Hi my name is Minh and I am the second blogger for Turkey CAP 2013. It has been a crazy few days in Turkey. A group of us decided to fly out of DC right after finals and venture to Cappadocia quickly before our CAP trip officially begins. This is one of the best tourist spots I have ever been to and the experience has been incredible. Now that I am packed and ready to go back to Istanbul, I would like to give everyone an overview on what happened on our first day in Cappadocia. Dena Weinstein, another Turkey CAP blogger, will post her blog about our second-day activities.
First of all, the city of Cappadocia is absolutely breathtaking. Only an hour flight away from the modern city of Istanbul, Cappadocia feels like a whole other world. Everywhere you go, there are beautiful rock houses, caves, valleys, monasteries, and amazing sceneries. I stayed in the Uchisar area at the Argos hotel with a few other CAP buddies and I very much recommend this place. It is high up on a hill overlooking the Guvercinlik Valley (Pigeon Valley). The view that we woke up to every morning was simply spectacular. The place also has a great underground wine cellar and they often have concerts down in the tunnel at night. However, we could only squeeze in the wine cellar tour during our visit.
The first morning was a little bit rough since we got in at 1:00AM the night before and barely got any sleep. However, everyone was very excited to see what Cappadocia has to offer. The first activity was the hike across the Red Valley and Rose Valley. It was a long hike indeed. But the views that we got from it were remarkable. The rock formations, castles, hidden cave dwellings, rock churches were beautiful to look at. Along the way were little shops with Turkish locals selling drinks and refreshments. The hike was about 3 miles with lots of hills and muddy pathways. So you should wear something comfortable (which I learned the hard way because I underestimated the level of hiking difficulty and wore my loafers…bad decision!)
After the long hike, we stopped for lunch at Bindalli Restaurant. Lunch time was very busy at this restaurant but we had a great time enjoying lots of Turkish dishes and a great selection of desserts. After lunch, our group went on to another part of town called the Underground City of Kaymakli. These are tunnels that were used during times of war as temporary shelters. We went inside of these centuries old troglodyte complexes and it was a very interesting experience. This is not a place for claustrophobic people because the tunnels are rather narrow and require you to be physically flexible. There were five levels of depth and we only went down the first three. But if you want an adventurous journey to the underground, going deep down in these tunnels would be a great option!
The last stop was Pigeons’ Valley with thousands of dovecotes. We learned that in locals in Cappadocia really appreciate their pigeons since they provide a great source of fertilizer…and they make great food as well…apparently!
We were then dropped off at our hotel…and that was when I passed out instantly!
By the way, we also saw our client’s truck on the road as well as their products on the shelves in grocery stores, which was awesome!!
It’s been great fun and all of us cannot wait to go to Istanbul for CAP to officially begin.
– Minh Ngo –