I’d heard it a million times, but until I actually visited Turkey this past spring break, I didn’t quite realize just how it incredible and beautiful it is. Finally, I took the dive and decided to see it for myself.
With flights out to Istanbul from Houston going for less than the price of a ticket to San Francisco, I decided it would be worth it to give Turkey a try this March, for my weeklong spring break. As I made my way through Istanbul, there was a beautiful energy I couldn’t describe. Scents of delicious spices and food wafted through the air as the sounds of boat horns echoed through the breezy streets. Street markets in Kadiköy sold a mountain of fruits and vegetables, some of a variety I’d never seen before. And of course, I’d spend nights sitting in local restaurants, listening to the upbeat sounds of Turkish folk music while indulging in the amazing people-watching that came along with it.
Then, I jetted off to Cappadocia, a completely different planet than Istanbul. As I stepped off the plane, miles of desert-like plains and giant rock formations surrounded me. It was almost like being on Mars, except probably much better because of the crisp air and cool breeze. A great majority of the houses are built into the land, and there are some that have rooms with cave walls and flat roof terraces. I stayed in a tiny town called Ortahasir in a cave hotel resting just underneath the city’s famous rock castle, one of the highest points in the entire region.
Yet, the most breathtaking part of my week was getting into a hot air balloon and seeing the eerie, unique landscape of Cappadocia from above. Words can’t quite describe the feeling of being in a hot air balloon, but drifting seems to accurately paint the picture. Before 6 o’clock in the morning, we were hundreds of feet in the air, marveling at the picturesque area until the sun’s rays began to shower our faces with light. The photos I took are just a mere glimpse at the raw beauty of this mysterious place. It was a marvelous spectacle, and a morning I will never forget.