Landed in The Land of Fairy in Cappadocia
Due to the limit times, I used service of travel agent to explore the other cities of Turkey during my first visit in the country. The route would be Istanbul – Cappadocia – Pamukkale and Ephesus and Istanbul as returning point. I chose one of travel agent I found unintentionally in the neighborhood of Sultanahmet. Umut, the manager, tried his best to find the most comfortable packages for myself and ensured I was satisfied enough with their service.
“This is my phone number. You can call me 24 hours if you find any troubles during the trips. I can say that you won’t be disappointed with our service. But, just in case you need something, you are more than welcome to call me,” Umut gave his phone number while I was waiting the bus taking me to Cappadocia at his office.
Tour packages in Turkey are quite different with other conventional tours that I had ever done. I thought that I would travel in a van or bus with other travelers and would be with them all the time, but I was wrong. To travel from one city to another, instead, I should use the public bus with other passengers. Yet, at the final destinations of the bus, somebody from Travel Company would be there to arrange my transportation from bus station to the hotel where I would stay in. On the bus, I was not the only traveler using this service. Yuan, traveler from Malaysia sitting next to me during our journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia, was also using the same service of travel agent. But she used different company which later made me so grateful having Umut to arrange all my trips.
As I said, we were not alone. Half of bus passengers were foreigners. On the road, we found bit difficulties in telling bus driver about our last destination, since not all passengers had the same stops. Yuan and I, for example, should have our stop in Urgup, while others should stop in Nevsehir or Goreme. Ana, an Albanian girl, helped us a lot since it seems she was the only foreigner spoke Turkish fluently. When she stopped in Goreme, she told me and Yuan for not worrying, “Hey girls. I spoke to the driver. This bus will head to Urgup for its last stop. So, you will step out there. Enjoy your trips,” she poked me and Yuan before stepping out the bus.
It was still early morning when we finally arrived in Urgup, where I must said good bye to Yuan and thanked her for being nice company for myself. A middle age man was standing in front of bus door, having a big paper with my name written on it. He must be someone from the hotel. I came towards him, introduced myself and he told me that we must wait other two passengers before heading to the hotel. So, the other two guys came, named Michael and Terry. They’re from New Zealand and became my travel mates for the whole trips in Cappadocia. We had nice Turkish breakfast in the hotel before joining other people to start exploring the beauty of Cappadocia.
To travel within the region, a private van was provided to carry approximately 15 passengers in total. The other New Zealand traveler joined us, a professional photographer named July, later became my photography tandem during the trip in Cappadocia. We were given a professional tour guide to explain important facts about Cappadocia.
Cappadocia means the land of beautiful horses. It’s an amazing land. Its mountain and rock formations with different shapes gave the sensation for travelers as landed into fairy land. Hundred valleys are embellished by astonishing rock styles, from mushroom and camel to the head of Napoleon. Those formations were shaped due to eruption of volcanoes occurred thousands years ago. In some places, some rocks are inhabitant and still used as shelters, where some people still live up to now. Instead, some hotels had offered travelers to stay inside that rock cave to feel its unforgettable sensation. As history said, during the regime of Romanian Empires, the Christians used these places as sanctuary to hide.
Gerome, of course, is one of the cities that we visited during the tour. This city is UNESCO heritage site where many hidden churches located during the Roman times. The most famous one is Apple Church. Inside the church, many paintings still stay there, describing how the Christians lived in those years. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed inside the church so I cannot display those paintings on this blog.
Cappadocia is also well known with its pottery. Fatih, our guide, took us to one of pottery factory in Cappadocia. The owner of factory told us a legend that every man in Cappadocia should be able to make pottery before their marriage. To prove what he said, he demonstrated and showed us how to make a pot by using the pottery machine that must be twisted all the time while the pot was shaped. He even gave us chances to try. A Brazilian girl in the group didn’t want to miss the chance and successfully made her own pot. There were many kinds of pottery produced in the factory such as plates, cups, vases and even lamps. After dried, those potteries were painted by professional painter by hand, without using any additional machinery. Therefore, the prices are higher than other products since it requires more skills and times to produce them.
We ended the first day trip at 5 pm. Since all travelers came from different companies, we also stayed in different hotels. Michael, Terry and I stayed in same hotels, in a cave hotel in Urgup. As most of buildings in Cappadocia, this hotel was built inside of Rock Mountains. In one night, I imagined myself transformed into a cave woman J