One final day of hiking. Are you sick of pictures of fairy chimneys yet?
The Zemi Valley trail was deserted. We did a little bushwhacking to get there as the trail head was along the Silk road, but it ended up being a really amazing hike. A steep carved-out staircase descends into the valley and you follow a stream bed back to Goreme through some spectacular, other-worldly landscape.
We bumped into one other family on the trail, and like every Turkish family we met while hiking, they offered us food. Though there were language barriers, the locals were insistent on sharing their lunch every where we hiked here.
Zemi Valley was quite lush and filled with songbirds.
The river had carved out the trail, leaving lots of fun squeezes and natural tunnels and bridges to pick your way through.
Seriously unique landscape in an area of unique landscape. There was one slightly hairy part of the trail where you had to belay down a large rock on ropes, but other than getting your feet wet a bit as the trail followed and crossed a stream quite a bit, it was easy hiking.
Alas, the rumble of thunder that was the constant companion of all hikes in the area was getting louder. It was forecasted that we would be soaking wet and running for cover the entire time in Cappadocia, and I felt lucky that this was the only storm that we encountered that fully unleashed its wrath on us.
Finally, the rain gear got some use though. You feel more sucker than smart if you have been carrying it the entire trip for nothing.
Back in Göreme, after a quick clean-up effort and fresh clothes, we had dinner at a fantastic place called Topdeck. It's a cozy little kitchen set in a cave, and the mezze. Oh, the mezze. Do you know what this is? It's almost always vegetarian, and it's a series of small plates to start your meal, or in some cases, it's what's for dinner if you have a lot of them. I will never have mezze again without having to compare it to the mezze here. It's a bit disheartening to have to go on with life knowing that you'll never have it as to-die-for, eyerolling good as the one place in Göreme in the middle of nowhere in Turkey that you had the one time. (Actually, twice. It was so good, I went back for it again.) TO DIE FOR, I tell you.
Which was quite excellent, since I had mixed feelings about life at that point since we would be boarding an overnight bus for a 9 hour bus ride right after dinner.
While you could feasibly take a flight from Nevsehir or Kayseri, the flights to Antalya were so infrequent, it was almost impossible to get one. Night bus was kind of our only option, and it was packed with mostly locals. There wasn't an actual bus station in Göreme, but a series of private companies set up along the main drag, each one sending people off into all corners of Turkey under cover of darkness.
Part of traveling is being a little uncomfortable from time to time. Remind yourself next time you find yourself on an overnight bus in Turkey.