It’s Autumn break for me. Strangely enough, this break falls exactly 2 weeks prior to Winter Break. I decided to head to Cappadocia. One of the things that excites me about Turkey is the variety of domestic travel opportunities. I had read and watched videos about Cappadocia in the past. It is a region in Turkey that comprises multiple cities. The region is known for it’s very unique landscape. I spent four days visiting this area. My flight from Istanbul was less than 1 hour and around $70 USD round trip.
If you ask anyone about suggested activities in Cappadocia, they will likely encourage you to take a hot air balloon ride. And they should. Because it’s a great way to see the landscape. The rocks, valleys, fairy chimneys, and mountains make me wish that I had paid closer attention in geology and earth science courses. I know that volcanoes, erosion, and years of weathering have made the interesting rock formations. Some of them were perfect homes for the people who lived here years ago. Some of them are strangely phallic shaped. Some of the rock looks like smooth sand dunes. Our balloon ride took place early in the morning, so that we could see the sunrise. The sun had actually risen by the time we took flight, but it was still a great ride.
As mentioned earlier, the rocks and caves of this region were home to many years ago. A visit to Goreme Open Air museum was nice for getting a peek into cave dwellings. This region was home to a large Christian population that is even referenced by Apostle Paul in the Bible. The Open Air Museum has several churches with unique paintings on the walls and ceilings. I found it interesting to learn that these early churches have been preserved. In some countries, they wipe out signs of prior religious influences when a new religion becomes dominant. Turkey is a predominately Muslim country, but it has multiple historic sites of Christian significance that have been preserved. The museum is also special because it is a Unesco World Heritage Site.
This area has lots of organized tours that people can take. For those who aren’t interested in lots of touring, you can also simply take time to walk around the town of Goreme or surrounding towns. The region has opportunities for hiking and exploring the hills and valleys. My travel mate was pretty good at getting me to try a bit of climbing that was outside of my comfort zone. When I got to the top of the hills, I would suddenly recall that although I am not afraid of heights, I am terrified of falling! The climbing is not for the faint of heart.
Overall, I was glad to have my first little adventure out of Istanbul to see more of Turkey. It has made me eager to continue traveling and exploring more of this country. I have learned that the people of Turkey can sometimes be as interested to learn about me as I am to learn about them. I know that Black women are not very common in this region. I was commonly stopped and asked where I was from while walking through town. One waiter interrupted my breakfast no less than 7 times this morning to ask me more questions. He was disappointed that I would not share my social media information with him or invite him to visit me in Istanbul for Christmas. I mention this because this type of attention can be both flattering and overwhelming. I don’t mind a little harmless flirtation, but I am offended by being objectified as a person of interest simply because of my race/nationality. If you are a woman of color traveling here, you will probably notice more than average flirting or conversations that quickly transition into asking about whether you are married or single or if they can visit you at your hotel. Yes, they try it! But thankfully, I have not encountered men who are pushy when you tell them you are not interested.
Two more weeks of school before my next travel adventure! I’ll be taking 2 trips during the Christmas holiday break. Hopefully, I’ll take the time to stop and write about them too.