Bergama Theatre Bergama Trajan Temple Dalyan Lycian Tombs Kaprulu Kanyon Afrodisias Tetrapylon Demre Beach Ortahisar Volcanic Plug Goreme Sunset View Yoruk Turquoise Treasures and Volcanic Vistas draw Travellers to Turkey
All photos copyright © 2014 Terra Encounters All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 29 January 2015


Gorgeous Göreme

From the glorious first view of Uçhisar, we drove a short distance until the sign P. Canyon, a viewpoint on the right hand side.   It was our first glorious view of Göreme and Rose Valley.  Göreme, pronounced gur reh meh, is derived from Ancient Greek Κόραμα (Kòrama).  You can see the resemblance of the current pronunciation with the Greek name.  Göreme is very small (population 2500) and you can walk to the restaurants and nearby sights. 

But some of the more interesting sights and hiking trails need transportation: either bike, dolmuş, or car.  It is now the 20th day of our 30-day 3700 km road trip.  Please see the Central Turkey Itinerary page for an interactive map of our trip from Antalya via Goreme and Safranbolu to Istanbul.

Vineyard Cave Hotel

Vineyard Courtyard
Finally, we arrived at the Vineyard Cave Hotel on a quiet side street in Göreme (on Ayaz Efendi Sokak 12 just a block north of Karşı Bucak Caddesi).  To keep the cost down, we had booked the standard room, a simple barrel vault, which is some kind of concrete arch used to create the ceiling.  Cave rooms always cost a lot more.

Hassan the owner
As described in our Turkey Trip Planning page, we prefer to stay in the smaller family-run hotels.  The down side of booking over the Internet is that you cannot bargain.  Normally in off-season we would recommend shopping around in person, especially if you are not on a tight schedule.  As we were on a work vacation, we researched all our destinations and booked our hotels in advance.  However, what we did is select a low cost room.  This turned out well because the hotel offered an upgrade to a better room almost every time.

Cave Room 4

In this case, Hassan (the owner) offered us the honeymoon suite (jacuzzi included) for the same price, which was nice since this was a four night stay.  The cave room was very large and beautifully decorated with antiques, crafts and carpets.  Hassan runs a carpet business as well. 
Shower with Ottoman Scene
The bathroom – as large as some pensions in Italy – was like a hamam with an excellent shower and painted tiles.  

Hittite-inspired crafts

Cave just means that the room was carved out of bed rock.  You can see the scrape lines in the solid rock wall.  So, the cave man and woman lived in cave 4.  The only other cavemen here are from South Korea.  Later in the week there were a few more travellers: some embassy staff from Ankara.

Breakfast is served

There was a very diverse, self-serve breakfast on the top floor and you can also get eggs to order.  We ate simit for breakfast since it is more aromatic than white bread.  The coffee was delicious. 
Breakfast Crafts


You can eat indoors in the breakfast room, which has are some very beautiful crafts.

Alternatively, you can eat outside on the terrace with a great view of the early morning balloons and Uçhisar.  No, the volcanic plug is not that close. The photo was taken with a 300mm lens. 
We spent a lot of mornings talking with Hassan.  He said that only the ground floor of this building existed before it was converted into a hotel.

Sunset Point View
At the end of our first day, we drove to Sunset View.  You can easily walk there. This is the (free) viewpoint on a ridge on the south side of Göreme town.  It is not the (not free) Sunset Point located outside of town. 

Everybody comes to Sunset Point for the dusk-tinted views of the town and Rose Valley but it is worth it for the soft lighting and unimpeded views. 
Rose Valley
There is limited car parking but few tourists drive.  You can walk uphill to the east above Sunset Cave Hotel to get to a wide open and undeveloped plateau. 
It is fortunate that the town is not allowing any tall buildings or desecration of the hoodoo areas.  There are lots of stalls near tourist areas but no touts or high pressure people.  However, more and more old buildings in the towns are being converted to hotels.  On the other hand, there are no large hotels and little traffic.  All in all, Göreme is an awesome, must-see place. 

Next Post: Cappadocia Fairy Chimneys
Last Post:  Göreme Top 9 Sights

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Central Turkey Itinerary Map

Map of Second Part of Our Trip

Goreme Pasabagh
Pretty Pasabagh
A map of our Central Turkey Itinerary showing stopovers is now available.  It can also be viewed via the Map 2 button at the top of every page.  

Goreme Sunset Point
Rose Ridge -
view from Sunset Point

The most incredible places in the second part of the trip were Goreme (Cappadocia) with its fairy chimney and eroded landscapes, 

Safranbolu View
Sweet Safranbolu

Safranbolu with its Ottoman houses decorating green hills. 

Amazing Yoruk

and nearby, unvisited Yoruk with its decaying timber-framed Ottoman houses lining dirt streets.  These are truly must-sees for any itinerary plan

Next Post: Göreme
Last Post:  Göreme Top 9 Sights


Thursday, 15 January 2015

Goreme Cappadocia

Göreme Top 9 Sights

Gorgeous Goreme
Located in Cappadocia, a central region of Turkey, Göreme is a touristy but easy going, small town with lots to see and do. Our top 9 favourite places, which will be described in future posts, were: 

Kizkalesi to Göreme

After taking a photo of the soft sand beach in Kizkalesi, we set sail for Göreme.  At first it was flat and boring, until we turned north on the expressway to Ankara.  The scenery changed from palm trees to sparse shrubs. 

Taurus Mountains
Towering Taurus Mountains
Then we climbed over the pass to 1365 m above sea level.  Suddenly there were snow-clad mountains framed by a hazy blue sky. 
The ancient Mesopotamians (present day Iraq & Syria) believed the storm-gods caused torrential thunderstorms in these mountains that created the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which were essential to their civilization.  The bull was commonly used as the symbol of the storm gods and so even today this range is called the Taurus Mountains.
Once we descended onto a high plateau (Cappadocia), it was again flat and treeless.  The expressway went almost all the way to Nevşehir, where we saw the first cliff side huts.  Nevşehir is very modern, large city compared to Göreme.   

Uchisar Volcanic Plug
Uchisar Volcanic Plug
Then we headed east to Uchisar and suddenly we were hit with hoodoo formations and a castle on the slopes of a very high volcanic plug.  There were stalls, a camel and lots of tourists. 
Uchisar Camel
Fred the Camel

Next Post: Central Turkey Itinerary
Last Post:  Happy Saturnalia