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.