Step outside our hotel room to check the weather to find a crystal blue sky filled with hot air balloons floating over Goreme and the nearby Pigeon Valley. Today they were flying much lower than the day before, actually descending down into the valley between the fairy peaks.
One balloon with Japanese writing seemed to have gotten into trouble and landed in a small field up against one of the peaks resulting in a tedious production of moving the balloon with all the passengers still inside the basket and collapsing the balloon almost straight down rather letting it fall lengthwise.
After another delightful breakfast on the terrace we explored a few last valleys before our flight back to Istanbul.
First Pasabaglari Valley, out past Cavusin, is more of a Cappadocialandesque experience than the peaceful walk through Red and Rose Valleys the day before. The parking lot lined with tour buses, groups posing at the top of the white cliffs, and kids clambering about inside the small church.
With many of the same rock formations we’ve seen in other valleys I don’t know what draws the crowds. (As I look back through the photos I can’t believe I wrote this last line. Crowds or not it’s an incredible site.)
A few kilometers past Pasabaglari is Devrent Valley described in Lonely Planet as having some of the most interesting rock formations. This striking valley of pink hued conical formations, many of which have small darker colored caps, was much quieter with no big tour buses in the smallish parking lot. Steep trails wind up into the hills revealing stunning views of the valley back out towards Avanos.
Lunch back in Goreme was a low budget yet tasty affair and my favorite lunch of the trip. Firin Express, touted in LP as having the best Turkish pizza, is dead on. The menu boasts a long list of meat and veg combinations served in a crispy folded over bread something like a thin calzone. The meat combinations were especially flavorful. Just off the main drag, the shaded terrace is a pleasant respite from the hot sun.
After lunch drove back out to Love Valley, off of the main road north of Goreme, where our exploration of Cappadocia first began in a hot air balloon two mornings earlier. Here are some of the tallest formations resembling giant phalluses, which may explain the name of valley, or if you prefer enoki mushrooms. In either case it’s a surreal experience to wind around the tall towers gleaming in the midday sun.
Further down the road that leads to Love Valley is a panoramic view point overlooking the valley.
Having filled our quota of strange rock formations for the day, spent the rest of the afternoon chill’n on Hotel Kelebek terrace with views of Goreme below.
Our travels through Turkey ended with an evening flight back to Istanbul out of the tiny Nevsehir airport, a few hours’ sleep and the Marriott Airport Hotel and a dreadfully early flight, 6:20AM, back to Barcelona via Rome.
May 9, 2012
For links to all the posts in this series see the Turkey page.