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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Goreme

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.

Uchisar
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. 

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