Eastern Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan
After a stormy, rainy, cold night we drive along the coast road up to Trabzon. The sea is rough and wild.
It’s easy to find a laundromat for our laundry in the University city Trabzon. Than we leave the coast again land inward for a trip to Maçka. The snow line dropped down to 400m and the winter scenery is wonderful again.
Around the 4th century the Sumela Monastery has been founded for Virgin Mary, enlarged in the 6th and 7th century and it is now one of the most important monasteries in Antalya.
Special is that it’s built around a natural cave on a steep slope of Karadag Mountain at around 1500m. The cave church in the center of the monastery is carved into the mountain and covered with murals – the oldest ones discovered in the little hidden chapel is from out the 14th century.
Impressive and with the deep snow like a little winter wonderland!
After leaving Tokat in T-shirt, shorts and 22C degrees we arrive in Ünye in poring rain. Worst weather case for the so beautiful Black Sea coast.
We visit Ünye anyway as well as Ordu – both nice coastal cities with nice coast promenade, parks and restaurants.
A few cafes and restaurants are open but we rarely see nobody in there – it’s Ramadan. So we also respect not to eat or drink during the day in public. People fasting between sunrise, 6:00 and sunset 19:30, except for example children or medical reason. At 19:30 families and friends are coming together for the Iftar, the first meal of the day.
It’s a pity that the weather doesn’t invites us to one of the beaches. At least we get some of our postcards written.
Next to the city centers the coastline is covered with all high apartment buildings and a ridge of hills and mountains up to 1500 m.
The roads into the mountains are along rivers and very scenic. We pick one of these canyons into the Kuzalan Nature Park to reach the Kuzalan waterfalls and get surprised with heavy snowfall. Now the precipitation is beautiful and kind of romantic … We just leave early before the road is covered with snow and getting too slippery – we really don’t want to use the snow chains here in Turkey.
The east of Turkey will stay for us undiscovered. We tried to find a way to offer our help in the earthquake affected areas but without success. The area is still kind of unorganized and so many people are suffering.
We hitting up north in direction Black Sea. A long way through wide plains surrounded with snow capped volcanos.
We stop in Tokat to stroll through the nice little streets and shops. Kind of spontaneous we decide to visit the old hamam in Tokat. Women (bayan) and men (bay) are separated and having a different entrance.
Hmmmm so great to get washed, scrubbed and massaged while laying on a hot stone plateau.
A little bit of a crazy day: the weather is so fantastic that we are leaving early for another split-board tour. Not too long – because Basco likes a lot to walk up with us the mountain but running down while we are snowboarding takes too much effort.
Only 10 km from Mt Eriyes is also a possibility in Kayseri to fly. Perfect conditions! We check the landing field and getting welcomed by a whole community of young enthousiastic pilots and organized shuttle service to the launch. The landing seems us a bit challenging: it’s Sunday and the field surrounded with appartment buildings is packed with people and families on plaids or in the gras – (it’s Ramadan = no picnic) or playing football.
We get some thermic, astounding view on Mt Eriyes and the landing was good to do…..
What a day… snowboarding and paragliding all in a day!
From Ushisar we had this great view over Cappadocia. On the horizon we discovered a mountain 🏔️ – a mountain with snow. Looks great it’s only 100 km from Göreme, there is snow and a ski area! 😊
Eriyes Mountain is the highest mountain of central Anatolia. It is 3917m high volcanic peak and provides impressive views from all around. Also it was an extinct volcanic mountain which was ten millions years ago active and created the fairy chimneys in Cappadocia. But today, Erciyes Mountain is one of the best ski resorts in Turkey – 14 lifts, up to 3700 m, 55 km slopes, day pass 14,- Euro and unlimited off piste possibilities . It’s also one of the snow kite world cup destinations and ….
Ja and: Erciyes is the partner resort of Ischgl!!!
It’s not at all comparable with Austrian ski areas but we are so happy to be in the snow and on the pistes. We park directly next to the gondola- “ski-in-ski-out”. The first night we get almost 10 cm of new snow – the first slopes are first tracks…. Nobody here…. Only around 50 people in this whole ski resort…. All hotels are empty… its end of season.
It’s sunny, I love spring skiing even when the snow is very wet in the afternoon.
Most of the bars and restaurants are closed anyways- but also Ramadan began.
This morning the sun came up and the peak was free of clouds. We take the splitboards and walking some kilometers up the mountain – with Basco – and enjoying the fresh slopes.
Switching the boards and having a great snowboarding day.
What an amazing second day in Cappadocia!
If nature was the first artist to arrange the decor, man carved the rest, creating what is now considered a national treasure. Lava, ash, rain, wind and ice are the natural “artists” that have sculpted over millions of years Cappadocia, in central Türkiye.
We want to watch the balloons starting in the morning so we slept on a sunset point close to Göreme. We are lucky: wind and weather let the balloons start again. At 6 o’clock in the morning with 5C degrees we are outside to watch this show from close up. It’s a beautiful glowing in the dark when they get filled. Some of them only 100 meters next to the truck. Pffff again magnificant.
We leave early for a long hike across the Rose and the Red Valley. It’s so astounding that we stopped several times just sitting in this unreal nature. It’s spring and between the rock are pink bushes everywhere.
Having çay with Turkish delight later the day in Ortahisar and visiting the castle and the fairy chimneys in Ushisar. Here still some people are living in some of these rocks, guests can stay in carve-hotels and the whole city Ushisar is build in and around and between the rocks. Unreal!
We having for this region famous pottery kebab in a small restaurant before searching a place for the night.
On a small road the truck glides in this soft gravel sand and we were afraid that he will fall on his side. With help from some locals and a german couple traveling around with a Bulli digging a curl under the tires and air pressure out of the tires Vincent gained to safe the situation.
Wuau… we wake up in a fairytale landscape, over 100 balloons painting pictures in the early morning hours to a most beautiful sunrise on the horizon. …. The fairy chimneys in het love valley as coulisse. Like in a Disney movie…. And for sure one of the most impressive events we have here in Turkey until now
Magic. Unreal. Moving. Just astounding. Beautiful.
After 11/2 hours they all landed around us and we let it all sink in during breakfast.
Cappadocia is a semi-arid region in central Turkey, that is known for its group of tall, cone-shaped rock formations in Göreme National Park.
Its fairy chimneys, conical structures that can reach up to 45 meters in height, witnh there Rock-carved housings, churches, some of them combined through tunnels are famous all over the world.
We explore the surrounding and get surprised of all kind of different rock creatures in different valleys in different colors. Uncredible! We are so impressed.
It’s really fascinating to visit this underground city up to 5 grounds deep up to 55 m underground. Tunnels, rooms, stables… all underground. The actual city of Derinkuyu is just build over it…. You don’t see anything from above.
The Derinkuyu underground city is an ancient multi-level underground city in the Derinkuyu extending to a depth of approximately 85 meters. It is large enough to have sheltered as many as 20,000 people together with their livestock and food stores. It is the largest excavated underground city in Turkey and is one of several (about 200) underground complexes found throughout Cappadocia.
Caves might have been built initially in the soft volcanic rock of the Cappadocia region by the Phrygians in the 8th–7th centuries BC.
These cities continued to be used by the Christian natives as protection. After the region fell to the Ottomans, the cities were used as refuges. As late as the 20th century, the local population, Cappadocian Greeks and Armenians, were still using the underground cities to escape periodic persecutions.
In 1963, the tunnels were rediscovered after a resident of the area found a mysterious room behind a wall in his home while renovating. Further digging revealed access to the tunnel network.