When we checked out of Kayakapı, the manager asked us where we were headed. To Göreme. A look of concern. It’s only a few kilometres away. Do we have a place to stay? No, we will attend to that when we arrive. A pained look. Must have been a strain for a hotel chain rep not to pitch us a room in Göreme. Discretion got the better of him. A classy place does that.
En route via Zelve Valley, where the Fairy Chimneys grow … or, rather, they weather away.
Plants not too welcome here. But it’s enchanting, and more accessible than, say, Bryce Canyon, Utah.
At the inevitable bazaar, busy with tour bus business, friendly girls struck up a conversation …
A roadway wound through the formations …
The caps are of basalt. They are fated to fall off as erosion progresses.
Arrived in Göreme and searched for a hotel recommended in one of our guides. A sign pointed up a steep hill virtually to the top, where a plain stretched away. The place was full; the clerk suggested we try the neighbouring hotel. Thusway we found the Sultan Cave Suites. Friendly staff, including a young woman from China who was always ready to answer our questions and make conversation. An excellent reception room, spacious — about 20 by 30 feet, with large windows looking out over the village. Groupings of four armchairs and coffee tables. Inviting. The cave room nearby — just across and down a few stairs — was nothing to write home about, but adequate for the two nights, and cozy, for a third the rate at Kayakapı. Overall, my favorite lodging in Turkey; a place with soul.
The hotel has a restaurant down a flight. Ate there the second night … excellent! An American living in Ankara said it is the best in Göreme. At another table was a single Chinese man, well dressed, sporty, looked about to be 30. And a young English family with two very young children, making a grand tour. The Chinese man said he also has a young family. He takes three trips every year — one with his family, one to explore and one to dive. This was his exploratory trip. We all chatted away between our tables; no-one else there at that early hour. Service with a great flourish.
On the steep hill down to the village:
In the village a pleasant coffee spot:
Espresso and honey over ice cream. The best. “No bullshit.” Can’t remember the guy’s name — super friendly. The Chinese woman at the hotel worked here previously.
We visited the curiously named Göreme Open Air Museum, the heart of the National Park, with a spectacular cave church, St. Barbara, for which one paid extra …
The entranceways were packed with tourists in tours. But in the dim cool inside it was quiet. We encountered this group of charming girls and took each others’ pictures …
Nearby Buckle Church has amazing medieval frescoes — but no photos allowed (of course folks were snapping away as soon as the guard got enveloped in the crowd) — here’s the write-up:
The second night we were awakened by conversation on the deck outside our door. It was 3 am. A loud voice, drunk-sounding, full of emotion — anger? It soon became apparent that a tragedy had unfolded while we slept. The co-owner of the hotel was killed in a car crash in some distant place.