First of all, major thanks for getting my blog over 2,000 views, this NYC journey has been glorious to share with everyone. As such, I have been ecstatic at sharing travels, my past, current events, and my rants with all of you.
Anyways, on to the travelblog!!! In rare instance, I have decided to not go in order and discuss my time in Cappadocia, Turkiye before discussing Istanbul. This is primarily due to the fact that the amount of discussion for Istanbul will probably take a couple of parts while I think Cappadocia can be handled in one.
Upon arriving in Cappadocia, I simply hoped a van that I had pre-planned to take me to my hostel (pension - the hostels in Cappadocia) as it drove the low mountains of Uchisar and many other cities. As you can see from my pictures, the terrain of Cappadocia was unlike any experience I had ever had and contributed to an otherworldliness that I experienced during my time here. I would soon arrive in at my pension in Goreme with an awesome host who tended his garden along with some American, New Zealand and Brazilian people that I befriended in the hostel during their travels.
Most of my ground exploration including peeping around rock hotels, traversing the town, grabbing some ceramic pot cooked lamb, heading up to a sunset/sunrise hill and hearing the prayers of the day (more on this later). From the hill, I was able to see the selcouth landscape of years of volcanic ash and tunnels to create the wonder of terrain that is Cappadocia. Beyond this, I would explore the open-air museum and marvel at the Byzantine frescoes painted years ago by Christian hermits who dug their own fairy tunnels (aka the formations that look like phalluses).
There were two experiences that I had for the first time in Goreme. One was the hot-air balloon experience. To be honest, I was nervous about this due to the dangers and the possibility of not flying due to the wind. However, I was able to figure out my way into a basket (travel in pairs!) after some trial & error to be able to float away. There are some beautiful views you can get from a hot air balloon, but once is enough, as even though the pilot has a lot of control there is not a lot of safety going in the balloon so just put two feet forward and enjoy. We had champagne, strawberries and cake afterwards!
My second experience would be involving the Turkish baths. While you are definitely treated like a sultan here, it is nothing like you have ever experienced. First off, you get your own locker and then a charcoal face mask to have melt in the sauna where I met some Colombians. Then my boy Ras, splashed water in my face, scrubbed, used soap bubbles, and some chiropractic massage to fully cleanse me. Afterwards, I was in the jacuzzi where I waited until going up for some free emil chay (apple tea, the regular is way better) and relaxation. Honestly, it was about the cleanest I have felt in a long time on a trip or anywhere for that matter. While I was disappointed that there was only one tip box for all the ladies and individual ones for the males, I say it is experience that shouldn't be missed to get a full sense of how the Turkish baths.
Afterwards, I just relaxed until the next day in which I bought some souvenirs (it's so fun to see my coworkers with them all over the place) and then headed back to the airport where you wait outside for security into the airport.
Overall, Cappadocia is a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of Istanbul. There is a lot of outdoor adventures you can have (ATVs and motorbikes too), along with a sense of serenity in the rock towns. If you do go, stay in Goreme since it is central and has the open-air museum nearby.
Next up stories from Istanbul!