We woke in the morning and enjoyed an included, Turkish-style breakfast on the patio. Then we headed off to meet Walking Mehmet at his café for our hike!
From 8:30am to 1:30pm we enjoyed an amazing hike with Walking Mehmet! We walked through the Rose and Red valleys, as well as visited various hidden churches in these valleys with beautiful, ancient artwork. We also climbed into a pigeon house, which gave us some wonderful views across Cappadocia. We also enjoyed snacks at a random outdoor café on top of one of the hills near a beautiful church but far from the villages. At the end of our walk, we stopped in another café where we enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice before catching a ride with someone Mehmet flagged down for a ride back to Göreme. Overall, it was an excellent way to spend 5 hours – certainly one of the more memorable parts of our Turkey trip! We highly recommend Walking Mehmet! He is a very impressive individual who has self-taught himself various languages through interactions with people in those language. We only have good things to say about Mehmet.
Once we returned to Göreme, we went to the bus station to book bus tickets for tomorrow night to Malayta. JT found the bus companies at the bus station (really just a line of 5-6 bus company windows) to be rather tough to get information out of – especially about buses from Kayseri (which was the bus station we were sure to connect through). We decided to come back later in the evening and hopefully have better luck communicating.
We ate some delicious Turkish pide for lunch before heading to the lauded open-air museum. We were very disappointed in the open-air museum, especially after seeing wonderful churches away from hoards of tourists that morning. The tour groups were so large and frequent that we found that they kept us from being able to really experience the churches. The park service had a note at the gate that one of the churches was closed, but in reality three were closed and another cost an additional surcharge to enter.
We walked back from the open-air museum and then watched sunset from the Göreme sunset point on top of a cliff.
After sunset we went to our hotel and booked the ‘Green Tour’ through our hotel for tomorrow. The tour colors and routes seem to be standardized throughout the city, although the prices seem to differ.
Then we wandered over to the bus station to book bus tickets to travel from Göreme to Malayta for the next evening. Once we got there, we were stunned as we went to all of the windows and found absolutely no remaining availability to Malayta for tomorrow or tomorrow night! We scrambled over to the Nese Tour travel agency, which we had read in guide books was a reputable agency. They went through all of our options, but were also unable to find any bus availability. None of the options they mentioned would meet our needs of getting to Malatya by noon on Sunday for our Nemrut Dagi tour – besides a private car with driver, which was absurdly expensive. We left the travel agency dejected, and assumed it was very possible that we would miss our Namrut Dagi tour.
As a last ditch effort, we checked back at the bus stations once more and somehow got booked on an evening mini-bus to Kayseri as well as a Nevishir bus from Kayseri to Malatya (leaving at 1 am and arriving at 6 am). Although the company with availability was the one company we were told to avoid, we quickly booked because it was seemingly our only option.
After getting our bus tickets, we went to Walking Mehmet’s Noriyon Café for dinner (since it was so great the previous evening). It was here that Katie fell in love with gozleme.