Rafet, our personal driver, arrived moments later. Having been in the tourism industry for years, he was very familiar with the roads and with the sites we had in mind – as well as a few more that he recommended.
We started at the Derinkuyu Underground City, the largest of 36 underground cities in Cappadocia that were built in the 8th - 7th centuries BC. Derinkuyu goes down 85 meters and could hold thousands of people, livestock and food! The belief is that the underground cities were used as temporary homes or used for protection, but they weren't for permanent housing. I was a bit nervous about going up to eight stories underground and navigate around tunnels, because I’m not a fan of small spaces. But I went anyway and as we walked in, we soon realized we were next to an English-speaking tour so we secretly tagged along. It was really interesting to see how these people lived, and simple things like where they cooked or poured wine. But to be completely honest, while walking down what seemed to be an endless staircase where you have to duck to not hit the ceiling, I started panicking from claustrophobia and turned around. I crawled back up the steps and finally found a landing to catch my breath… as well as a Greek woman who was in the same condition as I was! We made it to the top together, through more tiny tunnels and waited for our partners at the top. WTF?! I was able to fly in a hot air balloon but not go through a tunnel??