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