Shortly after I moved to Seattle, in 2010, I traveled to Turkey for the first time. While I was there, I went to Ephesus, Kusadasi, Pamukkale, Istanbul, and Cappadocia (not in that order). I completely fell in love with the culture, the people, and the country. It's so beautiful with so many warm, friendly, and open people.
Cappadocia is a magical place where it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Eastern Anatolia. It is most recognizable for its fairy chimneys made of soft volcanic rock. And, they have a huge hot air balloon festival there each year that always results in some incredible photos. Unfortunately, there was no hot air ballooning on my trip, but I did get to explore the caves! Between 300 and 1200 A.D. the people of the area built intricate houses, churches, and monasteries into the rocks. You can go exploring in them, but you have to be sure to bring a flash light and make sure to stay on the beaten path. It is so easy to get lost inside the endless labyrinth of rooms. I know, from experience, of course.
I am someone who loves to explore the unknown, and I also love to climb. Add those things to my love of a challenge, and you can see why these caves were perhaps not the best place for the Turkish people to allow me. Luckily, my tour guide was quite tolerant and never got too far ahead of me when I went on a side route because it looked more interesting. I had such a blast running around those caves and getting to see the remnants of the people long ago.
If you ever have the chance to go to Cappadocia, I would highly recommend it. In fact, Turkey as a whole is one of my favorite countries to visit. That's why I went back and lived there for 6 weeks this past summer. I have the feeling I am not finished with Turkey. I can see my journey taking me there again someday, and I look forward to it very much!