Terrific Turkey – Fairy Chimneys and Open Air Museum in Cappadocia
Getting the chance to holiday in Turkey between the Olympic and Paralympic Games offered me the opportunity to experience something different.
From Istanbul, my friend and I travelled to Cappadocia for a quick 2 day one night stay. It started off as a bit of an adventure (no rurpise there) since I thought the name of the town was Cappadocia where we were headed. We only knew that our Istanbul hotel had made our plane reservations but we didn’t think until moments before we climbed into a cab (literally) to go to the airport that maybe it would be handy to have an airline, flight number or even destination. good call. There are no flights to Cappadocia, Turkey. There are only flights to the town where we went – about an hour away from Istanbul and about 60kms away from the Cappadocia area. (I still can’t remember the name of where we landed)
Cappadocia had been recommended to me by my cousin Susan, as an area of interest due in some large part to the fact that it is filled with natural caves that had been used at various times in which people would hide or live. I kept calling at Carpaccio for some reason so it took a bit of time for my lovely hotel front desk people to figure out what I wanted – they were trying to send me to Italian restaurants in Istanbul caves if they could find one.
Thankfully with their patience, they figured it out.
The Open Air Museum is a UNESCO Heritage site and is a perfect example of caves being used to house people. There were several churches that we visited as well as kitchen facilities, dining areas and the like.
There are many interesting and natural rock formations including an area of Fairy Chimneys that have one kind of rock as the stem and another as the ‘hat’ seemingly positioned by fairies.
We braved a tour the next day to the Underground City. This is a series of caves and tunnels and rooms that could protect a whole town in the case of attack. There was a sign that if you experienced claustrophobia, heart or breathing problems you should skip this. They should have said something about panic attacks too.
My math was off and I thought 60 metres down was only 20 feet – no problem. It actually goes down for 180 feet (about 18 stories) and in order to get to the bottom, where the ancient morgue is located (we were told bodies could stay fresh for weeks!) you have to go a long way down on ancient and slippery stone stairs in a stooped position. A stooped position that is for my friend who is normal height – I am short so for me it was just bowing my head. The tricky part was coming back up. In my mind, there should have been two sets of stairs – no such luck – so it was a bit freaky to see a wave of humanity trying to come down the stairs as we were trying to go up – hence the panicky episode.
My favourite place was garden of rock formations that included a pair of rocks that looked like humans kissing and a cluster that looked like seals. I was told that Antonio Gaudi, the legendary Spanish architect visited here; influencing him in some of his designs.