Turkey hasn’t really been on top of my list of countries to visit because I didn’t know a lot about it. Searching for its most beautiful attractions was a surprise: lunar like mountains, turquoise beaches, ancient historical sites and complex history. And then Istanbul, which is frequently compared to Lisbon. I had to check it out!
So I knew all of that but what I didn’t realize was how modern and developed the country was, how the roads and highways are so well maintained and how people in the countryside are amazingly nice!
We started our visit with Cappadocia. As I said in some previous posts on the blog, me and Luis aren’t very fond of tours and very touristic activities. We explored the zone in our own way, as we had a rental SUV, we were able to drive around those ravishing landscapes and stop whenever we wanted to. The weather wasn’t perfect for balloons, so there were none in the sky, which actually didn’t really bother us, as all we wanted was to appreciate nature. I guess that nowadays that is becoming more and more difficult because the area is a bit overly crowded with hotels, balloon ride stalls and shops in general. The little cities have adapted all too well to the digital age so every corner is a set for an Instagram shot. So here you will not find photos of me in a hotel balcony with air balloons at sunrise or inside the famous shop that has a patio full of rugs (though I have to say that they have a beautiful and a bit pricey selection of old dresses full of coins there) or the shops with the Turkish lights as background.
Apart from this, the further you go, the less crowded it gets. We had to wake up really early (like at 5.30am) to avoid the speedy Jeeps full of tourists that start buzzing around at about 9am (I guess that April is a very calm month over there, and still there were a lot of tours). I can imagine how crowded it can get during summer! Nonetheless the landscapes are mesmerizing, otherworldly and well worth visiting. Sometimes the views made me recall Petra and The Grand Canyon, with the canyons and rock formations in terra-cotta and yellow colored sediments. The natural shape of those spiky peaks actually seem supernatural and thinking about the people who decided to carve their own homes inside the huge stones while looking at them is totally astonishing.
Other thing I didn’t know about Turkey is that there are dogs and cats everywhere. All dogs are tagged for control and they’re really lazy all the time. Early in the morning, at Fairy Valley we were gathered by a really photogenic family of dogs! It’s such a pity that I have been struggling with dog and cat allergies for some years now, so I wasn’t able to pet them (so to make up for it Luis spoiled them with cuddles). I guess they understood that I really liked them so they stood by.
All and all, the 8 hour drive from Istambul airport to Capadoccia was well worth it. We stayed only for one day (2 nights) as we still had a lot to see in Turkey. Though I’m always trying to run away from cold weather (and in April we got 4°C at sunrise), I have to say that seeing Capadoccia during winter must also be a pretty amazing experience.
The day we left we got to see a lot of nature! There are soooo many volcanoes a bit to the south (near Konya)! They looked so still and wonderful. We actually drove up to two of them! It was weird to walk on top of a place that was once so dangerously active! I don’t have a lot of experience with volcanoes so every time I see one I look like a child analyzing the rocks and the soil!!
On our way to Antalya we followed an UNESCO brown sign on the road and found an amazing archaeological site with ongoing excavations that dates back to 9000BC!!! For sure we weren’t expecting that! The site is pretty big and it is a ‘city’ where its people built multi storey buildings. So there were many people living in the same buildings at that time, just like today. The most curious thing is that to access their floor they had to go to the top of the buildings and go down to their own houses using ladders that went through other people’s houses!
Through the whole drive we were accompanied by huge mountains with snow and at the end of our drive we actually had to go up one of them to cross to Antalya.
I loved Cappadocia and the whole trip to the South was lovely but the extense exploitation of the land for touristic purposes (in Cappadocia) as well as the Turkish people’s apparent unawareness of pollution related problems (we saw so many garbage around in the streets and rivers) made me think that the world has still so much to learn about preserving nature and natural resources.
Next stop Antalya!!!! ❤