EVENTS: Urla Artichoke ‘Enginar’ Festival

In the states, chips and dip are a BIG deal… Chips and ANY type of dip are a big deal. Salsa, guacamole, cheese dip, french onion dip, veggie dips (both sweet and savory)…  Needless to say, we love our dips.

One of my favorite dips was artichoke and spinach dip and ironically enough, for a long time I couldn’t tell you what an artichoke even looked like. But if you mix veggies with the right amount of sour cream and cheese (and bake it) and you have me sold!  Outside of that dip and occasionally buying the cans artichokes for my salad toppings, I have never purchased an actual real uncut artichoke. And here in Turkey, they prepare and cook artichoke much differently.

Starting in April in Izmir, artichoke (enginar in Turkish) season is in full swing and starts to dwindle around the end of May. The markets and streets have vendors selling mountains of them. You can buy/sell them whole or ‘cleaned’, some with just the bottom part of the veggie and others with both bottom and the leaves.

A small nearby city, Urla, held its 3rd Artichoke Festival and yearly the masses come out for the 3 day event. So if you want to go, go early in the day because by 1 pm it is crowded. This quaint little town center is completely transformed into a sea of tents. The main area near the stage is mostly food while other nearby parking lots are taken over by local small businesses selling handmade goods.

If you aren’t sure about artichokes, this is the perfect place to go. Every vendor has found some new way to prepare them… savory, sweet, sushi (ok, i’m not actually sure they put it in the sushi), sandwiches, stuffed, casserole style, quesadilla style, dessert, and even a smoothie. You also have the option to buy other byproducts of artichokes like hand creams as well! While you wander around trying to decide what to eat and buy, you can watch vendors cleaning and selling artichokes behind their stands.

If you get tired of walking, stop and just enjoy the general cheerful ambience of the day. The festival has a list of programs throughout the 3 days such as cooking competition, classes, and children’s activities. They all can be enjoyed from the center of town, usually from the public stage. Everyone is in high spirits, locals sharing their hometown, and foreigners trying something new. And since the weather was perfect the day we went, everyone was even more joyful than usually.

Questions for our readers:

Do you like artichoke? How do you prepare it?

Would you go to an artichoke festival? What would you like to see at a festival like this?

TRAVEL: 4 Day Itinerary for Cyprus

2017 started off with my desire to travel more frequently but for shorter lengths of time. While Jason can work from anywhere, I have a schedule for language learning and tend to be the one that keeps us closer to home. And honestly, Jason works better with a home base, and it tends to be less stressful for us both. That being said, 3- 4 day weekend trips have started to play a larger role in my travel planning.

It’s not my ideal way to travel. Short and quick trips don’t allow for you to really learn and embrace the culture. And you just don’t have time to see everything!  That being said, for our Thursday to Monday trip to Cyprus, we decided to dedicate our time just to the western area of the country knowing that we can easier travel there from Turkey again in the future.

Cyprus is not only beautiful but also has an interesting history. Learn more about our 4-day itinerary including our tips and tricks for exploring the South side of Cyprus near Paphos and Nicosia.

I hope to provide you with mini itineraries and resources as I work through writing about our travels. If you would like to listen to our time in Cyprus, check out Episode030! You will also find all links to places we traveled below via the Episode030 show notes.

Spoiler* If you want to know the truth behind traveling, make sure to read the very LAST paragraph!

Day 1: Travel Day – Istanbul to Cyprus

We are fortunate to live in one of the larger cities in Turkey, Izmir. And while it doesn’t have as many options as Istanbul, there are quite a few options for cheaper international flights. Pegasus is an easy 1 hour and 15-minute flight to North Cyprus from Izmir. Since Cyprus was once part of the Commonwealth, it is still a large tourist destination for Brits and other Europeans as well. There are tons of flights from Europe straight into the Greek side of Cyprus if you are coming from there.

Since we were already in Istanbul visiting some friends, we took a direct flight on Turkish Airlines from the Ataturk Airport. Our flight was at 8 in the morning and while I thought it could take us a while to get through security, it was pretty quick. I would always suggest coming earlier than later for the Ataturk airport though! Since my first time living in Turkey 8 years ago, the airport has really added some snazzy shopping, restaurants, and coffee shops. You should have no problem being entertained.

