A mixed day. Half the gang went to the open air museum, and were planning on going dirtbiking in the evening. I took the car and headed off to see a few other things, seeing as I'd already been out to the museum. I drove off in rather grey and dreary weather, but no matter, it made for even more peace and quiet. I visited a few of the other small towns in the area, none of which I felt was as nice as Göreme. And some of them were downright ugly, mass converted into big western style motels catering to busdriven tourists.
Got hassled to buy parking permits while trying to visit one of the small towns. Promptly moved the car and left. There's plenty more little villages around that I can visit and park in and spend my money there.
Had a lovely morning cruising around taking pictures by the roadside of the beautiful colours in the erosion landscape.
Next stop, Zelve. This is a small offbeat little open air museum. Much more residential than the churchs at Göreme, but completely different, yet again. Whereas Göreme was cut into freestanding cones and pinnacles, Zelve was cut right into the side of the valley. Indeed, Zelve was so much more residential, that it was inhabited until the 50s, when the rockfall danger finally got high enough to force the residents into moving (up the road a couple of kilometres.
It's a little three forked valley at the head of a much bigger valley, and a little more out of the way. I had the place almost entirely to myself for probably 40min, before a turkish school group arrived.
It's a lot more of a doing museum, than a looking museum. With a bit of scrambling you can get up onto some quite high open terraces. There was one or two rather interesting windows in the rock with some decent climbing required to get up to, but I decided to pass on 10m solos in a museum. Still had a good time climbing up chimney ladders between levels though. Quite a different feel to Göreme, Ihlara and Derinkuyu.
One of the slightly more developed pieces at Zelve was a ladder leading up to a hole in the wall. I had heard it was worth taking a torch to zelve, and my headlight had been living in my pack since Derinkuyu and Ihlara, and boy was it worth it! The tunnel leads into the interior of the ridgeline, and with one or two more ladders in eroded spots leads up into a set of great big connected chambers, withh windows looking out from upon high. Eventually, you pop out on completely the other side of the ridge! Excellent!
There's only one highly frescoed church at Zelve, and it's beautiful, even if it completely collapsed, with cracked frescoes laying around at strange angles. It was just a very fun place to go exploring with a bit more of a free reign. I still saw so many places that I'm not sure how to even get to.
One weird sight I saw was a morris board, etched into the rock. And not down at street level either, but well up on a rather deserted empty shelf of rock in a quiet bit of side canyon. The sort of place that kids would go to, but hadn't been converted into a house or anything. Quite curious. It was quite eroded and grown over, and it's an old game. Absolutely no way of working out when it was carved though.
After that it was just more driving back around the neighbourhood, enjoying some beautiful storm light, storm clouds were moving sporadically through the area.