Here we are on day four of our world puzzle tour and we are leaving the lush tropical forest of India for a landscape that can only be described as eerie. The striking contrast between the colourful hot balloons and the arid rocky landscape of the Cappadocia Region in Turkey is quite eye catching but our first experience with this puzzle caught our attention in a rather different way. As Dan and I were putting the edge together, it slowly become apparent that something was not right. Instead of rock coloured pieces we had a lot of bush. Hmm. The puzzle in the box did not match the picture on the box. So back to the shop we go and luckily they had just one left. It seems this puzzle was just as popular as the location is in real life.
Cappadocia is a very ancient region that dates back at least to the sixth century BCE. Geologically it is a fascinating place. Volcanic peaks just seem to erupt from the earth. Measuring up to almost 4000 metres, they are slowly shaped by erosion to form thin rock pillars known locally as fairy chimneys. Quite an apt name for a place that appears so other worldly. In other parts of the world they are also known as hoodoos. With hot dry summers and very little rainfall, its arid climate makes it perfect for hot air ballooning.
When you think about it, a hot air balloon would be the perfect vehicle for appreciating this unique and surreal landscape. Drifting slowly over the rocky peaks would grant the keen photographer a multitude of angles and vantage points. The arid climate also means that there is very little wildlife, so the balloons are able to descend much lower to the ground than in other places.
What is even more astounding is that people have lived in this area for thousands of years. One of the most popular tourist spots in the region is the Göreme Open Air Museum. It is an ancient monastic community that has over 30 chapels and churches carved into the rock. Upon entrance, though, these stark exteriors give way to beautiful frescoes that date back to around the ninth century.
I’ve visited some pretty arid places in Australia but I cannot imagine living within rocky walls like these. No doubt it would be a stunning view walking out the front door every morning, so it will come as no surprise that the Cappadocia Region is a popular location within the movie world. I’ve also never ventured up in a hot air balloon, but if you have I’d love to hear about it. Just drop a line in the comments.
Tomorrow we will be heading to a country that tops the bucket list so often we don’t just have one puzzle – we have four! So please join us again as we continue travelling the world piece by piece, exploring some stunning locations and uncovering some fascinating history along the way.