Requires a lot of jumping! But let’s cover the basic 4-1-1 first:
Where is outer space you ask? Why, it’s just over yonder in the most underrated country ever (also one of my most favorite countries in the world), which I happen (sarcastic word choice here) to have chosen to study abroad in through UCEAP. Yes, this was my third time studying abroad; and yes, this will be one of the many posts about Cappadocia if not Turkey; and yes, I really need to stop throwing out the “this is my favorite country in the world” line, but seriously…it really is that good (and underrated).
It was an action-packed semester indeed. One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to go to Turkey was to visit this little place (once again, sarcastic word choice here) called Cappadocia (and in Turkish: Kapadokya). I originally learned about Cappadocia through TeresaTheTraveler years and years ago, and once I knew about it my heart was set you bet.
Located right squat in the middle of Turkey, I literally took a quick trip from the capital city (Ankara, where I was living) to this exotic, magnificent, and one of a kind place. Just to throw in a quick ‘How-To’ guide for you folks who will decide at the end of this blog post that you will need to go to Cappadocia now, here is the quick break down.
You can take an organized tour from any major city (such as Istanbul)…*ahem* ‘most expensive option’; or you can drive yourself with a rental car; or like me, you can just take a coach bus (main method of transportation if you’re not flying) to one of the cities in the Cappadocia region (Nevşehir, Ürgüp or Göreme) and then buy organized tours from there. I’ve met backpackers who preferred to walk the entire region, but they’re just taking it up to the next level. Specifically, I personally went to Göreme on the Nevşehir bus. Different colored tours are offered (Green, Red, Blue, etc) and I personally took the Red and Green tours and then spent the third day exploring myself. Check out TurkeyTravelPlanner for more details though.
Moving on ~ Cappadocia has huge historical significance (repeat: huge!), including kingdom here, civilization there, Roman something everywhere… I DO really have to apologize because when the tour guide was speaking, I was busy running, hopping, and jumping around looking for gnomes. Yes, I’m that type of tourist, don’t look so surprised. For that reason, I cannot give you any more historical information than what is offered online or in the abundance of books they try to sell you at the tourist shops.
Cappadocia was also mentioned in the Bible and it served significant importance to those who were hiding from persecution. That is why this region is so amazing and unique; it’s also similar to a complex outerspace maze. There’s underground cities below everything you see on top (similar to the Underground in London) and so many caves that it literally gives the Flintstones a run for their monies.
Nonetheless, my mission impossible here was to find gnomes and what better way than to go into their homes (I’m rhyming!). These photos are of a specific place during my three day stint in Cappadocia (yes sir, yes ma’am, there’s definitely more). I seriously had so much fun here.
I literally jumped so much and ran everywhere throughout these caves and holes. Maybe I am the gnome I was looking for after all. It was inside me all along!
This specific place is not necessary the safest since you could literally fall 50-100 feet down and just die. There were metal nets laid & structured out (Thank You Turkish Industry of Tourism) but it was not a perfect system. Got to be careful, especially of those holes that you could just fall right in… ‘Alice in Wonderland’-style.
The view from this place was also spectacular. You can see the smaller towns & villages in the distance as well as the other unique and interesting mountains and structures. Isn’t it beautiful? This region literally made me feel like I was on another planet….in outer space.
I also went when it was already winter in Turkey so there was snow everywhere! It literally was freezing cold (zero Celsius? maybe even below zero? Definitely not California weather!) Perhaps running and jumping around wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Also notice the inside of the caves- these were real homes back in the day! (I’m rhyming again…I think) This is truly an invaluable traveling experience + learning opportunity. You definitely need to go when you’re in Turkey (or nearby….*ahem* Greece). I met backpackers in Istanbul who skipped out on Cappadocia and I got so sad. Please don’t be one of them!