Up, Up and Away!

One of the big draws of Cappadocia is the mystical landscape.  And what better way to view it than from above in a hot air balloon.  Now, I hate to fly.  Hate it.  So the idea of going on a hot air balloon slightly terrified me.  But at the same time, I was the one pushing for us to do it as well as it’s always been something I wanted to try despite my fears.  

We booked our flight for our first morning – painful since we’d been up at 4:15 the day before to fly to Cappadocia and now once again long before the dawn.  But it was worth it.  We arranged our balloon ride through our hotel’s sister company – Royal Balloon.  They picked us up at our hotel and everything was incredibly well organized.

After a quick breakfast, we all took off in our various vans to the launching point. Arriving at the launch was something I don’t even know how to describe – balloon after balloon after balloon laying on the ground being inflated.  One or two were on the verge of taking off when we arrived – and it was still dark out!

Balloons almost ready to take off!

Balloons almost ready to take off!

There they go! And I just happened to catch them both lighting their flames at the same time!

There they go! And I just happened to catch them both lighting their flames at the same time!

Another one takes off!

Another one takes off!

The boys near our balloon (left)

The boys near our balloon (left)

The balloon next to ours being inflated

The balloon next to ours being inflated

Excited and ready to go!

Excited and ready to go!

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It didn’t take long for our balloon to be ready and the group of us hopped in.  Our balloon could hold 15 people but to be honest, I don’t know if we had 15 or less.  The basket is broken down into compartments which is smart so you don’t have everyone running to one side to check out a view and throwing us off balance!

Our group in the balloon - ready to go!

Our group in the balloon – ready to go!

The pilot is in his own compartment in the center.  Our pilot happened to be the chief pilot of Royal Balloon and had over 20 years of experience.  He was witty and easy to talk to.  He told us that when he first started flying there were 4 balloons and if all 4 were flying on the same day, the sky seemed crowded.  Now, there are over 100.  Imagine that!  Part of me thinks it would be amazing to be the only ones in the sky above Cappadocia as the sun rises. But the other part of me thought part of the magic comes from having all of those beautiful balloons along side you during the experience!

Getting ready to take off

Getting ready to take off

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Our take off was seamless.  We just started to float upwards, so very slowly.  There was no turbulence and the whole thing was incredibly smooth.  You barely felt like you were even moving if it weren’t for the ground below (I tried not to look there!). Maybe we had a lucky day or maybe this is what it’s always like, but if this is normal, why don’t more people do it???  I haven’t got a clue!

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Below these balloons you can see some of the caves

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Caves and fairy chimneys below

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We got right up close to these peaks!

Fairy chimneys below (more on those to come in another entry)

Fairy chimneys below (more on those to come in another entry)

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Sunrise

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The whole experience was very surreal.  Floating over fairy chimneys and caves that have been around for centuries.  Gliding alongside the mountain’s edge and then just when you think you are going to hit the side, suddenly turning upward towards the sky.  The balloon turned naturally and we were able to watch all the balloons and scenery around us from all directions.  Seeing the sun rise over the horizon with a hundred balloons in the air around you – priceless.  This balloon ride alone – it made the trip to Cappadocia worth it a million times over.

We landed literally on the back of the truck.  How talented is that?  But we weren’t done.  Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and cookies were still to come along with some cake to celebrate a wedding and a birthday.  We were back at our hotel by 9:30 – exhausted but exhilarated!

Our champagne and snacks await! Our pilot making a speech.

Our champagne and snacks await! Our pilot making a speech.

Balloons all starting to land around us

Balloons all starting to land around us

After the balloon ride

After the balloon ride

Champagne (not for them!) toast!

Champagne (not for them!) toast!

Through the excitement of it all, I totally forgot to be nervous!  And in the end, there was no reason to be.  My only regret – that I hadn’t done it sooner!  This was the experience of a lifetime and I wish I hadn’t waited til I was 40 to do it.  But I guess this being the year of 40, what better time to knock it off my bucket list.  I can’t wait to see what’s next!

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

PS – Check out this other great blogs from some fellow expats!  Click below!

Expat Life Linky

15 thoughts on “Up, Up and Away!

    • When the guide first started, he said there were 4 balloons, now over 100. I debate which I would prefer more. I think it would be more serene to do what you had with just 3 balloons. But at the same time, I loved the sky filled with them too!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What an amazing experience! We went to Cappadocia twice while we lived in Turkey, but skipped the balloons because of the high cost. Now I’m kicking myself for not doing it. Jealous! 😉

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  2. What an amazing experience! We went to Cappadocia twice while we lived in Turkey, but skipped the balloons bc of the high cost. Now I’m kicking myself for not doing it! Jealous! 😉

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  3. Looks like you had an amazing experience and the photos are great. It was years ago when we were last in Cappadocia and there was only a couple of balloon companies back then. Hoping to return soon to see what’s changed – a sky full of balloons, it looks like 🙂 – but not sure I’m brave enough to actually do the trip. 🙂
    Julia

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    • Julia, I just checked out your blog – LOVE it! Looks like Turkey got under your skin for sure! We went to Cappadocia at the end of the season which I really loved – it was still nice weather but most of the tourists were gone. And yet, still 100 balloons in the air!! I am sure we’ll be back to Turkey again some day!

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  4. Thank you Julie! Your post gave me the courage to try this (I’m afraid of flying!) and was so reassuring and positive. And you were completely right, it was magnificent. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Xx

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    • Yay! I’m so glad! It was something I was terrified to do and yet, always had wanted to do. And the only regret I have is that I hadn’t done it sooner, but what better way to go up in a balloon the first time than in Cappadocia right? I just saw your post on Turkey – I look forward to seeing the one on Cappadocia!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post is really inspiring. I’ve always sworn I’ll never go up in a hot air balloon because of my wild fear of heights (plus the idea of fire inside a balloon…), but your experience makes a lot more sense to me! Thank for the beautiful photos and descriptions. Great to find you on the #ExpatLifeLinky!

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    • You could do it! One of the most important things I’ve learned since being an expat is that really, there are no boundaries – only what we allow! I just took a look at your blog and it looks like you are totally the adventurous type! Don’t let your fear stand in your way!

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  6. Pingback: 2 Years in the Netherlands | The Expat Chronicles

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