Cappadocia is a mix of Toyland and Bedrock City so we were never sure whether to expect Noddy or Fred Flintstone; though there was always something new around the next corner. The “fairy chimneys” were everywhere, assuming a host of different shapes such as seals and camels as well as more evocative ones in the aptly named Love Valley.
People have lived amongst these volcanic peaks of central Turkey for thousands of years, carving their way through the rocks to create castles and churches and even underground cities, as well as numerous settlements and individual houses. Even the hutches for the pigeons were hewn into the cliff-side.
Derinkuyu Underground City has eleven stories, each of which could be sealed by rolling enormous wheel-shaped stones across the tunnel. It was built several centuries BC and had a population estimated at 20,000. The complex includes churches, functional areas and living accommodation including, for example, dining rooms with tables and seating carved in the rock.
Throughout the region, numerous church interiors have been carved, complete with the usual adornments such as pillars, altars and imaginery stained glass windows. Being away from the light has ensured the survival of many of the frescoes.
Cappadocia is a walker’s paradise, undulating but not difficult, with constantly changing scenery. The valleys and hillsides were carpeted with spring flowers making it very colourful. Although the main historic sites are now on the tourist trail, the many footpaths remain the preserve of the few, adding tranquillity to the interesting and beautiful.
So, why did we share a bath? Well it had nothing to do with any defects in the hotel’s plumbing. We were in Turkey and what better way to relax at the end of a holiday than a Turkish bath. There we were, altogether in the (near) altogether moving between the steam and the cool shower, being defoliated and foam massaged. Very good for the muscles and joints after the many miles covered. No photographs I am afraid. It wouldn’t do to show ramblers without their boots.