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They Call Them “Fairy Chimneys”

After waking up in the clean and sunny comfort of our rooms at the Dora Motel in Cappadocia, we decided it was high time for the entire team to take a wheel together. So we unfolded our Dahons, and walked them down to the market, where we had seen people renting bicycles.

In the market, we ran into a fellow selling Turkish IDs, press passes, and other printed and laminated images.

We stopped to take a look at his wares, and as I was noticing that his sample ID, taped on his printer, looked startlingly like my father, the proprietor took a picture of me with his DSLR, smiling at me and offering to make me a Turkish driver’s license. I politely declined and we moved on to find a cycle.

The fellows renting bikes were quite interested to see that we’d mostly arrived with our own cycles, and we were more than happy to let them take the Speed TRs out for a spin. Their offerings, on the other hand, were none too impressive. In the end, we ended up selecting a cycle, but the brakes were so poor and the transmission so finicky  that Scott volunteered to ride the thing, leaving Claudia on his Speed TR, and Diane on the Vitesse D7.

And from there we set out, into the blazing sun, the unforgiving desert, and the jaw-dropping geology of this place. We quickly turned off the main road and onto a sandy side path, heading into one of the clusters of “cave” dwellings.

It was not easy to ride through the sand, but we managed for a time, eventually giving up when the path turned into a savage uphill climb toward the cluster of cave houses.

From there, we continued wheeling through the sandy washed out roads to the next archeological site.

There, we proceeded to do the same thing. We wandered through the cave dwellings, climbing around on the rock, and generally having a gay old time.

We wandered through a ancient and deserted city, now re-inhabited by tourists, stumbling upon old churches and cryptic wall carvings, the whole while, just sweating like maniacs in the midday heat.

We returned once again to the main road, heading on toward the pottery town of Cavusin, where Diane purchased a slew of pottery, which we duly divvied up and strapped onto our cycles.

You can see Diane here with the man who made the pots. He would look better with a mustache, don’t you agree?

From there, we wheeled on, heading uphill. Diane’s hat kept falling off, so she re-purposed its purple bow into a fastening system.

The road was wide and empty, spilling out before us, and beckoning us forward. We were happy to oblige, spurred on by the promise of more ruins and bizarre geology.

We then proceeded to, perhaps naively, pay our way into an “open air museum.” The museum ended up being just another archeological site, like those we’d toured previously, though perhaps a little more densely populated with ruins.  Oddly, we encountered this sign posted in English on the ticket booth.  What could they be talking about?  What audience were they targeting, and why here?

Considering all the free sites around us, it might not have made sense to pay our way into this one, but once inside we were determined to get our money’s worth.

We thoroughly explored, bouncing in and out of the “cave dwellings” and generally enjoying ourselves.

That evening we returned thoroughly exhausted and hungry from our wheeling and traipsing, and most grateful to have some clean air-conditioned beds to collapse into.


  1. Val | November 9th, 2010 | 12:54 pm

    When we were in Turkey we never got to Cappadocia, so this was great to experience them vicariously!

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