We had quite the Christmas! Hours after picking Nick up from the airport, we jumped on an overnight bus to CAPPADOCIA, a region about 10 hours south of Istanbul because our lovely families PLANNED A SURPRISE CHRISTMAS EXCURSION for us there. Who does that? Honestly? Our families, that’s who. Talk about an incredible time.
On the bus!
We arrived at 7am and headed to “Azure Cave Suites” which happened to be the most incredible “hotel” ever. Our rooms were literally caves – and they were GORGEOUS. We had the most amazing breakfast (provided for free!) every morning, and homemade puddings, breads and sweet treats every night. The family running the place and their German Shepard puppy, Zeus, were absolutely the best ever. They literally roasted us chestnuts (over an open fire!) on Christmas eve, made us gingerbread men cookies and did everything they could to make us feel like family. On our last morning, they drove us back to the main section of town where we could catch our bus, and the woman explained her “business” this way: “every guest is a family member from all over the world that I am just having the opportunity to meet for the first time. It’s a celebration every day.” And, it truly felt like that every. day.
oh! Our place also served, LINDEN TEA, which just so happens to be my namesake tea!
And this was what we saw:
Cappadocia is especially known for two things…1) exceptional natural wonders, in particular fairy chimneys (pictured below) and 2) hot air balloons (which are a bit further down this post).
The rock formations have eroded into hundreds of spectacular pillars which people of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia carved into houses, churches and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits. Obviously now all are completely abandoned, but climbing through the tiny caves and crevices, higher and higher up these formations made for an awesome day of exploring.
After, not surprisingly, we stopped for tea:
The next day we woke up early and went on a killer tour which included an underground city, a gorgeous hike in the basin of the “Grand Canyon” of Turkey, drank (more!) tea, river-side, explored more caves, fairy chimneys and monasteries and truly, just took in the beauty.Once we got up there, Kev was pretty scared of how high we were 🙂Which was kind of understandable 🙂Christmas morning, we woke up at 5:30 am to (FREEZE OUR BUTTS OFF) watch the sunrise and watch the famed hot air balloons take off. Sorry for the 6,000 balloon pictures, but it was honestly magic.morning eyes, cold noses.Another day, we rented mountain bikes. The guys looked like this: magazine-worthy.Conferrng with phones as to geo-cache location.This is how I felt about it. (That picture does not do my grumpiness justice.) We were minutes from dropping the bikes back off for the day, so my spirits were higher than on other times 🙂 Drew, if you’re seeing this, I would NOT have made you proud!BUT, after biking up the insane hills, we had an opportunity to do some pretty killer geo-caching, explore MORE old cave-things and see some pretty spectacular sights, so in retrospect, I shouldn’t have complained quite as much as I did 🙂For instance, on our biking adventure, we happened across a sunset balloon take off! The boys with a close-up view.A few hours later: bike view to Mount Erciyes.All in all, Cappadocia was amazing. We were all so thankful we had a chance to visit! Thanks Mar and Kevin and Mom and Dad and Brittany and Anthea and Ezgi and Mike! It was a Christmas to remember! <3