Sunday, 29 March 2015

Göreme

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I am sure that a lot of people are familiar with the iconic photos in Cappadocia with the hot air balloons at sunrise. Cappadocia is the region in central Turkey and Göreme is one of the main towns in the area for tourists. Göreme is pronounced as gu-ro-meh and is pretty much a tourist town. Back when I was in Sydney, I was convinced that I wanted to ride the hot air balloons at sunrise no matter the cost. Well, I knew the cost to be $150 for a 40 minute ride and I thought it was reasonable. However, halfway through my trip I didn't really think it was worth it anymore and in the end I didn't end up riding in the hot air balloon.

Turkey doesn't really have much of an internet/ online purchase presence as of yet and when I was doing research, there was only one company that allowed for booking in advance. The interesting thing I found was that the prices for hot air balloons are calculated in Euros as opposed to Turkish Lira.

Tip: Book through your hotel. The receptionist was endorsing this one company - I assume they receive a commission - and when I declined, they then offered a second company which was smaller but also cheaper. I think the cheapest one was €120 with discount.

Nonetheless, I still went to catch the sunrise at Sunset Rock. Now, this was very difficult for me to find information online. But pretty much from the bus station, you head East, and then head up behind the hotels and other lodgings. There are only a few paths, but they all eventually lead to the top, even if they don't really look like the right path. And more likely than not, there will also be people heading in the same direction.

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I went in low season and there were around 40 hot air balloons in the air. Apparently in peak season it can increase to around 100! That is insane since they are all somewhat close together.

Another thing I was to discover about Turkey was the amount of stray dogs and cats. Apparently this Shepherd mix is always at Sunset Point and is very mild and really likes humans/ attention. Anytime someone pet would her, she would just sit incredibly still.

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Watching the sunrise and the balloons too.

At one point the "pack leader" started to bark and eventually three other dogs joined her at Sunset Point.

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This is one of my favourite shots of all time.

After I took the photo above, something somewhat scary happened. As I was walking to head back to the hotel, one of the dogs (not pictured) was walking very close to my feet on the left and started to snap at my legs. Not biting but just snapping very close, too close for comfort. I kept walking as I didn't want to let it know that I was bothered by it. Almost immediately after, the pack leader (well I called her that) walked in front of me, the other dog flanked my side and the dog in the photo above was behind me. In essence I was boxed in. For a brief moment I was a little scared that I would get mauled. Which was "annoying" since I had pet two of the dogs (the one in front and on my right) and I thought: gee, thanks Karma. Oddly enough, the dog on the left (the annoying one) stopped snapping and my newly acquired body guards walked ahead and left me alone with my annoying friend. Cue snapping. At that point I just yelled, "go away". Not because I thought it would understand me but because it was the second loudest/ aggressive sounding thing I could think of that was appropriate. The first would be "shut up" but I didn't think it was appropriate to yell that out at sunrise with all the tourists. Luckily the dog walked off and I was left alone.

Moral of the story: Don't be scared of the dogs in Turkey. They really just do their own thing. But I have no idea what was wrong with that annoying dog. Nonetheless, don't be scared.

For the rest of the day, I took some trails in the area. My intention was the walk for Pigeon Valley (Güvercin Vadisi) and Love Valley (Bağlıdere). Well, in the end it was actually Red Valley (Kızıl Vadis) and Love Valley.

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Church which was unfortunately closed.

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The landscape was just incredible and so different to anything that I had seen. It was weird seeing the dry landscape and then snow (well it was ice by that stage since snowfall was a few days ago) and also icicles hanging from the side ledges. A very surreal place.

The walk through Love Valley was very long and difficult. It had rained (I believe) previously so the ground was incredibly muddy. I only had joggers (well a casual shoe that bore some similarities to joggers) which was not great for walking on such terrain. In hindsight it was funny. Sometimes the ground looked deceptively dry until you took a step and then proceeded to sink 5cm into the mud. It got to the point where I just picked up a stick to test the ground before walking. The most difficult part was walking down this quite steep incline on a super muddy path.

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This photo doesn't quite show how steep and muddy it was though. There was also ice which made things even easier. Not.

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A little hard to see, but that is Love Valley.

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Do you see why?

It was decided that it was better to walk along the side of the road back to Göreme rather than tackle the walk again. On the way back, I met another stray. This one was so fluffy. It actually went into this little hole in the rock, interestingly. Though what was even sadder was seeing all the paw prints on the side of the road as I walked back into town. I love dogs and seeing the old dogs just walking along the side of the road just made me sad.

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Sunset at Sunset Point

Food in Göreme was quite reasonable despite being a tourist town (I expected crazy markups) and they were all very tasty. Lunch was so good (not pictured) and dinner was equally amazing I really love Turkish food and definitely am missing it now that I am back in Sydney. I also like how there is really good quality complimentary bread (unlike Spain).

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Köfte.

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Turkish tea. Yummy.

... but wait, this wasn't the end of the day. After dinner, we collected our bags from the hotel and headed to the bus station for an 11hr bus journey. But that is for another post.

9 comments:

  1. Ooh it's so beautiful there! Even though you didn't end up riding a hot air balloon, seeing them all up in the air like that would've been awesome. LOL @ Love Valley.

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  2. Ok, this looks absolutely fantastic. Almost dreamlike! The skies and the balloons and omg I am loving this. The dogs sound pretty much like I would be afraid of them - I'm so tough and cool yes - but they look pretty good!!

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  3. heeey! hope you have a great day! do you want to follow each other via bloglovin? if yes, just follow me there and i'll follow you back soon! http://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/anna-alina-3947784

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  4. Was it 120/50 per person or per hot air balloon? It's really funny how the prices were listed in Euros. I guess that just goes to show that this really is a tourist location! Ah well, you still managed to get some amazing pictures :) If I ever find myself here, I think I'd be willing to splurge on a hot air balloon ride, because it's just one of those once in a lifetime things, and thanks to your blog post, I can mentally prepare myself for the amount of money I'll be spending :P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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    1. Whoops it was 150 Euros pp. And the balloon is shared with around 20 people max I believe.

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  5. Gorgeous shots. I love the one of the pup with the hot air balloons behind. Incredible. Turkish tea sounds great right about now. :]

    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

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    1. Thank you! It was so cool seeing the sigs at sunrise

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  6. Awwww why didn't you ride the hot air balloon :c
    Anyhow, the pictures is STUNNING <3 Even
    though it wasn't peak season, I think the amount
    of hot air balloon is perfect :) Not to cluttered.
    And thanks for sharing your experience with the
    stray dogs too! I think anyone would feel a bit
    scared if you get boxed in by dogs lol...
    Xx

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  7. Wow!! Thanks so much for pointing me in the direction of your blog. Your pics of Cappadocia are incredible. I'm so excited to travel there over the next week.

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