In the Cappadocia region we stayed in a town called Goreme. From here we did a couple of tours, explored the local restaurants and did a lot of trinket shopping!!! We stayed in a place called The Travellers Cave which was a bit of a treat after lack of sleep and hostels.
I could go on forever about all of the amazing and diverse things that we saw and the history in Cappadocia as it was mind-blowing. A couple of highlights though, were the sunrise hot air balloon trip and exploring an underground city. It was incredible going into the caves and underground city - I found it really hard to imagine 10,000 people living underground. Early Christians used the caves and tunnels to hide out when Christianity was not an accepted religion and they would hide from the Romans. They had amazing systems for air, water, production of wine, defence mechanisms and looked after all of their animals. Apparently they would give the animals and children wine when they knew that the Romans were coming so that they would not make any noise!!. At around 5am we went up in a hot air balloon. I purposefully didn't tell mum and dad that I was planning it until afterwards. I must say that I didn't think of safety until I was 500m above the ground and not strapped in. The views were amazing and it was quite fascinating to see the diversity in the region - snow capped mountains, to fairy chimneys, to crops, to desert like areas. It is certainly something I don't think I will every experience again.
We learnt a fair bit on the tours and it has taken me many days to reflect on what we saw. The volcanoes in the area caused many different soft and hard rock layers and it was obvious to see when we visited the valleys and also whilst on the hot air balloon. Sea, wind and other environmental factors caused erosion to the the rock layers and they formed into mushroom-like mounds. On the tours we went to many, many places and saw a lot of churches that were carved inside the chimneys, cliff sides and valleys. Some of these churches had fresco artworks that were dated back to the 4th century! We learnt that pigeons were very important for the people of Cappadocia as they used the pigeon poop for fertiliser and the egg white and yolk for the fresco artworks. I remembered Muzzy telling me about the pigeon houses but I wasn't expecting them to be carved into the sides of cliff faces and inside their living space!
Pottery is quite famous within this region and Elyse was lucky enough to try her hands at pottery (she did it Dirty-Dancing style). Everything was very expensive at the pottery shop so we stuck to the bizarre shops.
Every evening we would find a terrace with a picturesque view and indulge in (more) Turkish cuisine. Our favourite was a traditional meal that is cooked in a terracotta pot and then broken at the table (I cannot remember the Turkish name - but it was a terracotta kebab). Another favourite was sitting next to a river in a valley whilst staring up to the mountains that had eroded away to expose parts of underground living systems.
Cappadocia - another place that I would highly recommend a visit to if you are ever in Turkey :)
Brendon Sounds Amazinggggggg:)