My first destination in Turkey was Cappadocia; partially because I want to see the natural landscapes that Cappadocia is famous for and also because I wanted to save Istanbul for the last. Little that I imagined, Cappadocia turned out to be the best part of my trip.
My flight was delayed over a snowstorm before landing to Istanbul and further delayed again because my connecting flight to Goreme (Cappadocia) as well. So, I thought, “This better be worth it”. By the time I reached to my hotel in Goreme, it is almost 4 A.M. I was looking forward to staying in a cave hotel but then, after checking in, I was too tired to think about anything but to shower and hit the bed.
So, I woke up around 7 in the morning and got up for my breakfast. Then, the reality slowly starts to seep in. Cappadocia is beautiful; it looks like a scene straight out of a Christmas postcard, clear white fluffy snow anywhere with tall chimneys to the end of the horizon where the snow-capped mountains are.
Sipping the piping-hot Turkey tea while looking out the windows was pretty much magical; and had a first hand experience on a Turkish breakfast. Well, there is nothing particular dish that but rather how they have their breakfast.
I signed up the day tour to bring me around since it is rather too cold to go through all the walking and way-finding in sub-zero degree. I guess it is not bad having all things sorted out for you and the guide giving you the context of what we are looking at.
For someone who lives in a tropical weather, seeing snow feels pretty awesome and fun! Well, for the first hour before the cold slowing freeze us over. It was challenging to take pictures too because the white snow messing up the exposure and white balance of my camera but anyway, you might want to read that up if you are not used to taking pictures of snow.
Exploring the snow-covered valleys and caves is quite an experience as this is something that I have never done before. When I was searching on Google for images, I didn’t see snowy landscape of Cappadocia and of course, I wasn’t expecting that and I personally felt that the snow makes the landscape a lot more interesting, so it was a great plus for me.
I was informed by the hotel that the weather is unpredictable in February and the hot-air balloon flights get canceled very frequently. With the blizzard raging in Syria, I was told that there was no balloon flights for the last two weeks, so the outlook was quite bleak. The first day, it was canceled due to the weather but the weather turned favorable on the second day and we were off for the flight.
We drove out to the open fields outside of the town where they pumped hot air into the balloons and getting ready for us. Everyone was really excited when the balloons started taking flight one by one. The ride lasted for about an hour and honestly, the view was the best thing I have ever seen. The photos don’t do justice! So, you are going to Cappadocia and willing to splurge money, go for a ride!
The view just got better and better as we ascended; the cars and buildings become smaller than ants and we start to see the curvature of the earth. When I was told the flight will be roughly an hour, I wanted to spend more time in the air. But then, when we were actually in the air, the flight time was just nice. Being confined in the same spot with 15 other people for more than an hour despite the view, was not a fantastic thing.
After spending three days in Cappadocia, I was ready and excited to move on and see the rest of Turkey and took an overnight bus to see Pamukkale, then Ephesus and at last but definitely not least, Istanbul.