Huge excitement. Today we left Istanbul for Cappadocia. I had no idea what was in store and it turned out that Scott had a few more surprises up his sleeve.
Our flight was on Turkish Airlines who claim to be Europe's best. The flight was largely uneventful (though delayed 1.5 hours), except for that when we went through security there was one person carrying a mini gas barbecue as a carry-on item. As if that wasn't strange enough, they actually allowed it.
In Cappadocia we caught the shuttle to our hotel. It was a minibus and filled with other people all going to different hotels. We hadn't realised it but it would be an hour and a half trip to our hotel, about the same time as our flight. I'd dozed off, and Scott woke me up to tell me that we were getting close to the hotel. When I opened my eyes it was as though I was in some kind of a bizarre dream and I will never forget that moment. We were completely surrounded in every direction by strange rock structures and caves. I had imagined that one would have to visit one particular region to see the sights, but they were absolutely everywhere around us.
We were the second to last set of passengers to be delivered to our hotel. We'd watched everyone being dropped off one by one. The first couple were dropped off at a really luxurious looking gorgeous hotel, and the accommodations seemed to get steadily more 'basic' looking with each new person we dropped off. I'd always assumed that we would be staying somewhere hostel-like. I could not have been more wrong.
After we'd gotten out and lugged our wheelie suitcases across the obviously 'prehistoric' road, my first clue that we were staying somewhere special was the reception area's front door:
Maybe this wouldn't be all bad after all.
The reception area behind that front door was magnificent.
Unbelievably, Scott found this hotel via my Pinterest board! Talk about a guy who pays attention. I'd pinned a photo of the exact room that we stayed in!
Before we were shown to our room, the manager spent a little time doing a welcome / orientation / suggestions chat with us and explaining our sightseeing options and suggested that the best would be to hire a dedicated taxi driver for a day, which we ended up doing.
With apologies to the lovely Timamoon where we went for our engagement, this is the most incredible, unbelievable place that I've ever had the privilege of staying. This was a thing happening to me that would never happen to me or any real people I know, an experience reserved for other privileged people on the internet whose lives I like to daydream about living.
The moment that we stepped into our 2-bedroom cave I was so overwhelmed, amazed and in disbelief that I got a little teary and I'm feeling the same way right now as I'm re-living that moment while I'm writing about it.
The Hezen Cave Hotel is a tiny boutique hotel with just ten rooms. All of the rooms really are actual caves that were carved out over a thousand years ago and are still used today. It is a difficult concept to come to grips with when you're sitting in a room of sheer luxury. Don't be misled by the word 'cave', which conjures up images of dark dankness. Everything at Hezen was bright and light and airy and there was not a single comfort lacking. The decor was incredible and so perfectly and tastefully done. They'd used traditional Turkish elements in the design together with contemporary touches in exactly the right proportions. Added to that, the breakfasts were fresh and indulgent, and every single member of staff was warm, friendly and welcoming and made us feel completely at home and relaxed with perfect hospitality.
It is amazing and mind-boggling to see modern people still inhabiting these incredible ancient caves that people carved out so long ago. Entire villages have made their homes in these places and have them plumbed and fitted with electricity.
Cappadocia is a very special place. I can't express just how amazing this experience was and how beyond lucky I feel to have the Scoddy that I have <3.