Turkey Shots: Cappadocia


The road between Istanbul and Kapadokya is about 800 kilometers long, most of them on back roads crossing small Turkish villages in the middle of nowhere, gyspy camps and crowded cities. The rest of the road is in the middle of nature, passing by sunflower fields and beautiful hills colored of a ending summer. There are also amazing pure lakes and some rocky tableland that welcome travelers to Anatolia. In all this confusion of landscapes mixed together, in which clearly appears the harmony of nature and the disharmony of humans, the game of Turkish roads is to avoid the reckless people crossing the highway, not only nearby cities, but also in the middle of nowhere.

The art of traveling… Turkey is certainly more interesting to be observed in its natural habitat, outside big cities, when the western influence vanishes and only authentic things come up. Turkish people love to travel, to be constantly on the move. They sit on the side of the street on chairs or sofas and they watch all day long people moving, they carry huge bags on the back and they start walking on the side of highways. They overload trucks until they nearly lose their shape and they start the journey. They cross the country with such old cars that every climb it looks like a parade of smoking hoods.

All this movie show until we get into the bloomed desert, in such a unreal place that doesn’t even look like Earth. A tableland interrupted by rocky “mushrooms”, pinnacles and caverns. All the houses have their own vegetable garden, cultivated in the dust with love and dedication. Then there are abandoned, rusted cars, metal jerry cans, lonely cats and dogs, old men smiling that offer a glass of tea, spice and dried fruit markets with a color explosion.

The reference of Kapadokya for travel guides is Goreme, but instead Çavusin is the best place to discover silence and quietness, with its disordered cemetery so much suggestive during sunset, with children riding bikes, with men sitting at the bar tables, with the muezzin payer that resounds in the valley getting lost, and that wedding party in which everybody was dancing happily.

In Çavusin there is the Panorama Café, the owner is an old man with mustache that owns also a small pension nearby. His daughter is helping during summer time, she is a university student in Istanbul and their smile is so much cozy that it is impossible not to stop and have dinner here. When we ask “what do you recommend us for dinner?”, the answer is easy: “my wife has cooked chicken tonight, is it all right?”. The most traditional dinner we could even think. A familiar, simple dish that becomes so rich and precious for its significance and its value of sharing.

It looks like Kapadokya is a beautiful place where to live, whoever we ask if they would change place, the answer is alway negative. After all how could we disapprove, they have the lucky change to live in a bloomed desert. The hot air sweeps away the silence in the never-ending valleys and the roundness of rocks in Anatolia makes people feels like home.

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