Cyprus has an interesting history between Turkey and Greece. There is a lot to say about it, but I will write the short story. Basically, in 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus twice and after the 2nd invasion, both parties established the ceasefire which is known as the Green Line. Both Turkish and Greek people were moved hastily to their matching nationality’s side and until 2008, the border remained closed due to the Turkish occupation(as acknowledged by everyone but Turkey-think Russia and Ukraine) of the north side of the island. Interestingly enough, Turkey recognizes this territory as it’s own independent nation called the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. You can see what Google maps you use as to who believes what. Above is the English Google maps and below is the Turkish Google maps.

Originally we had planned to stay in the northern part of Cyprus, but the south has cheaper wine and pork… the draw was just too much to pass up. After arriving to North Cyprus we grabbed a special taxi that is allowed on both sides and headed over the border. One hour later, we had grabbed our rental car and started the 2.5-hour journey from Nicosia to Paphos.

Along the mini road trip route, we stopped at Petra tou Romiou, also known as Aphrodite’s Rock. We almost missed it because the road doesn’t actually have an exit for the site. The cafe nearby had a parking lot with an underpass walkway to the water.  The day was a bit rainy and cloudy and created this mystical mood over the beautiful area that is known in mythology as the birthplace of Aphrodite. The ground is just layers of water polished stones and the sound the ocean made as it ebbed and flowed was enchanting.

After our brief 40 minute stop, we headed on to Paphos, checked into our hotel, and relaxed a bit. The evening was chill and we enjoyed dinner and a movie at the local mall.

Tip – GPS vs. Sim Card: Rental car companies usually have a GPS option for the car. We have found the in last few countries, if possible, that getting a sim card with data is much easier, more convenient, and about the same price. The GPS was 6 Euros a day (30 Euros for 5 days) and we were able to get an MTN sim card with 1.5 GB of data for 22 Euros.

Day 2: Local Tour – Paphos

Sleeping in is always on Jason’s ‘requirements’ for our vacations. Off-season makes this possible. So we relaxed. Jason slept in. I went for a quick run. Then we grabbed a late breakfast around 10:15.  While at breakfast we made a plan for the day. Tombs of the Kings, Archeological Park, and a walk around the city center. I would definitely wear good walking shoes because you will walk (and climb) a lot!

We took a break at the local Starbucks. If you know me, then I had to get my country mug! Walked back to our car and chilled at our hotel for a while before heading out to dinner in the evening. Being Saint Patty’s Day, we hit up a local Irish Pub, enjoyed a beer, grabbed some nachos and Shepherd’s Pie. We waited forever for the live music to start but it didn’t seem to be coming anytime soon. So we peaced-out and headed on back for an early evening.


Day 3: Day Trip – Outside Paphos Tour

The next morning followed suit. After our brunch, we headed to a local winery, Fikardos. There is actually a wine route that tourists can spend the day doing. Cyprus has a long-standing history of wine (think…. Greek gods and goddesses) and it is the perfect location for it! We made it to 3 of the 5 in between our stop at the Saint Neophytos Monastery. Ironic huh? Well, in Prague, the monastery there made wine and beer. So maybe it isn’t so ironic. Fikardos winery was the closest to Paphos and the most interactive when it came to showing us their production area and wine sampling. The other 2, Sterna Winery & Museum and Vasilikon Winery Cyprus, were further north towards the monastery and while the views were nice to enjoy, the interaction was somewhat lacking. If you are looking to sit and enjoy a wine though, Sterna Winery is what I would suggest. It’s a small cozy little winery store with a little menu option and a nice view.


The Saint Neophytos Monastery which was founded in 1159 is situated in up into the mountains and is only a 30 minutes drive from Paphos. It is one of the best-known monasteries in all of Cyprus. There is painted rooms built into the walls of the mountain that you can, with a ticket go in. The ticket also gives you access to the monastery’s small museum which is filled with books, scepters, and a lot of other Greek orthodox antiquities. At one point the monastery had peice of wood from Jesus’s cross as a relic, though it is no longer there. The monastery also has a small church that is open to the public.

