Cappadocia was cold and rainy, but we still managed to explore a great deal. The highlight was our day-long tour, led by a nice guy Murat who had wonderful stories about ancient civilizations who occupied Cappadocia. It was a center of exchange, with civilizations that came in contact sharing information and art and food and culture.
We drove around for several hours, stopping along the way to admire “fairy chimneys,” the rock formations that make Cappadocia famous. Murat explained the geological processes at play that shape the fairy chimneys – volcanoes and erosion plus a few million years and, voila! He pointed out where new fairy chimneys are forming, though we will never see them: it takes far too many millions of years to form for us to see the change directly.
At one stop, I sat in a booth with an older woman, a younger woman who had beautiful freckles and wore her headscarf in a way I hadn’t seen before – I was continually told to sit closer to the fire, to be warm. We talked about Obama and Erdoğan, about the United States and France, about how lovely Cappadocia is. Eventually, my mom came over, and the older woman showed us all the beaded jewelry she makes by hand. We bought three ponchos – aka the best travel (and life) accessory that exists.
In the morning, we got to the bus station early – we had a daunting 8 hour busride ahead of us. Every few hours, we stopped off at a gas station for twenty minutes to stretch our legs, grab snacks, and (in true Turkish fashion) have a few cups of tea. Passing through snowy mountains, desert, and palm tree-lined beaches, we saw a lot of the country through bus windows. It may have been long, but the views are not something you can get from an airplane. Just as the sun was setting, we rolled into Manavgat, a short busride away from Alanya.