Merhaba ! My name is Hamza Souktani I’m a second year Business Administration student from Morocco who joined AGU in 2015. That makes me one of the luckiest and first international students to join the AGU adventure!
I’m writing today to tell you about the most fascinating trip of my life! It took me to one of the most enchanting places on earth, the Cappadocia Region, where my friends and I spent the night in one of the region’s beautiful valleys. It was such an exciting and enriching experience!
The story goes like this:
First of all, good preparation is the most crucial part of a successful trip:
The most important items to bring along are: sunglasses, cool hats, a bag …… and friends !
That’s one from Pakistan (Fuad, read from him here). Well, maybe some more …
Now, some food and drinks…
All right…and now we need some basic skills in thumb-raising for a perfect hitchhiking experience.
With some patience, you find a car and the journey can start. As we were a big group of people that day, we had to divide us into four smaller groups of three people. We got a bit unlucky and were the last group to get a lift.
All groups got into cars and hit the road taking us to Kızıl Vadisi (Red Valley) located in Cappadocia, a forty-minute ride away from our university.
Bad luck was following us that day ! Not only were we the last group to find a driver but were also the group that took most time and used the larger amount of cars to reach the final destination (we changed cars five times!). Part of the journey’s charm was to discuss and learn new things from each and every person who were kind enough to take us into their cars 🙂
Since we were the last group to arrive, all our friends had already gone into the valley without waiting for us. No telephone network was working and there was therefore no way to reach them. As a result, we decided to start our hike with a ten minutes trek. I got very tired climbing up a high peak but after reaching the top… the view left me speechless!
Later on, we managed to find our friends and started to look for a good spot to set our tents up for the night.
We can be proud of the final result.
Once the camp set-up, we then walked around to discover the place and climbed up to some high points of the valley.
The next challenge was to try to start a fire in a windy evening…it wasn’t an easy job !
But the real breathtaking part of the evening was the sunset. We just felt so relaxed watching the sun going all the way down to finally disappear below the triangular rocks of the valley.
From that point onward, the evening started to get more and more enjoyable as we all gathered around the fire to share our feeling about the day and sing some good songs all together (how can a camping evening be perfect without singing!)
After all those efforts it was time for FOOOOOOOD ! Yeah I’m sure I was the only one to enjoy it that much (it can stay our little secret … )
Ahhh one more thing…. roasted marshmallows ! 😛
I then experienced one of my greatest food experiences. Roasted marshmallows were the things I always wanted to try since childhood.
After this agitated day and short night of sleep, we woke up to the sound of the flying balloons in the early morning. They were all across the sky ! It was very enjoyable to observe the sun rising over the valley with the sky full of hot air balloons flying high.
While we were enjoying our Cappadocia night out, the University was organizing the “Orientation/Welcome program” of the new international students that were joining AGU this year. They were actually also visiting Cappadocia on that day and we were planning to join them for their visit. With that in mind, we started walking to the closest city called Göreme (several kms away).
We took the photo above on our way to the city. At that funny moment, we really felt that we could not see the start or the end of this long way.
After reaching the city we took a delicious traditional Turkish breakfast in one of Göreme’s good restaurants.
After this well-deserved breakfast, we joined the rest of the international students group for the end of their great “Orientation Program”.
I won’t talk here about the “Orientation Program” offered by AGU every year as I don’t want to ruin the great surprise…I let you discover it for yourselves but can already tell you that it is a lot of fun!
This is how this incredible trip to Cappadocia ended, an experience filled with laughter, beautiful sceneries, adventurous hikes, good food, and great friends!
If you are interested in knowing more about the Cappadocia region, my University, my trip, etc. feel free to contact me on my email: firstname.lastname@example.org