In the afternoon, we explored the Avankas Gorge. Definitely, wear sporty clothes… and sneakers for this little hike. It is not the easiest to get to, but we found it to exceeded our expectations. The walk from the parking area to the Gorge takes about 10 minutes, and then another 10-15 minutes to actually get to the depths of the Gorge. It is a great option for hikers and nature lovers, and it is family friendly (but not stroller friendly).

Tip – Roads:

  1. Roads are British style. The driver is on the right side of the car and you drive on the left side of the road. Be careful! There are lots of tourists out there and you will know them because all the rentals have a red license plate.
  2. NOT all roads are equal. And taking a shortcut road from one of the wineries to the Gorge is NOT a good idea (personal experience). Google maps may tell you it’s a road, but we had a run for our money. The landscape is mountainous and the roads are gravel and dirt. We will suggest to always use the longer route and main roads when traveling between locations! Our little rental car got a little beating from the ‘roads’ we used, and it was not so fun.


Day 4: Nicosia

Our last morning at the hotel was lazy. After a breakfast, we took a long walk along the coast going north of our resort. The coast is lined with resorts, boutique hotels, and apartments. But there is a nice walking path that everyone takes advantage of in the mornings and evenings. We enjoyed the sunny warm morning and the breeze coming from the sea. There is also an old shipwreck still captured in the rocks just off the coast.

After checking out of our hotel, we headed back the way we came to the capital city, Nicosia, for our last evening in Cyprus. After popping by our Airbnb, we walked to the city center and toured around both the Greek and Turkish sides. Nicosia is the last divided capital cities in the world (think Berlin, but nicer). If your passport allows it, you can cross between the 2 checkpoints in the middle of the city. There is a Greek passport control that you walk past, then for about 100 meters, you literally are in a neutral zone of unoccupied buildings before having your passport checked at the Turkish checkpoint.

Unfortunately, we did not allow enough time for any free walking tours this time around, and because we visited on Sunday, most museums and markets were closed on both side. But we did sufficiently walk almost every block available to us on both sides of the city. Our evening finished by splitting a delicious meat meal for two at Piasta Gourounaki and stopped by the market to stock up on some pork and cheese products.

Day 5: Flight Home

The last morning was spent at our Airbnb. Since it was a private room in a bed and breakfast place, we enjoyed breakfast with other guests and learned more about the history of Cyprus first hand via the Airbnb hosts. The Airbnb host even offered to meet us at the car rental and drop us off at one of the Ledra Palace walking checkpoint to cross over to the Turkish side where we would meet our taxi.

And ironically enough, walking the Ledra Palace checkpoint was one of the more interesting sites in Nicosia due to the history it holds(no pics allowed). The Ledra Palace was formerly one of the most glamorous hotels in the capital. Now it acts as a UN neutral meeting point for not only governmental meetings for conflict resolution but also a place Turks and Greeks can come to meet for business. It was eerie to walk through this ‘no-mans’ land and stop for a quick coffee at the meeting place while remembering the harsh history that brought them to this point.

After hopping in the taxi, it was a quick airplane ride back to Izmir and home sweet home!

Don’t be fooled:

While it sounds like everything was dazzling perfection and it can seem like life is perfect, I want to write a short note to remind readers that it, of course, is not! Our first night, Jason slept so poorly worrying about crossing the border illegally (which we didn’t). There was also the time we clipped someone side mirror because we were just two close to them on the road… which in turn, Jason felt compelled to call the car rental company and tell them about (and I didn’t). We fought over what to do, eat, and how to drive to our destinations. In fast the last night in Nicosia, I was so grumpy at him for not actively trying to help me figure out what to see in Nicosia since out time was so short. Then later I got mad over a bathroom. Because he wouldn’t use the bathroom at a place that required a purchase in order to get the bathroom pin code… Can you tell that it’s most me, Catie, getting mad about his integrity to do what is RIGHT and GOOD???

