Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wandering in Turkey's Cappadocia Region

I've posted quite a bit about my adventures in Turkey, including Istanbul, Bozcaada Island and Kas. Perhaps one of my most atmospheric journeys in Turkey was walking and hiking in the Cappadocia region. Typically, visitors sign up with a tour group that either drives from village to village hopping off at key sites or they take a hike with a large group that wanders through some of the most popular valleys. Still others take to the skies, floating over the land in multi-colored hot air balloons. Others stroll the trails on their own, hoping to soak up the atmosphere with no particular agenda in mind and probably also missing some historically significant but off-the-radar sights. But traveling with Walking Mehmet is perhaps the most authentic way of learning about this area with its cave-carved churches, monasteries and chapels with curious monoliths termed fairy chimneys adding to the exotic aura of this area.
I recently wrote about my day of Zen-like hiking in this area on National Geographic Traveler's Intelligent Travel blog.http://intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com/2009/11/16/mindfully_meandering_in_turkey/

17 comments:

Jennifer @ Approach Guides said...

Cappadocia is such a beautiful and peaceful place; your post on NGT's Intelligent Travel blog sums it up perfectly!

I am always struck by the combination of man-made and natural beauty of the region.

Your picture of the "fairy chimneys", although on one hand is simply soft rock compressed by basalt, on the other, is a stunning and powerful image!

JTravel said...

Hi Jennifer, I'm so glad you also enjoy this very magical land. It certainly presented almost endless possibilities for shooting some vibrant photos. I'd love to return any time to explore other nooks and crannies in Cappadocia with the same guide because he provided so many wonderful insights that I would never have been aware of.

jennifer Margulis said...

He sounds like an amazing guide. I always prefer small groups or solo to loads of people when I travel. I hope one day to visit this magical place.

JTravel said...

Hi Jennifer, I wouldn't have had such an amazing time if it weren't for Mehmet. He's a wealth of information and I loved his laid-back persona.

Alexandra Grabbe said...

Thanks for another great tip. My husband has always wanted to visit Turkey. You have pointed out so many extraordinary regions that it will be hard to choose!

JTravel said...

Hi Alexandra, If you ever need any additional suggestions or help with your Turkey trip in the future, don't hesitate to contact me. And, I agree, Turkey presents way too many great choices in terms of cool venues to visit.

kerry dexter said...

Jeanine,
what a lovely story. my major professor in undergraduate school, an art hsitorian, spent several summers in Turkey and came back with wonderful photographs and stories which I still remember.

I like your point about being able to get off the beaten track even in very heavily toured areas. I do that always when I am such places.

JTravel said...

Hi Kerry, Yes, I'd also seen many fabulous photos of Turkey but I was afraid that some wonderful sights, like Cappadocia, would be completely overrun with tourists. Luckily I found a guide who could show me a more authentic side to this region.

Alisabow said...

Beautiful photos. I was in Turkey once and this makes me want to go back.

JTravel said...

Hi Alisabow, Glad you like the Cappadocia photos. This was my first time in Turkey and, as soon as I got home, I wanted to return also.

Meredith Resnick - The Writer's [Inner] Journey said...

Just amazing. I've never been to Turkey but this sounds like a wonderful way to become introduced to the country.

JTravel said...

Hi Meredith, Thanks for your comments. When I was deciding which guide to choose for my hike, I had several choices. But I opted for the one-man operation thinking it would be more authentic and that he would put more care into his services. I'm glad I was right.

ReadyMom said...

Turkey has to be one of my favorite travel spots in the world. I've only been their once, but I found the people to be just so welcoming. I wish, like you, I'd been able to spend more time there.

JTravel said...

Hi ReadyMom, I'm glad you had the same experience as I did: that the Turkish people couldn't have been more gracious and welcoming. It really made the trip in this scenic country all the better.

Katherine Lewis said...

Turkey is such an amazing country. I barely scratched the surface in my last visit -- largely focused on mosques and mosaics. I clearly have much more exploring to do!

JTravel said...

Hi Katherine, I also feel that I have so much more to see in Turkey, despite having spent several weeks there last time. My next visit there will include either the Black Sea area or the southeast sections.

canvas art said...

Haha great, what a brilliant post! Gobble gobble!