First Solo Trip to Turkiye? How to Enjoy it Above & Below Ground

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one of the most exciting things on my first solo trip to turkiye was a hot air balloon ride in cappadocia
Hot air balloons in Cappadocia. Photo credit score: George Kourounis.

For so long as I can bear in mind, I’ve at all times wished to have the ability to fly. Sometimes these makes an attempt would fail miserably with me tumbling painfully in direction of the Earth, however on my first solo journey to Turkiye I used to be ready to try this efficiently and painlessly.

Flying Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease

It was an early 5:00 am begin to our day in Cappadocia, however that was vital because the situations within the early morning are the very best, I used to be instructed, for warm air balloon flights. This additionally meant that I’d be capable to watch the dawn whereas drifting over the gorgeous valleys and throughout the limitless skies, so I used to be in a position to persuade my physique that waking up at 4:00 am was a great ache.

Watching the attendants put together their balloons within the area and fireplace up the big torches that introduced the balloons to life was superb! The solar had but to rise whereas they had been doing this, so the flames bursting out of the darkness had been one thing particular to behold.

Post-flight smiles throughout!

After just a few security bulletins, and directions on how we may help a secure touchdown, the balloon started to carry into the air. I used to be amazed at how clean the journey was, however that was probably as a result of talent of our pilot. I consider there have been over 100 balloons within the air that day, and I’m nonetheless amazed that they had been all in a position to choreograph their actions in order that they didn’t collide with one another. The pilots had been always in radio contact with one another and their floor crews to attain this delicate dance within the sky.

While a scorching air balloon experience can be cool anyplace on the planet, I extremely advocate it in Cappadocia as a result of it’s unlikely that you simply’ll ever discover one other place the place it is possible for you to to share the skies with this many different scorching air balloons on the similar time. You’ll additionally by no means get higher photographs of the area’s well-known and iconic fairy chimneys.

You can see video highlights of my flight on our Solo Traveler Instagram account.

on my first solo trip to turkiye we were surprised with an al fresco breakfast with tables set among rows of lavender
Our breakfast spot in Cappadocia was lined with rows of contemporary lavender.

Better than Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Instead of our ordinary buffet breakfast on the lodge, our Exodus tour guides shocked us with a particular al fresco breakfast to rejoice our profitable scorching air balloon journey.

Our tables had been lined on a cliff overlooking a valley, set towards an countless, clear, blue sky. Hints of lavender would often be detected within the air, because it was rigorously planted between the tables. To say that we had been shocked to be served a fantastically catered Turkish breakfast, on the fringe of a cliff, by a random valley in the course of Cappadocia is an understatement.

I’d by no means have been capable of finding this expertise by myself (I attempted with out success to seek out on-line the superb crew that hosted us for this distinctive breakfast), however that’s the advantage of having an skilled native information who can unlock these distinctive experiences.

Our information explains the historical past of the Kaymakli Underground City. Photo credit score: George Kourounis.

The Secret Underground World Beneath Our Feet

As if the expertise of flying via the air, adopted by a breakfast that would have been impressed by an Albert Bierstadt panorama portray wasn’t sufficient of a magical expertise for my first solo journey to Turkiye, there was extra! Cappadocia can also be house to many underground cave cities. We toured one of the well-known once we descended beneath the Earth’s floor and into the Kaymakli Underground City.

While there are lots of of underground cities in Cappadocia, not all of them are open to the general public, and never many are as giant as this one. Construction on this underground metropolis began within the seventh century BC and it housed as many as 5,000 folks. The advanced has eight ranges, with solely 4 ranges at present open to guests, and extends 131 toes (40 meters) beneath floor.

This huge advanced contains dwelling quarters, kitchens, storage rooms, stables, wineries, church buildings, air flow shafts, and extra. Early inhabitants carved out these subterranean complexes to guard themselves from invaders and marauding armies who swept throughout the plains of Anatolia. 

king explored the tunnels of the kaymakli underground city on his first solo trip to turkiye
Exploring the tunnels of the Kaymakli Underground City.

As I used to be going via the labyrinth of tunnels on this underground metropolis, I used to be amazed on the talent and dedication it will need to have taken to dig via rock to create these rooms and tunnels with out the advantage of trendy instruments or electrical lighting.

I’ve by no means seen something prefer it, anyplace. A phrase of warning to anybody visiting with mobility points: don’t descend greater than two ranges. While the primary two ranges are comparatively simple to navigate, the third and fourth get tougher with tighter areas and plenty of areas the place you can be crouched down for durations of time to squeeze via tunnels.

