Cappadocia

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The night bus to Cappadocia was well enough, but we should have caught a rocket ship.

Cappadocia is home to one of the most incredible landscapes I have ever seen … almost as if God called up Dali, Gaudi and Giger and said, “I’m bored, kids. Any ideas?” Millennia of volcanic activity and snow have forged a landscape that looks something like the top of a slightly burned lemon meringue pie, or the castle homes of some particularly well advanced alien termites, and it was clearly the inspiration for such an alien world in George Lucas´ 2002 romantic fantasia, Attack of the Clones.

But if termites had built the hive structures of Göreme, then they had long since abandoned them, and human beings, inventive as they are, had stepped in, converting them into homes, churches and refuges from the endless invaders who had marched across central Anatolia. On a tour that took in the peculiar “fairy chimneys”, a rebuilt caravanserai, and the stunning Ilhara Valley Gorge, we spent an hour travelling many levels underground in the millennia-old subterranean cities that once kept entire civilizations from sight in times of war. Either I am very tall, or the ancient people of Cappadocia were very efficient dwarves.

As for our accommodation, where else to sleep after a boat and a treehouse than a cave, in the ridiculously named “Flintstones” (copyright infringing murals included, of course!).

No two structures in Cappadocia were the same – and almost infinite in number – so it was with some sadness we boarded the bus for Istanbul, and said farewell to the stars.

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