On New Years Day, we left Istanbul on an overnight bus towards Nevsehir, Central Turkey. When we arrived, the drive said he’d take us the rest of the way to Goreme at no charge. We pulled through the outskirts of town as the sun was rising. The landscape was covered in frost and fog and dozens of hot air balloons were inflating and beginning their daily flights.
We pulled into a parking lot and and hopped off the bus. After checking out the prices for guided tours, and getting some information, we decided to get some breakfast and then walk around a bit. My hope was that we could just walk out into the chimneys and caves on our own, and within ten minutes of walking out of town I spotted a path that seemed to wind its way out to exactly where I wanted to be.
The next three or four hours were spent just exploring these hiking trails, rock formations and caves. The many caves and dwellings which are carved out of this soft rock were mainly built by Christians during the Byzantine era to defend against the Romans. Though we were only able to see a small glimpse of them, there are underground cities here which are connected through close to one hundred tunnels, and could hide and house thousands of people.
The town of Goreme itself was pretty touristy, but a nice change of pace from Istanbul. We spent the afternoon here before we caught an early evening bus to Kayseri, where we transferred to a bus heading east to Diyarbakir.