Exterior of the Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel

Unforgettable Accommodation on My First Solo Trip to Turkiye

Finally, I’ve one final unforgettable Cappadocia expertise to share and that was my lodge room on the Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel. First, I’ll inform you that the lodge and its rooms are created from caves discovered within the panorama. That in itself was actually cool, however I couldn’t put together myself for the jaw-dropping suite that I had throughout my keep. It was a three-level unit with two non-public balconies, my very own in-suite scorching tub, a private hammam in my cavernous lavatory, and to prime all of it off, I had my very own non-public dual-level cave on the finish of my higher balcony.

My mattress on the third degree of my suite on the Yunak Evleri Cave Hotel

I don’t know what I did in a earlier life to deserve this, however I cherished each second of my keep in what I nicknamed “Wayne Manor” (it’s a Batman reference should you’re confused). It was really fairly applicable as I did really feel like I used to be within the Bat Cave. If solely my actual life had been this cool!

There is not any approach to visually current this room in footage and do it justice, so it’s best to try the video I fabricated from the Bat Cave on the Solo Traveler Instagram web page.

My Turkish Water Fight

I used to be lucky sufficient to spend just a few further days in Istanbul after the official tour ended. For a kind of days, Exodus Travels was beneficiant sufficient to rearrange a personal tour for me of among the metropolis’s palaces, museums, and different important landmarks that I hadn’t already seen.

Among the day’s actions was a Turkish bathtub or hammam expertise. I had heard about this exercise, as it’s a very conventional and historic ritual that has been loved by Sultans and the Turkish folks for hundreds of years. I used to be a bit hesitant, however my adventurous facet is at all times as much as strive one thing new. I instructed myself it might most likely be like a day on the spa. I’ve been to spas earlier than, however no spa day that I’ve ever encountered got here near making ready me for this expertise.

The Hurrem Sultan Hamami has been round since 1556 and for many who aren’t accustomed to a Turkish hammam expertise, it’s a steam bathtub that’s accompanied by aggressive exfoliation, some therapeutic massage and chiropractic changes, and plenty of rinsing.

Some discover the expertise enjoyable; I discovered it to be a deep scrub mixed with a water struggle, as I used to be always splashed with alternating cold and hot water. But no matter your expertise, in the long run you’ll emerge a bit lighter as your therapist can have scrubbed off a couple of pound of lifeless pores and skin out of your physique. Or, no less than it appeared like a couple of pound of pores and skin. I had no thought I had that a lot lifeless pores and skin to provide! I’ll say that my pores and skin has by no means been that clean in my complete life, and I left the therapy feeling like a dolphin!

I nonetheless haven’t determined how I really feel about my Turkish bathtub journey, however whether or not it is your first solo journey to Turkiye otherwise you’ve been there earlier than, I do suppose that everybody ought to have an genuine hammam expertise no less than as soon as of their lifetime. I promise it’ll be probably the most memorable spa day ever!

For those that are questioning, at my institution I used to be given disposable shorts to put on, and I used to be instructed that they’ve disposable bikinis for ladies. I consider at most locations, towels are used for men and women to take care of your modesty. As everybody round me was in numerous states of undress throughout my time there, I wouldn’t have photographs from my go to to the hammam, however yow will discover some stunning photographs of it on their Instagram web page.

The slender and eclectic streets of Balat

Tasty Tips for Your First Solo Trip to Turkiye

Here are some last ideas for a enjoyable time in Turkiye:

  • Eat all the pieces you see, particularly if it has the phrase kebab in it.
  • Always have your eyes in your meals when eating outdoor, until you’re desiring to share your meals with one of many many stray cats within the neighborhood.
  • Honey is integrated in lots of Turkish dishes, however I additionally advocate attempting it by itself because the native flowers within the space give the native honey a really distinct and scrumptious taste. Honey is commonly served with the comb, so a simple approach to strive it by itself is to only break off a bit, pop it in your mouth, and luxuriate in it like a stick of chewing gum. Note: don’t swallow the wax.
  • Don’t simply eat in a typical restaurant atmosphere. Immerse your self within the vitality of town by eating at an institution with a makeshift outside desk, in the course of a bustling pedestrian sidewalk, simply inches away from oncoming visitors.
  • For a enjoyable expertise that’s the exact opposite of what you had with the grand mosques and palaces in Istanbul, go to the Balat neighborhood to see what some name probably the most colourful space of town, and what I assume must be probably the most hipster space in all of Turkiye. What do I imply by that? Let’s simply say that the one vegan restaurant I noticed within the nation was in Balat.
  • Fans of the late Anthony Bourdain ought to make time to go to his favourite kebab store, Dürümzade in Istanbul, which appeared in an episode of No Reservations.
  • For extra ideas in your first solo journey to Turkiye, remember to learn, Exploring Turkiye Solo on a Group Tour: Fascinating & Beautiful.

Thank you to Exodus Travels for sponsoring my journey on their Walking the Ancient Trails of Cappadocia – Premium Adventure. All experiences and impressions are my very own, and Solo Traveler maintains full editorial management over all content material.

Last up to date: eleventh October, 2022



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