We took Mom to Göreme for her last weekend in Turkey!
Where we stayed
When we planned our travels to the Cappadocia region, we knew we wanted to stay in a cave hotel. Some of our friends highly recommended Vineyard Cave Hotel. We loved it! We stayed in Room #5, which was completely cave except for a very small window by the door. The room was large with two queen size beds, a flat screen TV, fridge, and a seating area. It also had a massive bathroom complete with a hammam-style water basin. Even though it was a cave (originally a stable), there was electricity and great Wi-Fi. 🙂
After we dropped off our bags, we visited the Göreme Open Air Museum. (A UNESCO site, 20TL or free with the Müze Kart.) Cappadocia rocks:
Our host Hasan Bey took us on a personal tour for a couple of hours Saturday morning:
He showed us one of the few rock churches in the area with a pulpit:
I love seeing the frescoes. Many of the caves were used as churches and monasteries, and there are lots of frescos of crosses and Biblical scenes. This was the first time I had seen drawings of pomegranate trees. At first glance, I thought they were Christmas trees:
We also visited Özler Onyx and watched a man carve an egg:
After looking around the store, Mom asked if she could buy the egg we watched being carved and polished. Instead, the store worker gave her one as a gift. Turkish hospitality cannot be beat!
Next, we walked around the edge of Love Valley. Can you guess how it earned that name?
Our last stop on Saturday was Kaymaklı Underground City, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Entrance costs 20TL or is free with the Müze Kart. We hired a tour guide for 50TL. I strongly recommend hiring a guide. While there are a few signs indicating rooms, there are no written explanations of what you’re seeing.
There are 36 excavated cities in the area, but our guide estimated there are closer to 100. Kaymaklı is the widest one open to visitors. We walked and crawled through four levels of the city. We saw animal quarters, living quarters, storage areas, churches, millstone doors, and the kitchen. People lived in the caves for up to six months hiding from their enemies.
We woke up early Sunday morning to watch the sunrise and hot air balloon launch:
We had a fantastic time! It was the perfect finale to Mom’s travels in Turkey. I’m so glad she was able to visit. (She returned safely to the States on Thursday!)
Where we ate
Pumpkin Restaurant: The Pumpkin Restaurant raised their price since the last time I visited. They offer a set four-course menu each night for 40TL. It was so delicious! Definitely one of my favorite places to eat at in Turkey.
Kale Terrasse Restaurant: Kale Terrasse was moderately priced and the food was decent. Mom and I shared a testi kebap – a meat and vegetable dish slow cooked in a sealed clay pot. They break the pot open when they bring it to your table.