The Real World – More Fantastic Than The Dream

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The Real World - More Fantastic Than The Dream

One of my inspirations for travel is the chance of finding yet another place on this great planet that will blow my mind. In a good way, of course. And it really isn’t all that hard to find these places. Some are man-made, and Ray Bradbury might take issue with it, but I don’t. I think his quote is more about finding those fantastical places and things that are real and not crafted for a movie set, or composited in a Photoshop masterpiece.

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“See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” ~ Ray Bradbury

There are lists of such places that can, and should, be visited by everyone.

The list could go on and on, and everyone has their favorites. For me, Cappadocia is the top of the list for truly feeling otherworldly.

Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon

One of the best ways to experience Cappadocia is in a hot air ballon

Cappadocia – A Fantasy Setting

When I first drove to Cappadocia, in central Turkey, I was expecting to enter a fantasy world of sorts but I didn’t really know what I’d find. Certainly, many of the gaudy and ugly roadside constructions advertising this hotel or that tourist attraction weighed heavily on my expectations. These are some of the ugliest poured concrete monstrosities you can imagine; all stylized to resemble the fairy chimneys and cave churches. They fail miserably, thankfully.

As you enter the region from the south you drive through Uchisar and get a chance to be up close and personal with these crazy geological structures. These unique formations are the result of a series of prehistoric volcanic eruptions that covered the area and filled in the existing valleys and gulleys with ash and other mineral deposits. This eventually turned into a soft porous rock known as tuff and it is this material that has eroded, leaving behind the unimaginable towers, ripples, and ribbons of rock we see today.

I can spend days in Cappadocia, exploring Goreme, trekking through the Rose Valley, climbing in and through the sprawling underground cities that have been carved deep underground, or just sitting and watching the sunset over one of the most fantastical places on earth.

What is the most fantastic place you’ve been?


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The Real World - More Fantastic Than The Dream


  1. Cappadocia looks so magical. It’s one of those places I imagine you need several days to explore and enjoy. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos.. I’m not sure when I will get there but I will one day

  2. That’s a really tough one but I think the most fantastic or mind blowing place I’ve been is the North Shore of the island of Kaui and the Na Pali Coast. It was just so different than where I’ve lived or grown-up or anywhere I’d seen. Always looking for that fantastic place!

  3. So many amazing places in the world – Grand Canyon, temples in Cambodia, Great Pyramids, beautiful beach sunsets in Hawaii, castles of Scotland. We haven’t been to Cappadocia yet, but we been invited to go to Istanbul and Cappadocia in the fall so we may be there in November. Laurence is obviously excited to go and photograph the area:)

  4. Thanks for including a destination from my country (Singapore) here! I’ve heard amazing things about Cappadocia and would love to visit it one day and ride in a hot air balloon. I’d also love to visit Socotra in Yemen – that place looks truly otherworldly! Unfortunately, due to the current situation in Yemen, I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon.

  5. I didn’t grow up around people who traveled. going to exotic places to see famous things was something other more exotic people did, like Indiana Jones. But in college I got to take a student trip to Greece where we visited the Parthenon and Delphi and other famous ruins. And it was such an epiphany to me. If i could travel here and see these amazing famous old structures, then why couldn’t I travel anywhere? Why not see the Louvre or Big Ben or the Pyramids or Machu Picchu? In retrospect it was quite a life-changing trip.

  6. For me it is difficult to answer your question. I have been to so many fantastic places that it is hard to chose a favorite. What I can say is that sometimes, in search of those places, you find some that are 10 times more fantastic than the ones you were looking initially. I once went to Oaxaca for the food and history and ended up being in love with the natural beauty of the region (they have petrified waterfalls). Or, when I went to Yosemite, I was blown away by the beauty of the valley but was not expecting to be in awe when I saw some places in the high country.

  7. Oh my, that picture of Cappadocia is amazing, the hot air balloons give it a magical feeling. The most fantastic place (where I have yet to go) would have to be Petra, Jordan. I was glad to see it on your list.

  8. We love places which are ’empty’ – that means unfortunately also that they can’t be famous like Machu Picchu, although we’d like Machu Picchu if we could visit it very early in the morning on our own peril. It’s not so easy anymore to find vast space, wilderness and wildlife. We’d add Scottish Highlands and Kruger National Park in South Africa to your list.

  9. What a great quote, Jim! I totally agree with it and with your list of fantastic must-see places in the world. There is so much more to add to it, but I’d be happy if I could brag about visiting everything you have listed there. Cappadocia is one of the destinations I would like to add to my list, but I wonder how safe it is to travel to that area now.

    1. Thanks Anda, we’re always looking for new places to add to that list. I think Cappadocia is safe, and there’s probably some good deals there right now.

  10. I do agree with your list and I have seen most of these places, except I never got to Cappadocia when we travelled to Turkey in 2012. I think the Bungle Bungles in The Kimberley Western Australia would be up there with some of the best. Also Milford Sound in New Zealand was also pretty fabulous.

  11. I agree that Gardens by the Bay does seem very other-worldly. I would love to visit Cappadocia one day, although I’m too much of a chicken to go up in a hot air balloon. Where do you find all these quotes? I always enjoy them so much.

    1. Cappadocia is amazing Michele. Some quotes we have from reading, others we get from various quote websites after deciding on a theme for that weekend inspiration. Then it’s just a matter of choosing one of our photos and doing a little work in canva. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying them!

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