A great day! After a nice breakfast at our hotel we tentatively headed out on a full day tour. We signed up for the tour the day before once arriving in Urgup. The tour was run through the local travel office, Red Valley. They had several tours all of which seemed well put together and planned. Our uncertainly came from doing a full day group tour with a 16 month old. One of the reasons we are able to do so much with her is because we hold onto as much control as possible so we can adapt on a whim, which we wouldn’t be able to do on a tour. The other concern was that her behavior would affect the rest of the tour; or slow them down. We didn’t want to negatively impact anyone else’s experience because we had a toddler. Before signing up for the tour we asked about a hundred questions so that we could do our best to prepare for any scenario. We were told that the van we would be using had room for the stroller if we chose to bring it, which was encouraging. So after breakfast we collected our things and headed to the front of the hotel to wait. When the van arrived it was clean and appeared pretty new, (a big step up from our rental car), and as promised had room in the back for our stroller and a second bag our toddler supplies. So off we went with our little one in the Ergo and our day pack; and a trunk of “in case of emergency” items.
Our tour, consisting of us and 4 other people set out… Our first stop was Devrent Valley, which as described is a valley in which you can view many fairy chimneys and other rock formations. We started at an overlook to have a view of the whole valley and heard some general information. We then took a small walk around the area.
NNext up was Pasabag Monks Valley. Upon arrival we all hopped out for a brief description of the area and were then given time on our own to wander. This area was filled with interesting rock formations that we were able to walk among and through; far better than just an overlook like at Devrent Valley. There were carved out spaces that had been used as churches and monasteries that we were able to walk through.
After reloading we headed off to the town of Avanos to learn about pottery. We visited a studio and shop and learned about the local pottery as well as watched a demonstration of a piece being spun. It was all very interesting and then of course we had to opportunity to walk through their showroom of completed pieces and then onto their shop of tourist priced pottery pieces.
We also visited an area where they hand painted the pottery in amazing detail. Each piece was its own piece of art. It was a form of pottery that was much different than what I was used to seeing.
Lunch! After a full morning we were ready for lunch. We headed off to…somewhere, where we were able to sit down and enjoy a relaxed tradition Turkish meal and music. Toddler Travel Note – Up in till now we used just the Ergo, it made our life much easier. Most of our stops were pretty short in duration and it allowed us to jump in and out of the van without much fuss. For lunch we broke out the stroller; we knew that there wouldn’t be any highchairs and that at her age that meant that she would be sitting on one of our laps trying to help us hold the spoon as we eating our soup. So we opted for the stroller so she would have her own seat; it was better for everyone.
After lunch we headed off to the Goreme Open Air Museum. This was the big attraction of the day! I had been anxiously awaiting this since we decided to go to Cappadocia. The area while called a Museum is entirely in the open and made up of spaces carved into the rooks, some of which are at ground level and some of which are several stores above the group. Some of these spaces which had been used as churches still house the original frescoes. The scope of the area is unbelievable. It was the Goreme Open Air Museum that we specifically wanted a guide for. We knew there was too much to see and learn about to fully understand it and appreciate it on our own.
Toddler Travel Note – We had planned to use this stop to try and get our little one to take a nap, since it was after lunch and would by our longest stop. This meant we used the stroller which we knew would require some carrying up and down stairs but we thought was worth it. The problem turned out being while we were clearly walking her around trying to get her to go to sleep everyone else kept waving at her. The odd passerby was understandable, but the people that were on the tour with us were doing it too; who did they think was going to get to listen to spend the rest of the day crying if she couldn’t sleep – It would be them! What were they thinking! This was incredibly frustrating, and really the only downside to the day.
After a full tour at the Open Air Museum and a very short and frustrating nap we head for a rest break at a beautiful overlook and tourist trap. We sat and enjoyed some tea while enjoying the panoramic view. Had we wanted to do some shopping that was available as well. From here we went onto out last stop for the day, Uçhisar. This was a quick stop to view what is called the Castle of Uçhisar. A large rock formation with a town (or what looks like a town) carved into it. From there we headed back to town and our hotel.
From there we went onto out last stop for the day, Uçhisar. This was a quick stop to view what is called the Castle of Uçhisar. A large rock formation with a town (or what looks like a town) carved into it. From there we headed back to town and our hotel.
After our full day and mostly successful tour with a toddler we were happy to be back to the hotel. We had a simple dinner of bread and cheese on the patio while Amira was able to spend some time running free.
Red Valley – We were very satisfied with our tour! The tour was well organized and exactly as described. Everything from the vehicle to the driver to the tour guides English was at a high level and we were very pleased.
Red Tour – This is the name for the tour we did through Red Valley. We choose it because we wanted to have a guide for the Goreme Open Air Museum and we felt that the rest of the stops were interesting and beneficial but maybe not things we would get to on our own. We were very happy with the tour we choose and wouldn’t change a thing.
Touring with a Toddler – This was a test run for us. We had done private tours before but never a group tour. We thought that a small tour like this was a perfect size to see how we did touring with a group. It was fine, and we would do it again. I’m glad I asked all the questions in advance to know as much as possible going in. My husband and I also talked about it in advance to decide what was acceptable and what wasn’t. So that if we decided to opt out after seeing the vehicle or meeting our guide we would both be on the same page.
We were pleased that there was room in the vehicle to be able to bring the stroller and a large baby bag of stuff. It made the day much easier have options to on the situation. We did not use a car seat, but we probably could have had we wanted to. We would have just let them know in advance that we would need a full seat for our little one and car seat. Coming from Morocco we were pretty accustomed to driving without a car seat, and the fact that this van had seatbelts was a big improvement; but had we been traveling from the states we would probably have been applauded by the idea.