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A destination very high on my travel list was Cappadocia in central Turkey. The fantastic landscape with its very strange looking rock formations is a result of the volcanos in the area creating a soft tuff layer. The soft tuff layer eroded over the 1000nds of years. Only at points with stones on top this did not happen. So the funny looking fairy chimneys emerged. In the soft tuff caves were digged and people (and tourist) still live in them. The area has a Christian past, so many and beautiful painted churches were digged into the tuff.
The main town and center of tourism is Göreme. For a long time I have not run into so many tourist crowds, especially Asian. The town was packed with people – a bit of a shock, I thought at this time of the year is not much going on – very wrong. Highlight in the whole area is the sunrise balloon ride. Up to 150 balloons are up in the air – at the same time, a fantastic spectacle – from the ground and from the air. BUT the balloons are being packed with people – 20 in one balloon is a normal number and safety is also a concern. I did my tour with Anatolian Balloons, I was picked up at 5 am and the balloon ride started shortly after 6. 1 hour in the air for 130€… but it was worth it. Fantastic experience.
The castle of Ortahisar and Uchisar are also popular destinations as well as the open air museum of Göreme with the famous churches. Hiking is popular but you need to be careful not to get run over by a mountain or motorbike… There are several good viewing points, especially the “Red Hill Sunset Point” was amazing. But don’t think you are alone, even if the pictures look otherwise.
1 ½ hours away from Görme is the area around Güzelyurt and Ilhara Valley – a green valley with an all year running river – not visited by so many tourists. It is good to see some green in the yellowish nature.
We stayed 5 nights to experience this beautiful area, and also some places that are not overrun by tourists.
One advice, if you don’t like massive dogs, don’t visit the “ferry chimneys” early morning. I had dog prints on top of my backpack and I was standing/walking!

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