SCROLLING through Instagram at Khaldoun Coffee, Pam mentioned names of those who went skydiving like it was no big deal.
Pinky argued it’s worth a two-way ticket, she’d rather fly to Europe.
When I reasoned it’s more exhilarating than the hot air balloon ride we went on, a lively discussion ensued recounting our Asian Turkey trip....
Tucked away in the dramatic mountain ranges of Central Turkey is some breathtaking scenery. Every aspect of the psychedelic environment is stunning due to its unusual geography. Unique geological formations and jaw-dropping archeological features are mystifying phenomena like no other. Crowned as one of the world’s most scenic countrysides, it caused quite a stir on IG.
Due to the volcanic nature of this region, hardened ash and lava spewed out of ancient volcanoes created weather-sculpted cones. No matter how odd, weird or bizarre they look, they are known as fairy chimneys, scattered along the valleys of the rock desert called Cappadocia. They create a kind of Star War-ish fantasy all throughout the capital, Urgup, and its famous cave town, Goreme.
I felt like I was on Mars. The terrain was rough, and deciding where to go was difficult. Had I been on my own, I could have been lost and attacked by wolves. When Pinky contacted an agency to arrange the pick-up and drop-off service for our convenience, I couldn’t get more ready to explore the unseen layers hidden beneath the picturesque surface. Garbo kaayo ang show!
We hiked. We walked. We jumped at Goreme National Park, an open-air museum recognized as a world heritage site by Unesco. The cave churches, rock-cut temples and monasteries, with faded frescoes on walls and ceilings, all vied for my attention. I huffed and puffed my way through fascinating curves and carvings at every turn. Extremely exhausted, I slipped on the sand. The soles of my Uggs were coming off, I had to throw them away unhappily.
Interestingly, family-run hotels blended into the enviable backdrop. Rooms were formed within the niches, and suites within the rocks. Our cave room, an experience like nowhere else on Earth, was beyond compare. The incredible hollows were marvelous during the day and oh-so enchanting at night. It seemed we stepped into the homes of The Hobbit brought to life.
The next day, I woke them up really early for something to die for. It was an epic chance of a lifetime we couldn’t wait for. At the breakfast buffet, we felt a surging sense of anticipation for the hot air balloon ride.
We gasped in surprise and wonder as we lifted off the ground. Soaring out from the surrounding hills, we caught sight of daybreak. The sun was blinding for a moment and, like magic, the sky revealed itself bursting with a plethora of colors. The “bubbles” in the air made the most spectacular picture imaginable.
The sweeping view of the Earth’s contours was extremely gorgeous. Foxes ran in the tuff and disappeared in the crags. My heart filled to the brim, I wished the moment wouldn’t end. Periods of silence were interrupted with shrieks when other balloons bumped into ours.
The aeronaut couldn’t risk anything going wrong. Burning propane gas, he kept the fun and action. Then, unanticipated, things just got more interesting when I couldn’t look away from him, his face was a sculpture. Mao jud ni ako gidamgo. While everyone was in awe as we drifted in the wind, Pam and I giggled over something, only we could decipher.
I took an interest in cave shelters, closed off by huge stone walls; deepened by the passage of time, some of which are still inhabited, to this day. And with 36 underground colonies interconnected through miles of tunnels, we didn’t want to leave without exploring the deepest hideaway in the outskirts of Goreme.
Named after the sleepy town falling behind the times, Derinkuyu Underground City used to shield thousands of people living in fear of raids and wars in history, dating back to as far as the Roman Empire.
Though each level revealed how life had been, its depths held evidence of cultural roots, with ventilation shafts, cellars, stables, chapels and schools.
Limited to a small map, the multi-level hiding spaces offered shocking perspectives of grim realities. It felt uncomfortable, taking a visceral look at the strange isolation and the peaceful coexistence between people and animals. Kuyaw kaayo mag nature’s call. The dizzying steps were too narrow I had to literally embrace the wall to give way to others.
The extraordinary topography of Cappadocia is raking in praises. Not only because of the bumps and lumps that change color throughout the day, but also because of the spellbinding beauty of the sunset. The lookout was calm and quiet on a weekday afternoon, leaving us charmed, so we lingered on.
We sat on a wooden bench along the edge of the precipice, each holding a cup of apple tea. Just as the sun was melting into the horizon, we secretly wished for time to go a little slower. It was so magnificent we simply stared in pure bliss, exactly what we needed to see for a relaxing break. Then, heedlessly, the world was dark. We could see our breath in the cold.