Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Cappadocia (4)

If you missed part 1 of this post series, go back, otherwise continue reading.

The format of this blog post will be quite different from the previous three. As our time in Cappadocia was limited, all the activities will be listed in chronological order starting from our 3:00am alarm.

1) 3:30am – Air Balloon flight

Pickup from our Hotel was scheduled at 3:30am. Tired & half asleep, we were impatient to have all the people joining us in the air balloon inside the bus. Once complete, we went to Gorëme to pickup the breakfast bags before heading to Ürgüp for take off.

At Ürgüp, we witnessed the air balloon get inflated; it took roughly 20 minutes to be ready. Shortly after, the group was inside the air balloon basket, excited for takeoff. The flight took roughly 1 hour, flying over the valley with a magnificent view of Gorëme, it’s mountains and ancient settlements at sunrise.

2) 10:00am – The Helios Cave Hotel

We arrived home at around 7:00am mesmerized & speechless but exhausted due to lack of sleep. We went straight to bed to nap a bit before breakfast (given that breakfast ends at 10:30am). Hours later, we woke up to an alarm tired yet excited for what the day had in store for us.

On a side note, I had to mention our hotel as an experience because it is not every day that one gets to sleep in a cave. Our suite was well ventilated yet had the right amount of humidity enhancing the quality of our sleep.

3) 11:30am – Underground city (Kaymakli)

Given that we are really into caves and exploring ancient cities, we decided to explore Kaymakli. It is an underground city that was used as a shelter by the aborigines of that time against different conquerors.

The entrance fee was 75TL per person. It took us around an 1 and a half hour to explore all the levels of this city. It is worth mentioning that Kaymakli can be kind of claustrophobic for people who don’t like narrow pathways or tunnels.

Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Cappadocia (4)”

Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Cappadocia (3)

To continue from where we left off. Now we are on DAY 3; in our Hotel Lobby looking for a TAXI.

From what we’ve noticed, unlike most countries, in Turkey, UBER is used as a platform for Taxi drivers to find clients and vice versa as the Taxi network is quite developed. All Taxis are metered with the price varying depending on the region. In Ankara, the fair starts at 7.5 TL.

Knowing that, we decided to grab a Taxi pre-Uber era style. Our Taxi driver could have easily passed for my grandpa, he had such a warm smile, radiating kindness.

Farewell Ankara

Upon arriving to Anıtkabir, we were greeted with what seemed like tens of tourists buses. Indifferent, we proceeded running our way to The Mausoleum.

Once on site, we were shocked to be the only tourists around. I guess that we crashed not one but several graduation photo shoots and elementary school field trips.

We couldn’t tell what was more beautiful, The Mausoleum itself or the love the Turkish people have for their founder and their country.

With our hearts full, we rush out of Anıtkabir and luckily manage to find a taxi fast.

We arrive at the bus station (Otogar) 10 minutes before the departure time only to be overwhelmed by the number of bus platforms present; there were more than 60 platforms and several local bus companies.

And to make things worse, having reserved the bus tickets in advance on FlixBus we didn’t know the name of the local bus company. FlixBus in Turkey, is more of a reservation platform rather than a transportation provider.

After 5 minutes of information hunting, we found the name of the bus company and the platform number. At two minutes before the departure time, we were the last two passengers unaccounted for. Up until today, I don’t know how we made it.

And just in case you are wondering, the local bus company is Kamilkoc.

Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Cappadocia (3)”

Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Ankara (2)

To bring you to where we left off, now we are on DAY 2.

Imagine Hubby and I rushing through breakfast to catch a train from Istanbul to Ankara at 9:35am. Instead of calling an Uber, we decided to try the metro for the first time. After a 17-minute walk from the hotel, we arrive at the metro stop “Marmaray Sirkeci Istasyonu” only to struggle to buy a ticket.

The so-called stand-alone ticket machine wasn’t so stand-alone as the instructions weren’t clear. And to make things worse, the only person that offered to help us, unfortunately tricked us as well.

But HEY, let’s look on the bright side, he taught us how to use the machine. So, the trick is to buy a transport card and then top it up with cash depending on your destination.

The machine doesn’t sell individual tickets. It only tops up transport cards.

The card cost 25 TL, we topped up 75 TL, and used 15TL (per person). PS. One transport card can be used by several people as long as you tap-in accordingly (ex: 2 taps = tickets for 2) into a given metro stop.

After that small anecdote, we managed to reach our destination Sogutlucesme Station and catch our train on-time.

Unexpected surprise

The train was beyond amazing. We booked first class but there was also business class that included a private cabin. The ticket price included train catering (14 EUR per person). We were served food & drinks during the trip using a food cart similar to the ones used in an airplane.

After roughly 5 hours, we arrive at the Ankara Central Station. Lost, we went to the help desk to ask for the location of metro Baskentray direction Kayas. The kind lady directed us towards the old side of the station where we found the metro stop and the stand-alone ticket machine.

While waiting in-line for our turn to buy the ticket; the machine bugs for some reason and stops working. We were told that an alternative way of buying a ticket was by taping-in our credit card on metro platform (entrance).

Several people were in the same situation as us. One by one, they were taping-in their credit cards and succeeding. For some reason, our visa card didn’t want to work. After a couple of minutes of struggling, a kind local tapped us in using his credit card and made sure that we were on the right platform and even asked us for our metro stop (Kurtulus).

The kindness shown from this man made-up for the wickedness of the other one. Reminding us that somehow good always balances out evil.

Continue reading “Turkey backpack trip 2022 – Ankara (2)”