As we started the second half of our adventure, we found a stop that is now in our list of favorites from the entire trip. Cappadocia had the small town charm of a U.S. ski town like Breckenridge or Vail, with beautiful landscapes and lots of fun outdoor activities. The Turkish charm was prevalent throughout, especially in our unique cave hotel literally cut into the hills. All of the buildings are built into the caves, a whitewashed rural town that is meant for tourists but maintains a unique and authentic charm.
The quintessential excursion that lives up to all of the hype is the hot air balloon ride. We muscled through the 4:45am wake up call TWICE since the first day was too windy. It was well worth it and we were thrilled to get the green light on our second try. The views from above are like nothing we’ve ever seen before, a mix between the steep, striped rock layers of the Grand Canyon, white rippled volcanic rock and fairy chimneys which pop up in bunches out of the ground like 30 foot stone birthday candles. We rode high and low, up to 500 meters for about an hour and it was worth every penny.
When our first balloon ride was cancelled, we didn’t have to look far for something else to fill our day. We rented ATVs and a guide took us through hills, valleys and even an ancient town carved into mountain. More than one thousand years ago, inhabitants tunneled into the volcanic rock to build homes, churches and entire communities. This was Luke’s favorite activity and he drove like a champ (his Sea-Doo experience at the lake helped!) Luke has decided he wants to spend a summer in college working at the ATV outfit giving tours.
We also took to the hills on mountain bikes, a more technical adventure through rock caves and steep single tracks. Our cycling friends would be proud of our attempt! We climbed to a 1000+ year old church where Christians lived and then hid during times when they were being persecuted. Painted frescoes still remain on the ceilings.
We all agreed we could have stayed longer, but the rest of Turkey was waiting to be explored. We’ll be back to Cappadocia!