As I lay flat on my back next to my friend, gazing up into the sky from the sandy ditch in which we lay, above us teetering on the edge threatening was our quad bike.
I remember thinking – one more rocking motion and it will surely tumble down and that would be it.
I instinctually moved to protect myself once a little of the shock had worn of by covering my head and body with my legs as best I could and braced myself for impact when luckily our friends had spotted us and ran over, pulling the ATV away.
Checking for broken bones, blood and concussion was unnecessary as all that I got from this eventful experience was a sprained ankle which left me limping around the country for the next week, and my friend was simply full of some impressive bruises.
We of course considered ourselves very lucky and super glad that it wasn’t any worse since I imagine there are not many worse things in this world I would rather see the wrath of my worrisome Italian mother in a Turkish hospital had I been severely injured.
The hours leading up to the incident however, were some of the best I’ve experienced.
My friends and I had decided to go quad biking and a gentleman from the place we rented them came with us.
At first he really tried to stop us from doing anything too exciting (probably to avoid stupid accidents such as, see above) except driving in circles until eventually we were far enough out that we had free reign really.
I wouldn’t have called him a guide exactly as he spoke no English but when he motioned for us to follow him into a cave in the middle of nowhere, we figured why not?
After a hard climb up we were rewarded with amazing views from a top a small cliff, not a soul was in sight from up there and it was truly beautiful.
Filled with adrenaline and bound back to town was when my friend and I encountered our little mishap.
We had taken off much later than the others and consequently followed a different road a little way behind them.
What we didn’t realise was that it was dangerously narrow (over the aforementioned ditch) and with two people’s uneven weight..well you know what happened.
That evening my tour group had organised a dinner complete with traditional music and dancing.
Being a major sufferer of FOMO, not going wasn’t an option so I still enjoyed the meal despite only being able to watch the festivities with my bulging foot on some ice.
The actual event was quite touristy and I know there are some more authentic opportunities to see whirling dervishes perform.
Although the dance is for religious purposes, it has turned into a popular attraction within Turkey.
Before I visited Göreme if someone had told me my favourite area of Turkey (besides Istanbul) would be simply full of rocks I probably wouldn’t have agreed but something about the landscape here is truly magical.
The main draw is of course the underground tunnels and cave networks that has existed here for centuries.
We visited the underground city of Derinkuyu which I highly recommend seeing if you’re in the area – it’s big enough to fit up to 20,000 people and with parts of it as deep as 60m below the earth it is truly a remarkable site.
The Göreme Open-Air Museum is also a must see in this region, among the familiar landscape there are many beautiful works of painted art inside some of these rocks.
This is also where you can spot some ‘fairy chimneys’ as they are called. Needless to say there is a tonne of tourists trying to get photos of them from a particular angle!
In this area it’s imperative that you try a testi kebab – cooked inside a terracotta pot and then cracked open with a hammer on your place, they are really delicious and originate from this area of Turkey.
While I was enjoying one of these my friends and I spotted a man across the street just casually dismount his horse at an ATM, perhaps he must’ve just realised he needed some cash!
The other thing to try, which you’ll find all around the country is some local ice-cream, or dondurma.
It’s not like regular Western ice-cream since it has a more chewy consistency but the best part of buying one is that the men who serve it generally like to play a bit of game with you (including some spectacular throwing of it around) before it lands in your hands – very fun to watch.
I can’t end this post without mentioning the number one reason I had travelled to the Cappadocia area of Turkey in the first place, which was to hot air balloon over its amazing scenery.
Both mornings I was there my group got up at around 3:30am to participate and both of those mornings it was too windy so we weren’t able to go.
Seeing a balloon being inflated was unfortunately the closest I got, but the sunrise was still a decent reward.
Utterly devastated on missing out, I will definitely be back one day to make this dream happen!