Today was a sunny day again, at last. Feeling a bit cave-crazy because the last several days have been cold and snowy, I decided to go out for a walk. I headed out of town along the road and grabbed a ride from two villagers going towards Urgup who dropped me off at the turnoff to Goreme. I walked down the road for a bit to the Kaya Campground and followed the red arrow signs pointing the way to the Red Valley, so named because of the colour of the rock formations. However, rather than going to the Red Valley, I actually walked through the White Valley, as I found out later.
The path meandered down a hill, through orchards of apricot trees and piles of empty pumpkin shells, and past enormous fairy chimney formations with rockcut churches and pigeon coops very high up in the air. I attempted to climb up to one but was thwarted because of the steepness of the grade.
The path became much thinner and muddier with a small stream running down its centre as it snaked its way through narrow canyons below fairy chimney cliffs. Huge tunnels were cut into the rock – I must admit that I was a bit nervous going through these, on the off chance that an earthquake might hit just as I was under some outcrop. Luckily, none did, and I made my way through tunnels, along paths, down valleys and across fields, constantly amazed at the huge cliffs with their myriad of carved openings and bits of fresco. Arriving at what looked to be a campsite not yet open for business, I spied a track heading up the cliff and, since I was getting tired and knew that Goreme lay beyond the hills, I decided to go up. From the top I had a spectacular view of the valleys and towns of Goreme and Uchisar in the distance. From there I could also make out the way to Goreme so I headed off down a little path towards the village.
After my three hour hike I was happy to sit down at the Nazar Borek and Gozleme cafe, drink a cappuccino and eat an apple cinnamon borek (sort of like an apple pie, except with sausage roll-like dough). The woman serving was kind enough to phone Halil for me; too tired to walk back, I gladly sank back into the taxi for a ride back to the BCH ranch.
See pictures here.