Friday, February 13 at 6:10pm, we left New York.
Thirty hours later, my two brothers and I landed in Cappadocia, Turkey.
Considering we had merely one day to spend in this incredible region of Turkey, I think we accomplished much.
Sunday, February 15th at the break of dawn, we checked an item off our bucket list: hot air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey.
I must say, there is nothing like it. Sweeping over breathtaking views of one of the world's oldest lands, through its unique fairy chimneys and pigeon houses, over colorful valleys and rock formations from nearly 1000 meters high in a humble basket to start the morning must have been most conventional. It was quite a checkmark indeed.
After some light breakfast at Osman Bey, our cave house of choice, we rented some ATV's to get a closer look at those fairy chimneys. Our lovely guide Ali took us around areas in Nevşihir including Göreme, Urgüp, Ortahisar and everything in between. Ali advised we had come in good time. As he led us to old rock castles and crumbling cave churches, he emphasized these rocks had been around for ages, and with the unpredictable weather conditions we've all been experiencing each season, it's unpredictable how much longer these unique shapes will hold up.
For lunch, we made our way up north and upon devouring a juicy doner kebab for lunch in Avanos, took a peak at what was spinning in Güray Seramik, a fifth generation pottery house located just adjacent to the Cappadocia Underground Ceramic Museum in Avanos. Housed in a two story rock, this place is known to be one of the oldest manufacturing and sales workshops for ceramics. It was a treat to witness these professionals behind the scenes spinning, jiggering, fettling and then manually drawing in every design line by hand with such effortless precision. They were incredible.
To resume our rock hunt, we made our way over to Devrent Valley also known as Imagination Valley near Göreme, where we encountered a giant rock camel, some rock seals, and other peculiar shapes only our imagination could make out. It's mind blowing to think these shapes were created by nature itself. We walked in and around what they call the rock formed zoo and utilized the "animals" for some neat pictures.
And as the sun started going down, so too, did our ability to keep up. We made our last resort to Uçhisar Castle located just a little south of Göreme. We climbed up to the top of the castle to get one last look at the infinite stretch of rocks and the colorful landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey. Overlooking this old sacred land, and envisioning the people who live here now and the ones who made marks on these very rocks thousands of years ago; the irrefutable tangibility of the land's grand history sunk in as I reflected on its unscathed beauty from above.
Soon enough, it started to get very cold and we were convinced we had seen enough rocks for one day. At sundown we headed back to the cave house, totally forgot about dinner, and fell asleep. I guess you can say we were pretty full from all the yummy things our eyes had consumed for the day.
And that was a day in Cappadocia, Turkey.