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    Benedicts in Turkey: Cappadocia

    After our brief stop at Tuz Gölü, we headed onward to Cappadocia. (We visited Cappadocia several times while we lived in Turkey. It was a five hour drive from Ankara, which made it an easy getaway.) It’s a unique place with a bizarre landscape! There’s lots to see and eat and little shops to browse.

    We had about a day and a half in Göreme. We stayed again at Vineyard Cave Hotel and can’t recommend it enough! Mom, Dad, Sam, and Ben had one of the completely underground cave rooms, and David and I were in another. The owner and his son could not be more hospitable. They have one of the best Turkish breakfasts! I’ll dream of Turkish breakfast and wish for salted roasted apricot seeds for the rest of my life.

    After we dropped our bags, we went to the Göreme Open Air Museum. (A UNESCO site, 20TL or free with the Müze Kart.) Cappadocia is the best place for boys. It has ALL the rocks to climb.

     

    Open Air Museum, boys climbing

     

    Turkish Poppies

     

    Mom and Dad in the Open Air Museum

     

    Sam climbing rocks

     

    We had dinner that night at Old Cappadocia Restaurant at the recommendation of a friend. They include free bread and are a lot more wallet friendly than some of the other restaurants in Göreme. David ordered testi kebap where they cook the stew in a pot and break it open to serve it:

     

    Testi Kebap

     

    The next morning, our host Hasan Bey took us on a private tour! He has wonderful childhood stories and a rich knowledge of the region.

    This is one of the few cave churches with a pulpit:

     

    Cappadocia cave pulpit

     

    He also took us to Beyzade Kuruyemis & Lokum for Turkish delight and dried goods (salted roasted apricot seeds!!!), Özler Onyx for jewelry shopping (zultanite is exclusive to Turkey), and then to the Love Valley:

     

    Cappadocia rocks

     

    Love Valley

     

    This was our rental car for the trip – a Fiat Freemont. It served us well, even though the six of us were quite cozy inside with our luggage. It had a half-sized trunk:

     

    Rental Car

     

    Hasan Bey had to cut the tour a little short because his son got engaged! He went back to prepare for a party and we went onwards to Avanos to look at the pottery shops. The boys got to try their hand at the wheel:

     

    Boys at the pottery wheel in Avanos

     

    Hittite wine decanters

     

    We had lunch at Mado along the river:

     

    Avanos river, mosque, gondola

     

    Turkish tablecloth pattern

     

    Our last stop of the day was Kaymaklı Underground City, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Entrance cost 20TL or was free with the Müze Kart. We hired a tour guide for 50TL. He was the same guide we used when we visited with Mom in November!

     

    Kaymaklı tunnel

     

    Kaymaklı Underground City

     

    On our last morning, we woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the hot air balloon launch. Even though I’d watched it many times before, it never loses its magic:

     

    Goreme sunrise balloon launch

     

    After a quick nap and another hearty breakfast, we packed up the car again and drove south to the coast! Next up: Çıralı!

     

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