hire stores in town but they all rent for the same price. So 40 lira lighter I head off.
So I set off on my scooter ride around the out of this world landscape that consumes the majority of this place. Not far down the road I pull into a small township called Cavusin. Its a normal sort of town – or so I thought. At the end of the road was a whole village where the inhabitants lived in houses cut from the rock. I park my ride and head up to explore the various houses and ruins. On the opposite side you get a stunning vista of the valley towards Zelve (my next destination). After seeing the sights I decide to grab a cup of freshly squeezed juice only to be told its 5 lira after I’ve let it glide into my gullet.
Setting off I head off to Pasabaglari, Zelve, and Devrent Valley. Its actually quite refreshing driving a scooter (despite being on the wrong side of the road) the wind makes the searing heat somewhat bearable. Stopping at Pasabagi you get the long rock looking formations and bus loads of Asian bus tourists. But there were ladders going up into cut out churches.
Down at Zelve there is an open air museum but after paying 40 Lira for the scooter I decide to give that one a miss. So I head off to Devrent valley – this is a place where there are tonnes of rock formations shaped into various forms. You just use your imagination and you’ll spot something that looks like a camel, dog, person, lovers, you name it – it could be found.
Afterwards, its down the road to Urgup. A pretty big town and after snagging a spot I go in search of a meal of some sort. I go with the traditional kebap and beer. Before setting off to Sunset point – which gives a great vista of Goreme and the Rose Valley (but you pay 1.5o TL to get in). The Rose Valley looks fairly nice to walk through but when time isn’t on your side you just take a peek at times, which is unfortuante.
I go back down, after getting some Petrol at the only service station near Goreme (a good 4kms from town at least – that’s an estimate). Back in Goreme, I speed through town and head to where the phallic symbols are – affectionately called “Love Valley” for the way the Rock Formations are shaped.
The road up to Love Valley starts off being sealed, then unsealed and very dodgey on a scooter. But the Love Valley Panorama is pretty awesome. I head back then double back on the scooter, on what seemed like a river bed to the valley itself. Hopping off I duck under a few trees and find myself beneath a massive bunch of Phallic like rocks – a strange situation. What is also rather strange is the young boy who has set up a juice stand by himself in the searing heat but was rather friendly and showed me an Eagles nest at the top of one of the tall rocks.
I head back into town and go to the guesthouse and chill out at the pool before taking the scooter back. I run into Max, Krystal, Anna and Matt and we grab a kebab and a few drinks then head up to Sunset point to catch the breath taking view in their convertible.
Back down in town, we grab some beers and drink them at the guesthouse before setting off to go to Flinstones Bar once again. This time the place is actually quite a lot of fun and has a fair amount of people – though we did manage to bring some from the guesthouse.
Another late sleep in, so late check out was an hour before I woke up. Damn dark cave rooms. Anyway after some Vegemite Toast (Best thing ever) I head off to go to one of the Underground Cities – Derinkuyu. It takes a bit of effort by yourself on public transport (a bus to Nevsehir and another bus to Derinkuyu). After paying the 15TL to get in, its down the stairs and into the Underground City. It was a little disappointing to be honest. It was underground and rather interesting but it only takes about 15 minutes to wander through. Though it was cool down there.
Back to Goreme and I spot a sign that has a Meat Pie – and well its been an age since I had one so I go nuts and have an Efes with a Meat Pie before picking my bag up and leaving the Star Wars terrain behind for the big smoke.