I woke with a start. Just kidding – I smeared out of my sweaty duvet bleary eyed, riding the sweet, confusing line between still drunk and faffing about with a hangover. Amidst a haze of apple teas and black coffee (abusing the free privileges to the MAX) Cassie, Brent and I sat eating a sunlit terrace breakfast and yammered on trying to piece last night’s events in some form of chronology, pausing only to admire the hostels babbit (baby rabbit) and the ridiculous but funny souvenir plate Cassie insisted on buying at the Turkish night.
With adopted-over-breakfast Isaac, twenty something from Sweden, we set out for a quick wander about, maybe we’d make it the 2km or so to the open air museum if we were lucky. One thing was clear, we had to get Cassie out of the hostel before she drove the owner mad with another “have you seen my plate?!”. Twenty times last night was quite enough.
It began well. A nice stroll down the main shopping road. An ice cream from a street vendor. A look at some horses and horse vaginas.
Then out of nowhere the plan to find rose valley emerged (thinking about it, it was probably instigated by Brent). Rough graffiti arrows lured us off the path to the open air museum and into the vast moonscape of Cappadocia and its miles of abandoned cave houses. Cappadocia had us now.
We were running dry. I’d left the hostel with only about 10 gulps of water in my bottle for the 4 or so hours of walking and all of us had been scorched, caught in the open during the earlier sunburst. But now it was the ominous looking sky that was preying on our minds. In only t-shirts and flip flops, we hoped that if the rain came it would be over quickly so we wouldn’t be confined to the cave houses for too long. But it was holding out and we were making what we assumed was steady progress towards rose valley.
The valley narrowed. The surrounding rock formations had taken on an eerie green hue to match the woodland encroaching over the path. Small rivers trickled under looming natural rock bridges. A sign indicated a tea house a couple of kilometres away and we followed the single track through the trees to a little cave house, ceiling black with soot, where we could chill out. Isaac spoke beginner mandarin to a couple of Chinese tourists. We were surprised. But apart from them and couple the place was deserted as far as the eye could see.
The rain came and we drank tea under the awnings. Trying on silly local hats to whittle down the time.
A nearby cave house afforded us dry exploration opportunities and climbing up chipped holds through a small hacked out hole in the ceiling we caught our glimpse of what we imagine to be the rose valley, with a distinctive yellow band. Well..at least the rest of it looked red-ish. Mission accomplished.
The way back took half the time when we stopped going in every little carved door or window. We gained a dog and lost a dog, sat forlorn as it watched us walk round the bend between two rock pillars. Back home we washed up and went for food. I got tempted by Brent’s choice, pot kebab, and ordered one too. It was rather disappointing, better representing the pot (the waiter broke mine into my food…) than any kebab. But it was food at least. Warm, crunchy, terracotta food. Money troubles didn’t seem too bad.
The morning came as it always does, but the whole of Göreme had a power cut, the ATMs were down and I had to scrape together something resembling my bill. ‘It was fine’ and the guy even wrote the names of towns I needed to follow to Ankara. Packing my gear in the dark (the only downside to having a cave hostel in a blackout..) I had time and enough free tea and coffee to wave farewell to my fellow adventurers and the extremely nice hostel staff.
Down the road was Ankara, the capital, where I’d fortunately managed to arrange more couch surfing before the power went out. So onwards I journeyed, ever reliant on the kindness of strangers.