Arrival

March 19, 2015

We had taken the overnight bus from Denizli to Göreme, so as the sun was rising our bus was going down into Göreme, where a huge fleet of hot air balloons was rising into the sky. Even though it was cloudy it was quite a magical sight, and it convinced us that we should take the balloon ride too.

Hot air balloons through bus window

Hot air balloons through bus window

From the bus stop in Göreme we walked up the hill to find the Kelebek Cave Hotel. We had changed our schedule yesterday, and as a result we were arriving a day early in Göreme. And fortunately the hotel had a room available, so we didn’t have to deal with changing hotels. They must be used to people checking in at 6:45 am, because the night clerk didn’t hesitate at all, he told us where our room was and that breakfast started at 7:30 am. He also showed us the tour options which were available and just said that if we were interested, we should let them know so that they could make the booking. We liked this no-pressure sales style much better!

Our room (for tonight only) was one of the deluxe ones. It was made of stone and had an arched stone ceiling. Really lovely! The breakfast and dining room was up one level from our room and had a beautiful view of the fairy chimneys and the valleys. Neither of us was especially hungry, perhaps because of dehydration and motion sickness, but the breakfast spread was excellent and we helped ourselves.

View over Göreme

View over Göreme

After a short nap to de-fuzz our heads from the night bus ride, we went out for a walk. We stopped in at reception to book a balloon ride and a tour which would take us to the Ihlara valley, among other places, and then we set off towards the open-air museum. The walk was about half an hour and took us past numerous limestone chimneys, many of which had some kind of dwelling in them. We paid our admission and went in to view eight churches from the Byzantine period, all carved inside chimneys. Each one was slightly different; some had frescoes and others no decorations. Many of them were faded, but many were well-preserved and there wasn’t much vandalism. It took us a couple of hours to tour the site and by the end we were very hungry.

Rock church interior

Rock church interior

Monastery interior

Monastery interior

We stopped at a small shop in the town to get some lunch stuff and then headed back to the hotel, where we sat in the restaurant to have tea and coffee with our lunch. After that we did some more planning. We had arrived in Göreme a day early, and when we checked the bus schedules we found that we could take a daytime bus to Antalya. We had originally planned to take the night bus there, but now we preferred to avoid that. Taking the daytime bus would mean we would need a place to stay in Antalya for the extra night, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Old rock dwellings and pigeon nests

Old rock dwellings and pigeon nests

For dinner we went just around the corner to Seten Restaurant, a very nice place which Caroline had recommended. It was pouring rain so it was a good thing we only had a short walk. It had very nice décor and good views over the fairy chimneys of the town. To start off they gave us complimentary garlic pita bread which we dipped into a light olive oil and a spicy crumb mix. For the main course Paul had a chicken breast which was stuffed with spinach, cheese, and walnuts; Rosemary had mantı, a sort of Turkish ravioli which comes in a yogurt and mint sauce. For dessert we shared a bowl of sütlaç, which is a kind of rice and milk pudding. We’d had that in İstanbul and quite liked it. It was a very nice meal, much different than our usual.

Next: Bus Tour

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