The morning we arrived in in Capadoccia we didn't have a couch as we only started one day before to wrote 5 requests in Nevşehir. So we got asked by the bus driver where we want to get off the bus, luckily we landed in Göreme. Göreme is a small touristy city in the center of the national park of Capadoccia. In the mid of january there's not much tourists, so it is easy to get in contact with the local people.

Capadoccia was used around the 11th century by christian people to hide from the muslims. It is a region of very soft stones which were formed into many caves used as houses, monasteries, churches, chapels, schools and stables.

We stayed in a dorm which was a cave itself, like most accommodations in Göreme.

  • Christian hiding places/caves

  • We didn't find a host, so we stayed in the "Cave Dorm"

The first day we had a good stroll around the caves and met some dogs which follow you everywhere once you gave them eye contact. We also went to the Göreme Outdoor Museum which is about 10 cave churches nicely decorated by paintings as old as 1000 years. One church, the black church, had very intense colors which looked like it was painted just a month ago.

In the evening we went to a restaurant recommended by Foursquare. Later we heard by the locals, that it really is the best restaurant in town. We had the first turkish dish we didn't know from Germany: Mezes. Mezes are vegetarian cold starters like aubergines in all forms (fried, smoked, pickled), filled wine leaves and sauces made with a shitload of garlic. We also discovered, that they make good wine ın capadoccia, especially the Turasan Peribacasi(a dry white wine) tasted really good to me.

  • We found a dog..

  • We found a good restaurant..

After the food, Ela was tired and went back to our dorm, and I continued to look if there's any place where people meet in the evening. I got invited to a barber shop for a tea (at that point i was already highly addicted to turkish tea) and got my first professional beard trim.

Later I walked by a carpet store and was invited to join them for a talk and some Raki. The owner of the shop, Fatih had this saying: "Raki makes you lucky". I found out that Fatih is also on Couchsurfing and even the first person you find when you search for Göreme on Couchsurfing. He had one Couchsurfing guest at that evening, Tia and his business partner and brothers. İ really enjoyed the cozy atmosphere and stayed until the Raki was empty.

  • I got my first professional shave :-{)>

  • Fatih

The next day, Ela and I went for a hike through Rose Valley. We discovered that hitchhiking is the easiest way of transportation in turkey as it was almost always the first car which stopped for us. (The longest wait was about 10 cars/5 minutes).

Halfway of the hiking path we stopped at a café for some turkish tea and freshly made juice. There we met Spencer, he is traveling alone and joined us for the rest of our hike to the old greek village of Çavuşin.

  • Hiking route through rose valley

  • Path through rose valley

  • ..close look at the café

  • And old greek village (Çavuşin)

At the evening I visited Fathi again and brought Ela and Spencer with me. We stayed only for a short time as we began talking about balloon rides (a big thing in Capadoccia) and eventually bought a balloon ride for all three of us, the next morning at 5:40. Initially we didn't want to do a balloon ride as it was very expensive, but Fatih had good contacts and could get some special Couchsurfing discounts for us.

The balloon flight itself was one of the most beautifull experiences I had. Capadoccia is a really lovely place. But it looks best, seen from a balloon in perfect weather around sunrise. We flew from Göreme to the "Love Valley" (name because of many penis shaped rocks).

  • Yup Yup Yup!

  • We are flying!

  • Love valley

  • We survived!

After the balloon ride, Ela and me visited the underground cities of Derinkuyu and Kaymakli. It is like the overground caves, but goes very deep into the ground (deepest point is 86 meters). So far about 36 underground cities have been found in Capadoccia, but more are found every year.

Derinkuyu isn't really worth a visit, as it is frequented by tours and not a really when you have a cave full of people and you sometimes can't move anymore. Kaymakli is wider, had almost no visitors and was more interesting as people actually lived in there and you could see kitchens, living rooms and stables, not just churches and tombs.

  • Old style (single use) emergency door

  • A mortar stone and Ela for size reference

The last evening in Göreme we visited Fatih again for some Raki, talking, dancing to local music and even life music by some neighbors. I also got to know Lili, Fatihs new Couchsurfer. Lili lived 2 month in Gaziantep before and could give me good informations about it and helped me get accommodation with some of her friends in Antep.

  • Some friends/neighbours of Fatih

  • Lili dancing to hungarian music