Day 11 – Antalya to Cappadocia

It is amazing to me how well things have worked out regarding this trip, our connections, and the agency’s support. Whenever I had questions about pick-up times, tour information for the day, or general questions, my contact in the travel agency answered almost immediately. And, it always is as presented. Just an FYI…

Last night, we checked out the restaurant in our hotel. Their buffet was very extensive and fresh but way more than we wanted to eat. We decided to wander back to the square behind our hotel for a small supper, a shared pizza. The seating was abundant. Best of all, there was a two-man musical group playing guitar and an electronic drum, singing beautiful songs in Turkish. They had an admiring crowd enjoying their music, especially us.
We strolled from the square to the pedestrian street, where we looked at the shops and watched the vendor selling Turkish ice cream as he was putting on his show. I recorded it but am not sure you will see how much fun it was to see the surprised and laughing faces of those getting the ice cream. Personally, I like their ice cream better than the gelato. The gelato has more flavors to choose from but the texture is more gelatin-like rather than creamy. It was the perfect way to end the day.
We were ready for our 6:30 AM call. The 20-minute ride to the airport was traffic-free and check-in was very easy. A quick breakfast and we are ready for the one-hour flight to Cappadocia.
We crossed over mountains until we landed in Kayseri (KAY-se-ree), the airport close to Cappadocia, about an hour away. The flight was pleasant and totally filled with passengers. We were met at the airport, along with a few other people. Some were dropped off at their various hotels before we were taken to ours, the Heaven Cave Hotel. Almost all the hotels here have “cave” in their name because they are built into the mountains. The drive to our town from the airport took over an hour.
Our hotel is very interesting, with steep steps up to our second-floor room. The bathroom is very modern while the bedroom has its own charm. Since we arrived at 12:30 PM and have nothing planned for the rest of the day, we scheduled a Hamam Turkish bath and an hour-long massage. We are spoiled with the massages we get in Ajijic but were not familiar with a traditional Turkish bath experience.
If you have not experienced this, it is quite unique. Men go to one area, women to another. First, you strip down and have a Turkish towel around you to enter the sauna. Then, you go into the steam room. I could only handle about five minutes there. And, lastly, you go into the salt room, which is lined with bricks that are made of salt. It is cool, quiet, and has a blue tint to it. That was a five-minute stint.
Now, the “fun” part… I can’t say what happens on the men’s side, but you go  into a large, round room, with a raised marble (or onyx) platform. You lay down on your tummy while a woman in a bikini takes a towel and dips it into a sink full of warm suds. It is then draped over you. The bubbles feel good. She uses a loofa and washes and exfoliates you from head to foot. Time to turn over. More warm suds, more bubbles, and again, you are washed, but only with her hands, again from head to foot, including your hair and face.
This is followed by a shower with only one handle, hot and hotter. A dip in the tepid swimming pool and you dry off a bit, relax in a lounge area sipping apple tea, awaiting your massage.
The massage was very good, with emphasis on reflexology on your feet. I fell asleep by the time she worked her way to my back but I assume that it got a  good massage, too. When I turned over, there was a mirror on the ceiling, which was a little disconcerting. I watched her complete the massage, including my stomach area. It all felt good. Our driver waited outside for the full two hours to take us back to our hotel
Feeling totally relaxed, we showered, dressed for dinner, and found a little restaurant on the plaza, called Cappadocia (catchy, no??). I had their version of moussaka (absolutely delicious) and Jim had a lamb shwarma wrap. Of course, there was a chopped salad, French fries, and a glass of the area’s famous wine. It, too, was delicious.
A little walk around the plaza and we were back at our hotel early to get ready for our 5:00 AM pickup for our hot air balloon ride to see the “Fairy Chimneys.”

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