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Adventures in Cappadocia

Monks Valley

We have finally arrived at a place in time and space that made our bodies wet from ass to face!  What i mean to say is that it was hot as hell from sunup to long past sundown.

Jeff woke up early to get some cool drone shots of Cappadocia and do 300 pushups to get his day off to a good start.  After huffing and puffing, he entered the room feeling as though his morning routine was done. Not so fast. His brother Jason enlisted his company for a leisurely jog down the cavernous mountainside through the quaint little touristy town below. Then back up around the mountain side before descending back onto their amazing room.  After that shit, both sweaty and out of breath, they showered and headed downstairs for the free breakfast and a primetime wifi experience. The OJ was just as fantastic as the savior from Istanbul. The coffee was strong, and attitudes in general were clocking in at over 90k!

The whole gang got ready and met up for the days long awaited adventures. This place – Cappadocia – is what they call a semi-arid region in central Turkey. Unless you live by desert regions, you probably call it arid AF! What it’s really known for is its distinctive fairy chimneys. These tall, cone/cock-shaped rock formations are clustered in a few grand locations. Monks Valley, Göreme and elsewhere. A few other worthwhile sites include the crazy Bronze Age dwellings carved into valley walls by troglodytes or cave dwellers.  These were later used by refugee early Christians fleeing persecution.

We thought it was a good idea to visit these early Christian cave dwellings. Really, it wasn’t worth it. Unless your idea of fun is being sardined with a bunch of tourists, breathing condensed farts and collecting undercarriage sweat by the buckets.  We took the tour and enjoyed the first minute or two. Then realized we were stuck in the underground maze until the guide was ready to gift us our freedom back.

JH of course liked this tour as he naturally would.  Kevin was claustrophobic, Jason and Jeff were bored and annoyed with the cramming bus tour from Seoul.  Maybe we were just being assholes. Maybe it really is a magical place filled with history and visually stimulating features.  I guess you’ll have to check it out yourself to really know. We have been in enough caves that the excitement factor had been preemptively diminished.

We got out of there and beelined it for the juice lady.  There are juice ladies everywhere in Turkey which equates to making everywhere in turkey a pretty god damn great place to be.  Juice – fresh juice – cold fresh juice is fucking incredible. If you’re not on that train, you’re on a one way ticket to hell my friend. We inhaled our typical orange juice but on our obligatory second round, we spiced it up a bit and went 70/30 orange pomegranate juice.  It was mind expanding and on the level of your best ⅛ of mushrooms good!

We sat down in the bus terminal at a little cafe and downed Turkish tea and coffee like the years yields were in short supply.  The team bickered about what to do next before settling on getting back to see some other cool shit that Göreme had to offer.

Remember when we mentioned go-karts?  The team was and we were able to find the best/only open go kart track in a 20 mile vicinity.  We drove through desert heat and arid country side a few clicks from being stranded with an empty gas tank. We finally arrived and what this really looked like was a post-apocalyptic, abandoned chernobyl theme park.  It was empty with grass growing in places that it shouldn’t have been. But through the parking lot and around a little bend, sure enough there it was! A small track with a covered seating area and a few workers.

We were the only people there.  For $20 we had the course to ourselves for about 30 minutes.  That’s a long ass time smashing g-forces in 100 degree heat in leather seats with helmets on.  Kevin and Jason complained their carts were slow (or their weight played a role), JH didn’t have an excuse, and Jeff was lapping them all.  That jackass would say it was his phenomenal driving skills – the others will say he had a faster cart. I guess we’ll never know. This was one of the most fun adventures to date.

What to do next? Luckily in passing, JH had talked with some other Mongol Ralliers about a spot for dinner which was supposed to be the best on the rally.  Topdeck Cave is the name and if you ever make it there, we all give our full support. It was easily top 5 meals on the trip, and probably number 1-2 dinner spots of any place we went. It’s nestled in the side of a cave with cool earth rock walls and ambiance through the roof. This place was spectacular.  The food was family style Turkish fare, and the prices were very reasonable.

topdeck cave turkey

JH was determined to hop in the floating baskets to experience the world famous hot air ballooning that happens there every morning.  Conditions have to be ideal for such a large congregation of these massive balloons. Strong, irregular or unpredictable winds and air temperatures can have devastating consequences. For the rest of the crew, it just seemed a bit too dull of an experience to pay that kind of coin for.  Jeff and Jason would have much rather liked to bungee jump off the balloon, but that isn’t offered there yet.

JH made it back, we had a mini Baja Llama photo shoot and then we were off.  The road out was pretty cool as we passed more of the vertical rock structures.  As you can see in this video, we were in good spirits considering what laid ahead.  

Once again, making last minute decisions, the 4 of us decided not to go the western route through Turkey to Georgia.  This would have taken us on one of the most dangerous roads in the world, which was the main reason we wanted to do it. Here is a little video for your pleasure showcasing it:

The problem was that road and route would have cost us an extra day at least on our journey.  We were too fucking hungry for Georgia. A respite of western leaning undertones amidst the Soviet blanketed neighbors.

Georgia had been on top of Jeff’s list of places to see for many years.  Since he was the one running the show with planning everything, and Jason was on a mild time crunch to get to Central Asia, the decision was made to beeline it on a 23 hour long haul drive straight to Tblisi, the capital of Georgia.  23 hours of straight driving is pretty long in a cramped 1999 Ford Fiesta with 4 adult males. But we made it work, as we always do.