We argued, got short with one another, asked for forgiveness, gave forgiveness, shared sweet moments, and fell in love all over again. But you know, isn’t that marriage? It is, and it is worth every bit of it!

Now it’s your turn:

Have you been you Cyprus?

How do you celebrate your wedding anniversary?

Would you want to travel here one day?

What suggestions do you have for our next trip one day?


Read more about Cyprus via my guide at Nomadasauras.


Pin it for later or share it via Pinterest with a friend!

Read more information about other islands we have visited:

TRAVEL: Weekend in Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum…  Located in the south western tip of Turkey and is one of the most well-know places in Turkey when it comes to beaches and summer travels. I had heard before that it was so well-know and well-visited by the Brits that the prices on products were written in pounds. I did not see that on our short trip this time, but to be fair, it was the off-season.

Check out our most recent visit to Bodrum this past summer via our COMPLETE GUIDE TO BODRUM.

To SEE our most recent Bodrum City Tour via our video here:

So when our German friends invited us to tag along for a quick overnight trip to this city, we happily agreed! And so, one Saturday morning we headed out of the city for a mini German/American roadtrip. Now, something you should know about me – I LOVE a good road trip, and it was even more fun to explore with new friends. Since we personally don’t own a car here, it is an extra special treat to spend the weekend freely moving about the country on our own schedule(in our friends car of course) – which is something public transportation just doesn’t allow for most of the time. Running a little late(which we did)? No prob… we will leave a little later! (*See note at the end about public transportation)

From Izmir(depending on where you live) to Bodrum, travel by car takes around 3/3.5 hours. Since we left early, we stopped about halfway at the Çeri Restaurant (Instagram) located on Bafa Lake and did the breakfast Turkish style. The day was slightly cloudy but the views of the lake and the surrounding mountains were gorgeous. The food was delicious and a perfect brunch.

I love when a restaurant gives you the option of ordering a ‘domlek’ of tea. They bring out the candle warmer, hot water pot and the top domlek kettle with the strong steeped çay.  The Turkish tea here is done with a 2 story kettle similar to the one pictured. The bottom kettle heats the water, and you then pour the water into the top kettle that has the tea. While the tea is brewing (about 10-20 minutes) you reheat the water in the bottle kettle as well. Since the top kettle has strong tea, you can choose how dark or light you want your own personal tea to be by combining the tea and hot water.

Our sweet German friends!

After our breakfast, we headed onward to Bodrum. The city is actually not as big as I thought it would be. In September, our sailing trip left from another coastal city in Turkey, Fethiye, which has around 100,000 people. I think that visit influenced my expectations about the size of Bodrum which I found out later has around 40,000. 60,000 people is a considerable difference and I actually liked that it was smaller. We could walk everywhere we wanted to explore.  So after checking into our hotel, we did just that.

I will briefly mention our hotel for those who are curious. In past podcast episodes you have heard about 2 different ways we have found accommodations, Airbnb and This time we booked last minute via and I was a little careless about reading the reviews. The hotel was clean, but small. The complimentary breakfast was sufficient, and the location was ideal. However, the hotel(Albatros Otel) was literally wall to wall with a night club which, much to my astonishment, was going strong until 4 AM regardless of the so-called ‘off season’ (remember our other night club experience in The FunkTravels Podcast’s Episode003?). I had thought it would be preferable to be close to the water, but really anywhere BUT the water is a better sleep!  We walk a lot in Izmir so the distance from one location to the next was not far, and next time I will happily stay further inland to get a few more hours of rest and sleep.

It was about 1 pm when we left the hotel to explore one of the biggest historical sites Bodrum has to offer, the Bodrum Castle. If you are a long term visa holder (residence or work permit) or a student, you are eligible for a MüzeKart, a one-time payment museum card that allows you entrance into most museums in Turkey for one year.  Since the tickets into the castle were 30 TL each  150 TL (2022), we opted to use our MüzeKart. It took a little time to figure it all out, but in the end I am glad we did. I just wish we would have figured it out back in Cappadocia! (For short-term tourist (3 months or less), there are 2 options for you as well which you can find on their website.)

