Saturday, November 15, 2014

11/15/14 Day 303 Hitching and Hiking in Cappadocia

We spent 16 hours hitchhiking all the way from Istanbul to Cappadocia (Kapadokya in Turkish) an 800+ kilometer journey. Getting out of the city was by far the most difficult part, but even catching a ride within city limits took no more than a few short minutes before we were picked up in a really nice Audi by Arman who bought us roadside bananas (the vendors literally setup their stands in between 130 km/h freeway lanes). Another ride or two after that we found ourselves in the cab of a truck driver who couldn't speak a lick of English but was enroute to Kirsehir, a mere 90 kilometers or so from Nevsehir where our CS host would be awaiting us. With nonexistant casual chatting possible he was sure that we were never hungry or thirsty for tea on our 12 hour journey across Turkey, with essential truck stop tea breaks where the tea was free flowing and bathrooms unlike everywhere else in the country didn't charge even a single Turkish Lira. After getting to Nevsehir late our first night we allowed ourselves a casual 10 a.m. wake up before hitching a ride the 30 kilometers to Göreme, which is where many of the Kapadokya hikes begin their course. The valleys and rock formations of Kapadokya built themselves up after volcanic eruptions littering the landscape with consolidated volcanic ash millions of years ago. The range was then broken down by the forces of water and wind erosion forming a landscape of pinnacles up to 40 meters high in a variety of ridges and valleys; mushroom shaped, pinnacled, conic and capped rocks. We chose to weave ourselves through the canyons in the two interconnected Rose & Red valleys on our first explore. It is one of the wider valleys with a less specifically etched path to follow from beginning to end, more of a vague template of loosely trodden routes to choose between with each curve of the hills. We wandered, clambered and climbed through the different cave homes of which there are many carved into the soft compacted ash. We were reminded of the impending winter season as the sun started its descent into night at only 16:30 seemingly only hours after it ascended this morning and with that we pushed for the exit of the valley. Still a few kilometers short of Göreme a local sped past us on his motorbike, just a few minutes later he whizzed by us in the opposite direction, jokingly we smiled as he rode by and he stopped shortly in front of us and motioned for the two of us to climb aboard. Giggling uncontrollably the three of us situated ourselves and rode the 8 minutes back to the crossroad connecting to Nevsehir where we arrived just in time for dinner made by Cihan our host. Our second day we began in the Love Valley named after the fairy chimney (mushroom shaped) rocks strewn throughout the narrow and short valley (less than 4 kilometers). We continued on through Pigeon Valley famous for the many pigeon roosting caves that were built in order to collect their wastes for fertilizer to use on the crops of the valley. For the last valley we walked through Zemi Valley, one of the longer paths at just over 5 kilometers long. 

The semi truck we spent 12 hours comfortably in on our way to Kapadokya

Red & Rose valleys 

Look at those ears

Cave home

Love Valley

Fairy chimneys

Adorable village of Uchisar
Pigeon Valley entrance
Pigeon cave

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