Cappadocia.

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!

IMG_1527

After 3 connections, and a delayed flight – Nick shows us his “I’M READY FOR A NIGHT BUS” equipment.IMG_1473

IMG_3089We 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.IMG_1518

oh! Our place also served, LINDEN TEA, which just so happens to be my namesake tea!

Screenshot from 2015-01-03 13:16:37IMG_3214View from our roof top.IMG_3152Morning one, we rented four wheelers (thanks to Anthea and Brittany!). The company we rented through encouraged us to wear hair nets under our helmets…which Kev did proudly.

IMG_3095

And this was what we saw:

IMG_1499IMG_3118IMG_1512IMG_1506

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.IMG_3132

IMG_3140IMG_3130

IMG_3226IMG_3141

IMG_3143

After, not surprisingly, we stopped for tea:

IMG_3147The 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.IMG_3110IMG_3112IMG_3120IMG_3144IMG_3218IMG_3227Once we got up there, Kev was pretty scared of how high we were 🙂IMG_3237Which was kind of understandable 🙂IMG_3239IMG_3241IMG_3244IMG_3251IMG_3255IMG_3258IMG_3261IMG_3262IMG_3266IMG_3278IMG_3279IMG_3282Christmas 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.IMG_3158IMG_3160IMG_3161IMG_316915991075439_ee2d44aeb0_kIMG_3173IMG_3176morning eyes, cold noses.IMG_3178IMG_3180IMG_3185IMG_3192IMG_3198IMG_3200IMG_3207IMG_1519Another day, we rented mountain bikes. The guys looked like this: magazine-worthy.IMG_1538Conferrng with phones as to geo-cache location.IMG_3379This 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!IMG_1539BUT, 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 🙂IMG_3310IMG_3306IMG_3311IMG_3312For instance, on our biking adventure, we happened across a sunset balloon take off! IMG_3315IMG_3324IMG_3330IMG_3333IMG_3333IMG_3340IMG_3342IMG_3343IMG_3344IMG_3348IMG_3352IMG_3354The boys with a close-up view.IMG_3359IMG_3360IMG_3365IMG_3367IMG_3368IMG_3374A few hours later: bike view to Mount Erciyes.IMG_1536All 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! <3IMG_3385

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *