göreme | day three
september 25, 2011
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Today we opted for the “green tour” which is one of the standard tours offered by most cappadocian operators. We usually prefer to do things on our own but wanted to go to a place that was very difficult to do without private transportation. So after breakfast we headed out with a group of about 14 others – interesting cast of characters, including a really annoying stuck up doctor and an interesting Italian couple.
First stop was Derinkuyu, the underground city. This place was really incredible. It’s something like 85 meters deep, with 9 floors excavated so far. The tunnels to get between floors are crazy tiny and it’s amazing imagining people living down there for periods of time.
Next up was Ihlara Valley, which I had been really looking forward to. The scenery did not disappoint, it was truly gorgeous. We hiked about 4km into the valley, to a place called Bellirisima, where we stopped to get lunch. Here we finally had some fish – fresh trout that they get right from the river there that runs through the valley. Both Jose and I were dying for some fish since it’s not common there and we usually eat fish 3-4 times a week.
Next up we piled back in the minivan and headed over to Selime Monastery. This place is located at the end of the valley. On our own we might have liked to hike the whole way there, but as I mentioned before there’s no public transportation home from there. Selime Monastery is huge and pretty incredible.
After that we were getting pretty tired but there was still more to come. We hit up a tourist market and then an onyx maker/jewelry store. These seem like standard types of shopping at the end of a tour. It was cool to see the onyx shaped and polished though, and I didn’t realize there were many colors of onyx either. In between we also visited pigeon valley which is basically an area where they carved holes into the rock for pigeons to roost. They used pigeon poop for fertilizer and also used the pigeons for communication.
The last stop on the tour was a panoramic view of Göreme. This was very pretty but I think all of us were so tired by that point that we just wanted to go home.