Inside the Bodrum castle are exhibits about old life in Bodrum, an underwater museum about discovered shipwrecks, and an old chapel/mosque. From the castle walls, one can see several stunning views of the whites homes that line the coast. The castle is deceivingly large. I would suggest wearing good walking shoes and blocking out around 2 hours for exploring and learning. In the summer months there is a cafe in the middle of the castle grounds to sit and enjoy a cup of tea if you need a break.

Take a tour of the castle with us!

After the castle, we stopped for a coffee and snack at the local Starbucks and enjoyed the view of the sea from the outside sitting area. Then we proceeded to wander the streets and coast line. There are lots of little quaint shops with local goods and other promising touristy items for purchase. I found the least touristy one and found some glass turkish coffee mugs that I have been looking for – simple and no frills which is great for future guests visiting our home in Izmir. Bodrum is well know for it’s white houses that line the coast and run through the city and up into the hills. The white building are splashed with colorful window sills and fabrics. On one of the side street we found a Spanish restaurant, La Pasion Restaurant, and after a warm chat and a complimentary sangria, we made reservations for later that evening.

Our seven pm dinner reservation definitely meant we were the first ones at La Pasion. Even when we spent a month in Spain, we were the first ones to the restaurants and normal opening time for the kitchen was around 8 pm. What can we say… we are early dinner goers! And according to American standards, seven is a little later!  The restaurant has several options from tapas to entrees, but our little party of four decided to share a several tapas and split a bottle of wine. The portions were small but most tapas had 4 servings that we all were able to share. The staff was great at helping us know what to order and the serving sizes.  Ordering tapas allowed us to try 6-7 dishes that the restaurant had to offer, but if you are hungry, I would suggest to order fewer tapas and skip to the entree as you will get considerable more food. We skipped dessert as we were sufficiently full, and I may have wanted a delicious dessert waffle from another local shop. After paying our bill and thanking the staff for a lovely dinner, we headed out in search of my waffle. Unfortunately, we were surprised to find all of the waffle locations to be closed by 9 pm on a Saturday night!

After our previously mentioned sleepless night, Lisa and I still made it our for a morning jog along the coastline. It was a gorgeously sunny day and a few degrees warmer than our normal morning runs in Izmir. After a few hills in our little loop of the town, I may reconsider future thoughts of running the Global Bodrum Run 10k on April 30… After our run, we enjoyed a simple breakfast, grabbed some coffee and headed out for a short walk uphill (again) to a couple of other historical sites – the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and the Ancient Amphitheater. Along the way we found a little Sunday street bazaar of handmade items.

Along the way we found a little Sunday street bazaar of handmade items.

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is one of the Ancient 7 Wonders. An even cooler fact is that the word we use for Mausoleum today started from this structure. I will say that it was very underwhelming site, but way more interesting to think we were standing at one of the Ancient Wonders. Since most the bigger pieces have been used in other structures over time, most of ruins were still scattered around on the ground are not able to make any formation. There was a little TV showing how the archaeologist learned about the structure and some pictures.

Following the yellow theater signs from the mausoleum, the  Ancient Amphitheater is just a short 10 minute walk uphill through the narrow street of a neighborhood.  The path can only be used by pedestrians, mopeds and bicycles(but I am not sure who would every ride there bike up that hill). Once you make it up out of the neighborhood, you find one of the best views of Bodrum’s Castle and city. The theater also has some great views if you climb up to the top of the rows which was said to hold about 4,000 people. Even better is that there is no fee for visiting this site!

After our morning hike to these two places, we said our goodbyes to Bodrum and headed on home to Izmir. Following the advice of some our waiter friends at La Pasion Restaurant, we stopped at a unique little hidden bay area called Cennet Köyu, aka Paradise Village. The water was crystal clear and the views were amazing. It was worth the little extra detour (and the turnaround since I forgot to tell them to where to turn off!) for us to see this little local treasure.

