Stops: Cappadocia -> random pit stop -> Yesilyali
Playlists: Epic Guitar Solos, Motivational Songs
It was an early 4am morning and it was 100% worth it.
The scenery... once we took off... the first thing we saw was a mountain all carved out with windows and doors and gardens; people still lived there! So hard to wrap your head around it, even when looking right at it! Our pilot brought us right down as if we were going to land in the garden and then lifted us way up high to see the entirety of Cappadocia.
He did an impressive landing right ON to a car trailer, we received certificates for completion (?!) and got what we thought was champagne. Drunk on sparkling apple juice, we got back to the campsite, packed up, and headed off to a few of the things we didn't have time to see yesterday.
So in yesterday's blog, we said the houses in the mountains were the most impressive thing we've ever seen... we lied. After about half an hour's drive, we got to this small town and were confused... there was nothing there except rundown buildings. Then we saw a sign, so we parked and followed the arrow: it was an underground city. Literally, the whole thing was a carved out cave about 20? stories DEEP into the ground. The elaborate halls, rooms, kitchens and chimneys, stables, schoolroom, living room; it was all there. Somebody, some ridiculous era ago (no audio tour, and no wifi to read up on it yet), carved an entire city that held a population of 20,000 entirely underground. It seems like a ridiculous feat nowadays, let alone back then with minimal tools. Every turn we took, our jaws dropped. You'd think it was just more rock and it would get old looking at, but to continuously find more and see just how intense this was... we couldn't get enough. We spend over an hour wandering it all and it never seemed to end.
We eventually found the light at the end of the tunnel and went to check out a mountain castle. Same idea, but mostly above ground and you could see most of it by standing on the road. You could also see there were floors going underground, but it was ginormous and all the windows, doors, shelves, fire pits, everything was carved right out of the rock.
We bought some freshly dried mangos and flavoured nuts from the local, got into the car and drove.
I haven't been without my headaches but they've been pretty minimal compared to what I expected. The 4am wake up call caught up with me and I went into zombie mode so I slept for a few hours in the car while justin rocked out. Being 4500-5000ft up and down all day didn't help. I woke up to justin trying to converse with some locals to figure out where he can buy an air compressor. The one we paid a pretty penny for in the U.K., of course, worked a whole one time before it died. The men were more than eager to help and even told us to follow their car as they led us to the store! Language barrier aside, we took some pictures together and went our separate ways. Justin pumped up the tire, blew a fuse, changed the fuse, drove around looking for a new fuse, and then hit the road again.
The big debate now was do we go straight towards Georgia or do a 3 hour detour so we can hit the Black Sea. It was part of our original route, but with our... "detours" in Romania and it being horrible weather all through Bulgaria, we missed out entirely... and we can't come all this way and not swim the Black Sea. So detour it was.
We drove for hours through the mountains: no gas stations, no restaurants. We got lost once because we were off the network and didn't take the ONE turn on this entire road. There was a guy in front of us who turned around. I made the joke that if he's lost, we probably are too, but justin dismissed me.... 8km later, we got data on the phone, and I got a big "whoops" from Justin as we had to turn around and go back.
We came across a turtle camping out on the road, I obviously spazzed that we have to stop. We saved it from a terrible fate and carried it across the road. The little guy moved his little fat limbs FAST in the air, but the second his feet hit the ground, it was back to turtle (or tortoise?) mode. Satisfied we just saved a life, and hoping we didn't put him on the wrong side of the road, we carried on.
We came to a town after 5 hours of driving where we walked in to a restaurant. No English whatsoever, and he seemed confused. I used google translate to ask if he was even open, he said yes but didn't look happy. Pointed at the chair to sit down, opened the grill, cleaned it, turned it on, and started cooking without us ordering anything. We got served the standard kebab meatballs on rice with a side salad. He even brought out 2 glasses of ayran which I've actually enjoyed up until now... this was a little too fermented for my liking. In fact, I'm not even sure if it was cow's milk... so far it's just been a liquid-y yogurt drink that was great on a hot day.
We were excited to see (for the first and probably last time) what a small town local Turkish diner would charge vs all the touristy cities we've been in. Bastard took advantage of us though and charged us double what we've seen kebabs go for IN said cities. Also, the toilet in his restaurant was a squat-er (hole in the ground). We've so been looking forward to Turkish street meat, so wondering if this will be the meal that does us in, we decided to drive another few hours to hit the coast and settle in for the night.