4 – Fairy Cappadoccia

Remember Hervé? The math teacher at the Galatasaray High School in Istanbul? He also has a great house in the village of Uçhisar, in Cappadocia. That's where we've put our bikes for a few days.
Mehmet, who owns a restaurant there, welcomes us around a tea before telling us where we can find Hervé's house. We cross this picturesque village, a mixture of ancient houses dug in the rock and modern dwellings trying to keep the original character. We arrive after a few hundred meters in our ephemeral dwelling. But before I tell you more about it, let me describe you Cappadocia.
It begins ten million years ago with successive and intersected eruptions of several volcanoes up to the pilocene, two million years ago. This long period has given way to a superposition of ground layers of relative hardness creating a vast plateau of about 50km of diameter. On this basis, weather and erosion have modeled a breathtaking landscape, a mixt of valleys and fairy chimneys. It is in this geological composition that humans have settled over the centuries, digging individual dwellings in chimneys and even real troglodite cities.
Hervé bought a ruin from these caves a long time ago for a handful of figs and took the time to restore it into a barely credible house. The views from the multiple terraces are fantastic. Every morning, dozens of balloons take off to fly across the valleys, the energy that arises from the scene is similar to that of Bagan in Burma.
We spent a few days in this house with Noémie and Juliette, students who chose to do an exchange in Istanbul and had the great chance to know Hervé, much under the same circumstances as us. Wake up to the sunrise, trekking in the valleys, cycling trips and raki apéros have paced this magnificent stopover.
We also had the chance to meet a number of French settlers, including Coline, an architect who restores the village's old grottoes and Hélène and Nicolas, who have never been able to leave the region. They have created a ranch where they organize horseback riding excursions of several days in the middle of the valleys.
The departure is difficult, but we have to go back to Ankara to retrieve our Iranian visas, nevertheless, once there, the beautiful surprises came one after the other.
We meet the editors of the opposition newspaper Solfasol, in which we are invited to publish a monthly column about the democratic and ecological situations of the countries we are going through. We eat a bite with the creator of the Gaia newspaper, which fights against government violences by denouncing the atrocities it perpetuates. We also get to meet the videographer journalist of an independent collective who chose to stay in Ankara to film police violences. We make an intervention in the French high school of Ankara to talk about our journey and our objectives and, thereby, make pupils aware of ecology and permaculture.
We started to feel involved in the fight against Erdogan but it was time to leave, we had already spent much more time than expected in Turkey.
Have you ever heard of the Transasya express? Well, it doesn't entirely exist anymore because it is currently impossible to cross the Iranian border by train. However, the Turkish stretch is still in use. The 25 hours journey in the middle of the eastern mountains was really cool.
After a few adventures between the towns of Kars, Agri and Doguboyazit, we finally ride our bikes towards the cradle of civilizations.