Cappadocia and Fairy Chimneys.

Clive is 60!The group will be spending its third night at "Berlin Camping" in Göreme tonight (2004-04-16) to celebrate Clive's birthday! (The camp site, whilst basic, is right on the edge of town and charges 15,000,000 TL - Yes fifteen million Turkish Lira (about $9.00 USA) for one van, two people and electricity)

Cappadocia in general, and Göreme in particular, are noted for their incredible landscape (and architecture - the two are completely interrelated). Many areas consist of very soft volcanic rock called "tuff" which has been eroded into large cones, within whichA typical hotel sign advertising "cave rooms" etc. caves have been dug to form houses and churches. In many cases the cones are topped by large boulders of a harder rock that has protected the "tuff" and thus helped to form the cone. This gives many of the cones an amusing phallic appearance. Many of the hotels in Göreme have some rooms within these cones (known as "fairy chimneys).

One of the attractions of Göreme is its very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The village is full of bars, restaurants and cafes with remarkably little in the way of aggressive selling.

Lars plays hide and seek in a canyon. About 1km out of town is the Göreme Open-Air Museum (a UNESCO listed site) a collection of rock carved churches some with primitive 11th and 12th century frescos.

One of the best, and reassuringly expensive, ways to appreciate Göreme is from the air, by hot air balloon. There are several companies offering rides but Kapadokya Balloons can be highly recommended.

Our flight (the long option, 1.5 hours) was a wonderful combination of great views and virtuoso displays of ballooning skill. The two balloons (piloted by Lars from Sweden and Kaili from the UK) followed each other in and out of canyons of "fairy chimneys", often skimming only centimeters away from ground. The obvious enthusiasm and knowledge of our pilot helped make the flight very enjoyable. A champagne breakfast rounded off the experience.

Göreme is a very pleasant place to spend a few days at this time of the year.

Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2004-04-16.