Like pretty much everything else we’ve done in Turkey, Cappadocia wasn’t on our original itinerary.
Our plan was to return to Istanbul, get Alicia’s passport and Syrian visa, then hightail it to the border. However, because of the way things worked out with transport, we decided to break the journey between Istanbul and Aleppo with a brief stop in the incredibly touristy but visually stunning Cappadocian town of Goreme, known for spectacular scenery and its ‘fairy chimneys’, naturally cut in the rock by wind and rain.
By the time we arrived mid-morning after our frustrating overnight bus ride, we felt like doing a whole lot of nothing.
And so we did just that.
Luckily, you don’t have to make much effort in Goreme to get a view of crumbling incense-cone-like stones. Just walking from our guesthouse (or taking in the view from the roof!) to the main street was a surreal experience. The cones, with their cave-dwellings and tiny windows look like something from the Flintstones (a fact not lost on the locals – there are plenty of Flintstone-themed bars and internet cafes here).
Because we weren’t spending any money sightseeing, we decided to splurge on dinner. The cuisine of choice in Goreme is the ‘pottery kebab’ – meat slow cooked in a terracotta pot for several hours, before being cracked open at your table.
We put our name down for beef and chicken kebabs first thing in the morning, and returned to the restaurant, housed in a 475-year old stone dwelling, in the evening.
As expected, the meat was tender and flavoursome, and made our list as the second best meal we’ve had in Turkey.
Goreme is largely a tourist town, and as such it feels dangerously close to losing its charm (it’s the first place I’ve come across vegemite in Turkey!). But I suspect that as long as there are fairy chimneys, there will be something special about the Cappadocia region.
On my RTW trip during the summer of 2010, I met my friend Alicia in Istanbul and we spent the next 46 days travelling overland through Turkey, Syria and Jordan before I headed to Egypt solo to join up with a quick organised tour through upper Egypt.
Read more about this leg of my trip on my Middle East roundup page.