We’ve just spent a few marvellous days in Cappadocia in
central Turkey and were blown away by this extraordinary landscape.
We found a wonderful campsite with fab views and hot
showers. The guide books describe the terrain in various ways – fairy chimneys,
phallic outcrops, pinnacles etc etc, but to me it looks like Middle Earth, or
what Middle Earth should look like. It’s quite surreal.
The “Open Air Museum” is walking distance from Kaya Camping
and we made a good decision to get there very early. We arrived at 8.15am to
avoid the masses of Tour Coaches which disgorge hundreds of tourists all over
the place. The Museum is actually an ancient monastery/village with each
church, room, refractory etc carved out of the rock pinnacles.
|Where are the Goblins?|
One of the churches had a jaunty fresco of the two dudes on
horses slaying a dragon, but to me they looked they were on a Merry-Go-Round
(Carousel). The 1000 year old frescoes in these remarkable cave churches were
really something to see.
I developed a nasty head cold which I generously shared with
Lawrence, so we were both feeling poorly and couldn’t manage the wonderful
walking paths here, even so we had a grand time touring about.
‘Hot Air Ballooning’ is quite the thing here, but I just
couldn’t see myself getting out of bed in pre-dawn sub-zero temperatures to
waft about in a landscape I could see very clearly from the comfort of my warm
bed. Plus it’s hugely expensive and I’m scared of heights! We prefer to spend
our money on tasting what they do with the local grapes.
|Up, up and away - taken from our campsite|
We’re finding Turkey interesting and loving the food. The
wine is very good, but the coffee is dire. Turkish coffee tastes like mud and
is unspeakably awful. Next is the nasty Nescafe machines that produce something
indescribable, and then there is the occasional authentic espresso machines that no-one
knows how to use. So, imagine our delight when we saw a sign in Goreme stating
“No Bullshit, the best coffee in town, Aussie trained”. “Eureka” we cried! Now
imagine our dismay when a vile cup of bitter, over-extracted coffee arrived.
The Aussie barista was obviously long gone.
|Vineyard at sunset from our campsite|
|Handmade leather shoes - how can a girl resist??|
We’ve found ourselves seeking out Starbucks (sshhh – don’t
tell anyone), for a reasonable espresso. This option doesn’t exist in rural
Anyway, from the wonders of Cappadocia we headed back to
Ankara to collect our Kazakh visa. We had previously spent 3 days in Ankara,
mainly to get visas sorted. I’ll outline this process below for those that are
interested – or who have trouble sleeping.*
Ankara is a large modern city with an old heart that we
explored, but not much else to it. We stayed in a hotel, as there really isn’t
Yesterday we spent in Safranbolu, a UNESCO world heritage
listed Ottoman town. The Ottoman architecture is wonderful and the restored
houses are a feast for the eyes. I just adore them, so a whole town full of
them was a brilliant way to spend a day. PLUS the sun was shining, and the temp
reached about 25 degrees – sheer bliss.
We woke this morning to a warm sunny day, that put a spring
in our step as we headed for the Black Sea coast and the allegedly pretty port
town of Amasra.
Sadly it is 8 degrees, foggy and raining. We are NOT HAPPY.
We hadn’t planned to stay here, but from here to Sinop is slated to be the most
spectacular drive of the entire Black Sea Coast and we didn’t want to do it in thick
So we went to lunch instead.
For those who might wish to undertake the getting of visas for
Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan in Ankara.
We did this on a Monday morning.
Despite what the websites say, the Kazakh Embassy opens at
9am and the Uzbek at 10am. Both close at 12 midday. They are both easy to drive to with GPS and there is
easy parking on the street.
So here’s how we played it. We went to the Kazakh embassy
first and handed in our completed forms and passports. They duly noted all
this. We then took our passports back from them. We then had to go to the bank
to pay the fee. There is a Garanti Bank a short drive down the hill at the
Panora Centre, parking is easy. The catch is that if you don’t have a Turkish
ID number you can’t make a deposit at a Turkish Bank. So you need to accost
someone in the queue and ask to use their ID. This isn’t as hard as it sounds.
The tellers are used to this procedure.
One must, of course, keep the receipt.
Next we went to the Uzbek Embassy with passports, completed
forms and letter of invitation. We now know that you need a photocopy of your
passport for this. Do this ahead of time as they won’t do it the embassy. Now
you need to pay. Same procedure, go to the nearest AKbank, which is a 5 minute
walk, ask someone if you can use their ID, make the payment and go back to the
With all your ducks are lined up, the visa is issued on the spot.
We then went back to the Kazakh Embassy with passports (you
need to leave them there) and receipt from the bank. The visa takes 5
Our advice is to now go to Cappadocia to spend a few fab days until you can
pick it up!! Stay at Kaya Camping - it's really good.
Pick-up time is after 3pm on any day. We picked ours up on
the Friday – they were waiting for us.
Make sure you have US dollars for the payments to the banks.