We were flying over the rippled valleys of Cappadocia which we planned to visit later on the same day. We saw Rose valley, Pigeon valley, Open Air Goreme Museum, etc.; all from a bird’s eye view. A pilot can only guide the balloon vertically, as the horizontal path is clearly directed by the wind around. Dennis was professional and fluent in English and was properly describing about the sights we were flying over. He had years of experience in flying the balloon and we felt absolutely safe while flying with him.
Come to my arms, or, let me live in your stomach. Wake up your sleeping taste bud, immersing with food. Only food and travelling should not be wasted in the world. Turkish cuisine is counted as one of the best in the world, ranking the third place apart from China and France. This summer, I finally made a tour to my obsessed Turkey with excitement.
Day 11: Took the early morning Hot-Air balloon ride at about 05:00 am to watch the sunrise and returned back to the hotel at 07:30 am. Post breakfast we took the Green tour at about 09:00 am that was organized by the hotel that included exploring ancient monasteries, underground cities, pigeon valleys and a trek alongside a river. We returned at 05:30 pm and after resting for a while we headed Turkish Night at around 08:30 pm which included dinner, drinks, dance and entertainment (performances included were whirling dervish, belly dancing, etc).
As it's a long distance from Patara to Cappedocia, so we decided to halt at Sultanhani. As it's a small town, in the night by 8-9 everything was closed. Luckily a jewelers shop was open, the gentleman there took us to a Kavmane pension which is off road and not easy to find. As it was off season, the whole pension was free. We took a room for 120 lira with breakfast. Next morning the breakfast was a nice omelette and kahavalti. And with that we immediately left for Cappedocia.
On the way there is Ihalari valley which is an underground valley of 3km but we couldn’t cover this.
Finally we reached Goreme/Cappedocia and the only thing I can say is it’s a must go place! The place is full of mountains made from volcanic ash which has got hardened due to rain. The sight is marvelous that even after being there for 2 days, I was still mesmerized by the place. More interesting for me were the newly built houses in the old rock formations.
You can get stay information from accommodation information centre which is in the heart of the city. We stayed at Ali's guest house and I definitely can vouch for it. It’s a newly built guest house which provides dorm for 20 lira with breakfast and all day tea, apple tea and coffee. The dorm was very clean and tidy. At Ali’s guest house we booked our dervish dance which happens 10 km from Goreme in govt known centre for 20 euro. FYI dervish dance happens in Konya City centre every Saturday at 7:30 for free. As heard from yan ( A fellow traveler who met us in Pammucale), it was authentic but local people were not serious hence their phones were ringing and there were loads of disturbances.
The place where we experienced this mystical dance was a beautiful, quiet and calm old historical building. The dance went for an hour. The music, instruments, those prayers were just amazing. The best was the technique of those dancers who kept turning at the same place for half an hour without spotting, hands in the air and the head tilted. Outside they gave us a warm cinnamon drink which had a very interesting and authentic taste. Once back in Cappedocia near our guest house, we had gozhleme which is Turkish version of our Indian parantha or western pan cake. The only difference in parantha and gozhleme is that they make it really long ... It was worth a try especially on the way from Sultanhani to Cappedocia on the road side hotel where we sat next to their tandoor and ate gozhleme with chilli in vinegar and hot chai.
If you aim for hot air ballooning in Cappedocia then plan in a way that you book in advance and are in Goreme at 6 in morning because ballooning happens only in the morning.We booked with Turkish Balloning Company for 160 Euros. The price for ballooning varies from min for 90 € and max for 175€ based on the experience of the pilots and the company brand.
In morning they picked us up at 5:15 a.m. at Ali’s guest house. After sumptuous breakfast they took us to the sight and showed us how balloon is filled and then we took off. We went max height of 800m covered 20km at 15 km/hr speed... It was an amazing beautiful sight with balloons all around us. It was a great experience but nothing adventurous. Once down the local champagne was opened, certificates were given and then we were dropped back to our hotel.
Konya is more developed place and little bit crowded as compared to Cappadocia. Main reason to visit Konya is to watch “Darvish Dance”. This is the only place where traditional Darvish dance happens, everywhere else it’s really commercial. Hostels here are very less, mostly the stay will be hotels.
Day 6: Cappadocia - Konya.
Visit the underground city of Kaymakli, created for defensive purposes by the early Christians. Drive to Konya. Paul preached here on his first missionary journey. Konya, today, is famous for its Mevlevi Dervishes (Whirling Dervishes). Visit the Mevlana Mausoleum and museum. Overnight in Konya. Includes: (Breakfast, Dinner).