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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 13
Greece, Turkey and Spain


At the Parthenon  
Day 13

Woke at 6 and finished packing for today’s excursion to Turkey (three flights.) Maria had breakfast ready for us on the terrace and the cat joined us. She’s getting to know us and becoming more playful. I snapped a photo of her sitting atop my backpack.

Our friend the cat

The cool morning breezes were delightful but all too soon it was time to hug Maria and the cat and say goodbye. It was quite sad to leave our new friends and our wonderful cave house, but at 7:30 Alex shouldered our two heavy bags and took off up the hill to our waiting van. Alex must be strong as an ox because I could not keep up with him and all I had was my backpack.

Carol, Maria and David

Thanked Alex, hopped on the van and found ourselves at Thira airport a few minutes later. The half-hour turbo prop Olympic Air flight over the deep blue Aegean Sea was pleasant. Collected our baggage at the Athens airport upon arrival and checked one bag in at Pacific Storage at the airport since we won’t need it until we return to Athens from Istanbul on Wednesday.

Pegasus Air

Relaxed at the airport and reminisced about the trip so far. The high point so far has definitely been Santorini.


Spent most of the rest of the day traveling. First, a 45-minute Pegasus Air flight from Athens to Izmir, Turkey – didn’t get our bearings quickly at the Izmir airport and barely made the connection to Kayseri, Turkey with just minutes to spare. The hour-long flight to Kayseri was pleasant but when we deplaned and entered the airport we entered through the wrong door. When the baggage arrived ours was missing until a very observant airport employee figured out what was wrong and led us to the correct baggage claim – there was our bag waiting for us.


Outside the airport a van was waiting for us and several other travelers. After our hour-long ride through central Turkey, we arrived at the magical fairyland called Cappadoccia.

View of the town of Gorme from our hotel room

Cappadocia (Turkish: Kapadokya) is an area in Central Turkey best known for its unique moon-like landscape, underground cities, cave churches and houses carved in the rocks.


The Cappadocian Region is located in the center of the Anatolian Region of Turkey, with its valleys, canyons, hills and unusual rock formations created as a result of the eroding rains and winds of thousands of years on the level, lava-covered plain located between the volcanic mountains Erciyes, Melendiz and Hasan. Its troglodyte dwellings carved out of the rock, and cities dug out into the underground, present an otherworldly appearance. The eruptions of these mountains which were active volcanoes in geological times lasted until 2 million years ago. A soft tuff layer was formed, 150 m in thickness, by the issuing lavas in the valley surrounded by mountains. The rivers' flood water running down the hillsides of valleys, and strong winds eroded the geological formations on the plateau consisting of tuff layers, thus creating bizarre shapes called Fairy Chimneys. These take on the names of mushroom shaped, pinnacled, capped and conic shaped formations. The name Cappadocia comes from the Old Persian Katpatuka, which allegedly means "the land of beautiful horses." Following the Late Hittite and Persian eras, the Cappadocian Kingdom was established in 332 B.C. During the Roman era, the area served as a shelter for the early escaping Christians. There are also several underground cities used by early Christians as hideouts in Cappadocia.


We found our hotel, the Aydinli Cave Hotel. Immediately upon arriving, the owner-proprietor, Mustafa, made us welcome and we settled into our quaint and unique cave room.

Aydinli Cave House Hotel in Goreme, Turkey
Carol settle in at the Aydinli Cave House Hotel

As the sun set, the evening call to prayer from a nearby mosque sang out across the village. We spent some enjoyable time with Mustafa as he shared with us the history of the hotel, which has been in his family for generations. Mustafa was born in one of the rooms.

View of Goreme at dusk

We could have sat with Mustafa and listened to his interesting stories all night, but we were hungry and set out to explore this magical, mysterious part of the world. Just up the street from the Aydinli Cave Hotel is a wonderful restaurant called Seten. We sat and enjoyed a local white wine while we waited for a table.

Dinner in Goreme

A large wedding party came in with a traditional Turkish group of musicians. We enjoyed the music while we savored our dinner of mezze, stuffed peppers, stuffed zucchini blossoms and local white wine.


After dinner we wandered the streets of Goreme for a while. It became quite cold so we wandered back up the hill to Aydinli Cave Hotel and jumped into the large warm bed for a good night’s sleep.


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