Other motives for the trip included the possibility of going out for Indian food and going out for some beers at a bar.
We easily found a hotel in the center of Goreme. Since it was the off-season (and possibly because it was nine o'clock at night) our cave rooms were 30-35 dollars. Cave rooms are those which are carved into the rock. Based on our previous experience in a cave hotel, I expected our rooms to be warm, but they were cold. Fortunately, Jena found the hotel cat to help heat our room up.
After Paul (of Paul and Cece, our couple friends and coworkers) took a few photos of the sky, we headed out to find the Indian restaurant.
Upon finding that the restaurant was closed, we had some Gözleme for dinner in a hole-in-the-wall place. Gözleme is a lot like eating a stuffed crepe, though the Turks like to call it a Turkish Pancake. While we waited for our food Jena and Cece left to look at rugs in another store, so when their food arrived before ours, we ate a few pieces of their Gözleme and replaced the pieces with food from our own meals before they returned.
After dinner, we brushed our teeth and headed out to a bar with a dance floor. It was on the second story of a building, and although it was incredibly loud, the overall feeling of the place was a major improvement over the only other bar in town, which we had visited on an earlier trip.
The beer in Turkey is bad. When we entered the bar, we asked them whether they had Bomonti. Unfiltered Bomonti is akin to a light hefeweizen, and it is easily the best beer available in the country, though it's like a bad Blue Moon. We were told it was available when we entered, but when it came to ordering, they said they only had Efes. It was like hearing the bar was out of everything except Keystone Light.
After our beer, which was 7 dollars per small bottle (they have large and small bottles here), we hit up the other bar for a game of Scattergories.
The other bar was more economical, as we knew it would be. This being my second time there, I can say it's an interesting place with pretty bad service and a horrible atmosphere. It's kind of like a dive bar in a run-down strip mall, and the interior has a bunch of bench tables like, as Jena put it, a crappy Pizza Hut. In it's own way it's kind of a fun place to be.
Feeling warm we headed out into the night to retrieve the car. We hoped to find a place just outside of town where it was dark enough to take pictures of the stars. Unfortunately, clouds had crept across the sky while we were at the bar, so those plans were foiled. Instead, we drove a little ways out of town to go on a couple night hikes. It was about one forty-five a.m.
First we explored a road that seemed to end at a field with white rectangular shapes sticking up at evenly spaced intervals. The light sensor and flash from my camera was my only source of light, so I announced that it was a graveyard. Upon further inspection, however, the shapes were merely sun-shades constructed for tomato or pepper plants.
We then hiked down into a valley that Jena and I had explored before. I led our group to a three-kilometer-long tunnel that dips into the earth for sections of one hundred feet or so at a time. Paul with his headlamp lead the way, and Jena and Cece stayed behind. We didn't go too far for fear that the girls would get cold waiting for us, so we soon headed back. At that point, we decided to call it a night.
After our breakfast the next morning, Paul and I went hiking while Jena and Cece did some shopping. On my way up a steep face, I lost my footing and slid down face first for about ten feet. I felt like Indiana Jones, and I had my wits about me to pull my hands up from the rock so that the forearm of my sleeves took most of the scraping, though I came away with a bloody wrist, elbow, and hip.
Later that day we headed to a new valley to explore, and we found old carved out dwellings that had multiple rooms, a stone door, and two long tunnels leading into and out of a chapel.
After working up an appetite, we headed back to town to try the Indian restaurant again. Finding that it was still closed, we settled for a Turkish lunch of manti (similar to ravioli), durum (similar to a chicken wrap/burrito), kofte (similar to meatballs), ayran (similar to yogurt and saltwater), and French Fries (which are very popular here).
As the day ended, we were back in the car and made it back to Kayseri at about five o'clock. The whole trip had taken less than twenty-four hours.
I can easily say that this was the best outing I've been on here in Turkey. It included good food, good friends (including the dogs and cat we befriended), a little drinking, a little riskiness (night hiking/tunnel exploration), and a little pain (sliding down the rock). I feel incredibly grateful that we have friends here that are willing to explore with us, and I'm lucky that our playground, Cappadocia, is so close by.
We hope to have more adventures in Cappadocia as the winter continues, and I can assure anyone who might visit us that they will be whisked off to help us explore this barren and beautiful landscape.