When you hear the word Cappadocia, you probably think “best ice creams in the world”. And that’s because you’re saying it incorrectly. When pronounced properly, Cap-Ah-Doe-Key-Ah no longer sounds like it would be an Italian ice cream at all. And we’re back to thinking about rocks. No? Ah well, that was only the introduction…
I’m hearing horrible rumours that might suggest Michael Palin has already beaten me to it with his frank and honest account of Turkey. Which make all of my tourist lies seem a little weak and shallow. But I’ll continue with them anyway, in the hope you missed his show, and god forbid, rely on my blog for your travel insights around the globe. I arrived by overnight bus to GÃ¶reme, in Cappadocia early this morning. I first made quick stop off at the Flintstones Cave Pension, and managing to wake up the owner from his slumber just long enough to find out where I should drop off my bag. And no, there are no typo’s in there. I actually am staying in a cave, and it is named after the Flintstones.
The whole landscape is the responsibility of three volcanoes, Ericyes, Hasan and Melendiz Daglan. Thirty million years ago (to the day… possibly) their eruptions covered the area in ash and mud. The ash compressed over time, and has been worked on by the process of erosion ever since. Blocks of a harder rock, usually basalt in this case, are exposed by the erosion all around it, leaving these remarkable looking fairy chimneys left standing.
All of which leaves me to believe I may have woken up to a Geology Adventure Park. Every now and then, I still think I hear the distant screams as a roller-coaster cart speeds over the top of one of the chimneys. But it might be my imagination.Even more remarkable than the landscape itself, as though that weren’t enough – is how the people have been making use of every part of it for thousands of years. The fairy chimneys have been carved out, caves have been used as homes, churches, castles, kitchens, even entire cities. In GÃ¶reme especially, the lifestyle continues to this day all over the city.
There’s even an open air museum that has a whole bunch of these buildings in demonstration. I was a little bit wary of visiting this particular site. The last time I visited an open air museum, our school was banned for setting alight to one of the buildings. Not my fault, I might add. Still, the scars of that torment are beginning to heal, and besides, it’s made of stone. What’s the worst that could happen? And that’s how I came to destroy an entire 12th century church to the hill side, as well as find myself in a Turkish prison.
No, it’s not true.
Had you going though, didn’t I?
In many ways, I’m amazed what the people of this area have accomplished, making use of all the resources around them. On the other hand, I think that it’s not so different from people of ancient England making use of the plentiful forest land to build wooden villages and castles everywhere. The only difference is that most of these have survived. So we can still look on with wonder. Whilst our old villages of England may have been burnt to the ground, these have been developed and expanded upon ever since.So much so, the Pension I’m staying in is indeed (as earlier web sites suggested) a cave. And as the saying goes, “you can’t beat living in a cave”. They always said this is how I would end up. Don’t try and deny it.
I’m saying in a 6-person room, which is actually separated into two rooms. Three bedrooms with a door, and a small archway to the lower area, where my bed is. During my first day, I asked two American girls what it was like sleeping in a cave (no, that’s not one of my chat-up lines, dammit :P). The reply was instant from both, and they replied at the same time with “cold”, and “dark”. Well… here are my thoughts.
- It’s pitch black at night. There are no windows to the outside world. None.
- The light switch is at the other end of the room. If you arrive back to the room quite late, and everyone else is already asleep… They probably won’t appreciate you stumbling over them to find you way around. I’m very fortunate that my camera gives off a usable light when in “preview” mode.
- Caves don’t have many power sockets.
- When you emerge out of the cave in the morning, and the sun is shining… It’s like, well, emerging out of a cave.
- Sleeping in total darkness is easy, and rather comfortable.
- Yes, it’s true. It can be kinda cold. But the blankets are good 🙂
Anyway, there are some first impressions for you. More tomorrow 🙂