Suggestions for 2 days in Cappadocia

Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:09 PM
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Suggestions for 2 days in Cappadocia

We ( a group of five women in our early 40s ) will be in Cappadocia for 2.5 days in mid-May. After reading other posts, we have decided to hire a guide/car for 1 day through Turkish Heritage. I would like some suggestions for what we should do independently versus what we should do with the tour guide. We enjoy it all -- hiking, architecture, cutture, cuisine. Not much preference for shopping but could be talked into visiting a GOOD rug store.

Our itinerary so far:
Saturday: arrive Kayseri 10am. Independent walks. Maybe Goreme Open Air Museum on our own ? Perhaps one or more of Rose / Red / Pigeon Valleys ?

Sunday: Morning hot air balloon ride (with Butterfly). Tour Guide with minvan - what should we suggest we do with them? We'll be with them 10am - 6pm. 9pm Whirling Dervish show.

Monday: depart Kayseri at 3.15pm. We were thinking about a cooking class (9am - 1pm) --any thoughts welcome. Would be willing to forego cooking class.

Thanks.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:12 PM
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The Open Air Museum does not require a guide. All the chapels are well marked and described.

Your guide will probably take you to a rug store and a pottery store in Avanos.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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Where are you staying? If Goreme, you can access the pigeon trail from there and walk to Uchisar and visit the castle.
I agree with visiting the Open Air Museum on your own. You can easily walk there, unless you are concerned about tiring yourselves out for the other walks.
The access to the rose/red valley is close to the Open Air Museum. I found it less well-marked than the pigeon and love valleys, so ask your hotel for a good map.
Cavusin is at the end of the red/red valley and has an interesting cave dwelling complex.
Outside of Uchisar there is a jewelry store (my driver offered to stop there, but we told him we had already been) and then access to the love valley trail (that one was my favorite, but I did not do all of red/rose valley).
Have you hired a guide or a driver? Because there is a difference, and they may have itineraries already. I would definitely use the driver to get to one of the underground cities. From there, my driver stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks (including a lake), and then dropped us at one end of Ilhara valley and met us at the end. There was a recent thread about this valley being closed so check into that. Finally, after Ilhara we visited the Selime monastery and a mosque in another nearby town (name escaping me at the moment).
Hope that helps!
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Thanks Michael - by any chance, do you think we should insist that we not be taken to a rug or pottery store?
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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The guide we had took us to a "weaving school" which also sold rugs (we did not buy any) and to a pottery workshop located in a ;cave in Avanos (we did not buy anything). Both were worthwhile visits.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57622933537559 and the next two pictures in the set.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 02:50 PM
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Yorkshire - Thanks for the note! Sorry, I should have indicated we're staying at the Sultan Cave Suites in Goreme.

You hit on a good point about tiring ourselves out. I need to better understand the effort and time require for these walks. In fact, one person in the group is dealing with a foot issue. She certainly wants to do the basics - Goreme & Love Valley. But, we may have to find other options for her (possibly the whole group). Maybe the scooters....

We are close to committing to a private guide & driver from Turkish Heritage Travel & will be able to customize our agenda. They seem very pleasant but have directed me to their wonderful website for ideas. Hence my post - for personal opinions.

If we did Goreme Open Air Museum + Rose & Red Valleys (ending in Red Valley for sunset), how long do you think that would take at an average pace? I guess there's a taxi option to get us out to the Open Air museum if anyone anticipates a strain, given the hike we'll be doing.

From Goreme, is the Piegeon trail right in town? Or do we have to walk 15/20 minutes to get there? And how long will it take to walk out to the castle at an average (at best) pace?

I was thinking guide for the underground city as well.

Many thanks for your help.
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Old Apr 19th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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Thanks, Michael.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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You could plug the walks into google maps or do some digging on some of the hiking websites. I can't recall the specifics. We did the walk from Goreme to Uchisar (Pigeon Valley--yes the trailhead is right in Goreme near the Kelebek Hotel), then walked to Cavusin (love valley), then got somewhat lost trying to make it back to Goreme just astride the red/rose valley. All in one day. We were in our early 30s then with fewer aches and pains, and I would not plan to do it again at 37. Split into chunks, all three of the hikes are quite manageable, but I recommend excellent shoes and Smartwool socks. Your companion with the foot issue may want to plan something different while the others do the longest hike.

I found this site which has some distance info:
http://www.gang-gang.net/nomad/turkey/turkey05.html
Also, the Heritage Travel site has distances for the valleys.
enjoy! Honestly with the names varying and the walks not super-well marked I am not sure which ones I even did, because Love Valley seemed much longer than 1 km. I must have walked honey and love together.
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Old Apr 20th, 2012, 10:04 AM
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You do not need or want a guide! Have your hotel arrange for a private taxi for the day, agree on price before starting. We paid $80 (140 Turkish lire) for seven hours.

Good stops might include:

The Goreme open air museum - allow 2 hours due to lines/crowds.

The Devrent Valley - just a quick stop. The ground was very steep and challenging – we didn't hike, but just went about 60 yards into the valley and declared it impressive.

The Zelve Open Air Museum. A MUST! Allow an hour or more and expect to have the place pretty much to yourselves.

Just 1 km away from Zelve is a terrific fairy chimney area called Pasabag, or Monk's Valley. This had been a monastic settlement in the 13th century, where the monks lived inside the fairy chimneys, carving out high ceilinged rooms and a chapel, St. Simeon's. There was a level, paved path among the formations, making this area much easier to explore than the Devrent Valley. Allow about 15 minutes.

The giant Church of St. John in Cavusin, a large cave church surrounded by hundreds of houses carved into the hillside. Very impressive.

Skip the long, hard, climb up Uchisar Castle - nothing to see you havn't already since it is visible for miles around. There is a fantastic lunch spot in the town of , however, Center Restaurant (the restaurant is more impressive than it's name). Known for its lamb and artichoke tangine and the gorgeous outside seating area in nicer weather.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 10:40 AM
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Yorkshire & Bardo1 - thank you both for your thoughtful comments. Sorry for my slow response.

Yorkshire - Thanks for saying it as it is with regard to the physical effort involved. Off the top of your head, what other activities would you suggest for the "foot issue" person? We'll be there for about 2.5 days.

So Bardo1 - do you think we'd miss out on history or local stories by skipping a guide? Since we are a group of five people, I wonder if large vehicle cabs (ie, minivan taxi) will be available at the last minute.

Thanks again.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 10:48 AM
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Not sure, but I'm sure your hotel or one of the tourist offices could recommend something. The tourist services in Goreme are really excellent.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 10:53 AM
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cocobean

We are using our own car but hiring a guide for two days. While I am sure we would be able to manage without, my parents said they really enjoyed having a guide for the area when they went. The cost for a guide with our own car was much cheaper and seemed pretty reasonable to me. And having our own car means no taxis to/from the airport and more flexibility. It is probably a matter of personal preference. We usually use a guide or take walking tours at least a few times on our trips any have almost always enjoyed them.
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Old Apr 26th, 2012, 11:08 AM
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Yorkshire - Good to know. Nice to plan some things in advance, but some of my best travel experiences have come from on site bookings.

Not_Enuf - Thanks for your note. Regarding a guide, we're a bit like that too. Turkish Heritage Travel gave us an ok quote for minivan/guide/driver for 5 people -- and we can suggest our own itinerary if we want to. Their rate for the package including entrance fees & lunch seemed too pricey per person. With Sultan Cave Suites, if you book tour & hot air balloon ride through them, they give you one free transfer to or from the airport. Have a great trip!
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