Touring Göreme – Cave hotels, cave restaurants, caves everywhere!
After leaving Istanbul, we headed to Göreme, in the Cappadocia region of central Turkey. The Cappadocia area is known for its unique geography and rich history. Our main reason for visiting the area was to see the famous caves and “fairy chimneys” and take a world-famous hot air balloon ride.
Trying to cram a lot into a small amount of time, our first 24 hours in Göreme involved lots of activities with little sleep: we got to the hotel (which was partly built into the volcanic rock) around 8pm, dropped our stuff, and headed to dinner at this cool restaurant we found within walking distance, Topdeck Cave Restaurant.
This small, family-owned restaurant was undeniably off the beaten path but, luckily, Göreme is a one-horse town, so we found our way quickly with a little help. This restaurant was great—you walk in and it is just what appears to be the family’s kitchen. Mom and Dad were in the kitchen cooking while the 2 girls, 12 and 17, were the waitresses. The small dining area was packed, and at first they weren’t impressed that we didn’t have reservations, but they threw something together for us and seated us quickly. It is evident they don’t have child labor laws (or very strict drinking age/serving laws) and I’ll admit we felt a little weird ordering wine from a 12-year-old.
The highlight of our night was when one of the girls said that Jeffrey looked familiar and asked if he was on the show Gossip Girl… Immediately playing along, he said that he was surprised they recognized him but told them to guess his name. She disappeared to the computer for a while, Google-ing away and came back with a name. Jeffrey confirmed whatever name she said and invited them to Hollywood, where he lives, anytime. It was really quite funny (and, of course, we soon clued them in that Jeffrey wasn’t actually the actor).
Having spent way too much time at dinner chatting it up with the family, we got back to the hotel to secure approximately 4 hours of sleep before our 4:30am wake up call for hot air ballooning the next morning. I was bound and determined to experience this hot-air ballooning as everything I’d researched prior to our trip said it would be the memory of a lifetime. Jeffrey reluctantly played along but ended up having a great time, too (although he’s somewhat embarrassed to admit that, all within the span of one day, he enjoyed both an exfoliating scrub at a hamam (but we’ll call a spade a spade and call it a spa…), followed by the “womanliest” form of aeronautical transportation).
More info on our balloon ride and very spontaneous car rental to explore the rest of Cappadocia coming soon!