Yes, I’m not going to lie. Among the three of us knowing fluent Hindi, fluent English, fluent Urdu and a bit of broken Arabic, there’s been a language problem. It took us one full day to figure out where to get the bus from Istanbul to Cappadocia. The journey to Otogar (main bus station) just to find this out was an adventure. The local public transportation is solid, only if you know 1) where you are going, 2) how you are going, and 3) the bus number or the metro station nearest to the destination. There is no guide, no brochure, and no information center. And by the time you figure this out, you have already mentally crushed the plan. Stick to the guided tours, and if you are adventurous, you will need to be brave & patient. We enjoy a bit of adventure, a little too much at times.
Can’t believe this but this time, we hitch-hiked on a truck for 70 km. We had already booked and paid for the house and exactly as planned, we also arrived at the Otogar 2.5 hours in advance. But as luck would have it, the only bus now available was to Aksaray, 70 km away from Cappadocia. The explanation by the seller was too convincing “its only an hour away, you take any minibus and no problem, only 10 Turkish Liras!” The bus seat allowed a 45 degree angle, the Turkish MTV was not too far off in competition, the crew served us chilled Pepsi and even checked on the number of travelers after every stop. As soon as we became comfortable, we were unadopted in Aksaray at 5:45am at a gas station where the conductor pointed towards the buses 100 meters away. However, those 100 buses weren’t of any use to us. For a minibus that starts only at 7:00am, we were told to stand by the side of the road and stop one. After waiting and losing hope, we asked the 7th person (in Turkey, it is 7 times a charm) and he was the lucky one to give us a ride.
The sceneray all around was breathtaking but throughout the journey, I was scared and kept on replaying the fighting match between Papa & the potential kidnapper. Of course, my 3 months of crossfit should come in handy as well. There were thousands of sunflowers to my right, all facing towards the sun but I kept checking out the size of his muscles, tiny. He was pure lean mass which might actually work against us. I bet my friend Mandy would be able to beat the shit out of him! Every 10 km milestone raised my confidence. It was a smart thing that I had already verified the directions on my iPhone so I knew the turns beforehand. The board for Goreme pointed east but he turned north. “Hmmm” I said but then a potential kidnapper wouldn’t offer you freshly picked cherries. We arrived safely and I finally realized there are some honest people still left on the planet who just want to help. The experience gave me chills and added to my adventures, and it also gave me a trigger to write but I’m still not recommending hitch hiking in a foreign land where there has been a language problem.