All in all, we found Bodrum to be all others said it would be (including the sleepless night at the hotel). I am sure it is even better in the summer months when the streets are crowded and spirits are high, but I tend to like seeing places outside of the ‘perfect’ times. Instead of standing in line or pushing through the hussle and bussle, you tend to learn more about the ‘real’ life and year-rounders and spend time meandering the back streets. The next time we go back, we will know now how to spend our weekend and where NOT to stay!

You can hear more about our time in Bodrum via The FunkTravels Podcast’s Episode028.

Don’t forget to check out our video our Bodrum City too!

And even in off-season, it was still a wonderful place to visit. Bodrum is a province(or state) in Turkey, but within the state of Bodrum there is also a city named Bodrum. When we are talking to any friends(Turkish or foreigner) about the area around Izmir, Bodrum is one of the first places they want to know if we have visited. In turn, we promptly made a mental note adding it to our future travel list.

Questions for our readers:

Would you want to go visit this area of Turkey one day?

Have you been to Bodrum, Turkey?

If so, what are your thoughts?

What suggestions do you have for our next visit?

*While it has it’s flaws, public transportation is cheap, frequent and well-used in Turkey. You can find buses that go from the Izmir Otogar to Bodrum at all hours of the day. From our neighborhood in the high season, I have seen that there is a bus that goes every hour. If you are looking for buses, check out this site for more information.

TRAVEL: Weekend in Cappadocia – Castle Inn Cappadocia

The area of Cappadocia is covered in rock formations that were created from erosions of lava rock. This erosion created MILES of natural gorges and fields of dips and peaks in the land. Later on, communities carved into these formations to create rooms for their homes, churches, and stores. Up until the 1950s, the people continued to live in most of these areas, but time started to slowly destroy some of the structures. Plus, newer commodities like indoor plumbing and electricity was not so easy to run through the rock houses. Now, more and more of these homes are being restored into stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Castle Inn Cappadocia in Ortahisar is one of these cave B&Bs! This smaller one-of-a-kind boutique hotel was renovated from a 150-year-old cave house. While it could have easily been 10 rooms, Suat decided to keep it intimate with only five uniquely designed rooms.

Our love for this hotel started with our very first email from the owner, Suat Ulusoy. We mentioned to him in our first inquiry email that Jason and I first met in Turkey and that we love to share Turkey with others. Ironically enough, Suat met his wife for the first time in America and he too loves to share his love for the states. And so this struck a bond between us! The communication from there on out was smooth and made any anxiety about the upcoming snowy travels non-existent. Suat wasn’t just an owner, he cared for us like this inn was his home and we were his close friends, from ordering food for us Friday night when the roads were too icy to drive on, to arranging my ‘surprise’ hot air balloon ride for Jason and then rescheduling it after it was cancelled the first morning!

To further attest to the atmosphere of hospitality we experienced, the hotel is normally open 11 months of the year, and January tends to be the easiest time for Suat to find time to relax and refresh. But even in the midst of his annual ‘leave’, he is willing to open up his inn for special guests. We just happened to benefit from this warm and inviting nature! However, with the very heavy snow the day before we arrived, the plane flights for the other guests were canceled, but Suat continued forward with our stay and offered us an upgrade to the best room available.

In the midst of our wintery surroundings, our stay in the cave room was warm and cozy. Each room has several wall heaters in the bathrooms and rooms as well as slippers and an electric kettle for warm drinks. While the terrace was snowy, the view of the valley was stunning. Complimentary breakfast is served in the what once was the old animal stables of the home. For 2 people, they usually prepare individual plates with the traditional Turkish breakfast, but more guests allow for a larger buffet style arrangement. I think we got the better end of the deal though because all of the ‘buffet’ items were arranged accordingly on the long wooden table within arm’s reach. Once we sat down, we never had to get up for bread, juice, coffee, or fruit. Omelets are made on request as well. Both mornings we ate around 9:30 AM and ended up skipping lunch due to the delicious breakfast!

