Day 5: Istanbul – Cappadocia, Turkey

Having had a great nights sleep and a good shower we had a slow morning chatting to the staff at the hotel whilst Don taught them how to use the coffee machine. In the end we mustered up some enthusiasm and traded the comforts of our hotel for the sweaty confines of our lovely little Skoda. We were heading for Cappadocia, Turkey, a place famous for its national park, Goreme.

It was a very hot drive towards Ankara, up and over the mountains and across a plateau where we followed the shoreline of a huge salt lake. From here to Cappadocia was only a short distance and a little while later we came over the ridge line and out in front of us was Cappadocia, it was incredible, if I’d been asleep and just woken up to see that I could easily have mistaken it for another world, there were cave houses made within these huge sandstone pillars and they were everywhere! Al, Don and I had a little drive around before making a decision to stay in a little cave hotel called “Paradise”, I wouldn’t quite go that far but it was really nice and the guy who ran it was really helpful. Alan was left to park the car whilst Don and I stood laughing as he flew up the steep hill to the hotel bottoming out the vehicle as he took a run up at the really steep incline – turns out there was a much easier way up to the area to park cars but still, the Skoda made it, just.
We spoke with the owner about doing a balloon ride, something which the area of Cappadocia is famous for and eventually we settled for a good price €130 with a company called Turkey Balloons. Excited about the prospect of a sunrise balloon flight but slightly concerned about the 4am get up we went out for some beers to Antalya, a little restaurant up the road for Turkish pizza and the obligatory beers. As we sat and drank beers whilst listening to the call to prayer from the minarets dotted all around town. At this point Don came up with a translation of what they were saying to clarify things for Alan and I, it goes something like this “aaaahh-I-aaaahh, I’m really hungry, aaaahh-I-aaaahh, I could do with a beer, aaaah-I-aaaahh the sun is almost down, aaaah-I-aaaah it’s almost the end of Ramadan, aaaa-I-aaaah the sun is down, aaaah-I-aaaah let’s party!”. I am unsure of Don’s translation but it did provide us with a laugh.

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