Since the inn is located in Ortahisar we had immediate access to most of the what Cappadocia has to offer! Red Valley, Rose Valley, Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar, MustafaPasa, Avanos and many outstanding open-air museums and amazing rock formations are only a drive away. While there are day tours (private and group) available, Jason and I opted for a rental car for the weekend since we had been there before and are familiar with the area. It also gave us the flexibility to stop as many times as we wanted (which is a lot when I want to take pictures of everything!). I will be the first to argue that Cappadocia is more beautiful in the winter with a fresh layer of snow adorning the layers of rocks.

If you are concerned about safety during this time, let me be the first to assure you that Cappadocia is very safe. And in the hands of Suat at Castle Inn Cappadocia, there is no safer place to stay. As mentioned before, the ease of communication leaves no misunderstanding for any questions you may have. Outside of email, Suat was able to communicate via WhatsApp about the location of the hotel, last minute changes, and weather updates.  Larger hotels can’t give you the amount attention and dedication Suat gives his guests at the Castle Inn.

Castle Inn Cappadocia

Contact & Reservation

Postal address : Castle Inn, Cappadocia/Turkey
Eski mahalle, Bahce sokak, No:5, 50650 Ortahisar/Urgup/Nevsehir/TURKEY
Phone : + 90 384 343 30 22
+ 90 530 324 45 27 (Cell Phone – Turkish)
: + 90 549 341 00 01 (Cell Phone – English)
Fax : + 90 384 343 30 21
Email : [email protected]




[DISCLAIMER: I was not paid for this post. I did receive a media rate from the hotel as a blogger. After our stay, I trust the owner, Suat, and am happy to recommend this hotel. One of the purposes of our website is to highlight Turkey, the local people, and try to help their businesses. At the same time we take the trust we have with our readers very seriously and will not recommend businesses/activities we do not think our readers will enjoy regardless of the friendship we create along the way.]

TRAVEL: Remembering Cappadocia


Today we head to Cappadocia, and I can’t help but reminisce about last time we were there. Three summers ago (yep 2014), just 5 months into our marriage, we took our first international trip together.

Our agenda? Turkey, of course! From Istanbul, we traveled to Cappadocia region and then onward to Adana.

While I am sure this is not a surprise, Cappadocia has a lot of history. The land has been occupied by the Hittites and a few other empires along the way. Early Christians thrived in this area which accounts for the numerous churches throughout the area until Islam(Selcuk Turks then the Otomans) came in force. Elevated caves and underground cities became a source of protection during that time. Tours are always a helpful way to learn the most about the history of the area and what you are seeing.

While I had been to Cappadocia before, we were still excited to see the area together! During that trip to Turkey we spent a lot of time reconnecting with old friends, our three day stay in the middle of our itinerary was like a mini retreat for us to experience something new together – just us. We enjoyed walking around the ancient town of Goreme and seeing the old cave homes and business creatively intertwined and renovated with more modern architecture.

Another day we rented a scooter to get around the area. There is so much to explore and having a scooter allowed us to wander and navigate the region on our own timetable as opposed to going with a tour. We explored the open air museum, found a pottery museum, climbed a castle, and journeyed through one of the many underground cities.



This weekend, however, will be the exact opposite of our sunny, summer visit. The forecast shows winter to be in full swing and a layer of snow is predicted to greet us when we land in Kayseri Airport. For the weekend, we will stay at Castle Inn (Instagram), a smaller one-of-a-kind five room boutique hotel renovated from a 150 year old house in Ortahisar, next to Goreme. Just from my email communications with the owner, Suat, I know we will love this hotel! (In my book, half of a good hotel stay is my interaction with the people who work there.)

Being located in Ortahisar means that we will have immediate access to Red Valley, Rose Valley, Goreme, Urgup, Uchisar, MustafaPasa, Avanos and many open air museums/amazing rock formations. A hot air balloon ride (our first!) may be on the itinerary as well…

Here are some helpful resources I have been using to plan our weekend:

Pegasus Airlines and car rental

Captivating Cappadocia

Castle Inn Cappadocia – Anything you need, they can set up for you!

Winter skiing – here and here


If you have never been, it should definitely be on your list!

If you have been, what did you think???