One of the most memorable things I have done on my travels with Imaginative Traveller is to go on a hot air balloon ride over Cappadocia in Turkey. For me, it was an absolute highlight of my trip, even though the alarm clock had to be set for 4.15am! Trust me, it was well worth it!
Cappadocia really is one of the most bizarre landscapes I have ever seen. It was formed about 40 million years ago when volcanic eruptions covered the area with light rock called tufa. This has been eroded over time to create some wonderfully surreal rock formations, my favourite being the ‘fairy chimneys’. What is really cool is that they were previously used as dwellings and you can get lost in the underground tunnels. Not for the claustrophobic! People mostly spend their time wandering through Cappadocia on foot but for me the best perspective was from the air.
We were picked up from the hotel at 4.30am and after registering, we were taken by mini bus to the launch site. I watched in amazement as the massive balloons were inflated. We were split in to two groups and there were 10 people in our balloon’s basket, plus the pilot. We had a safety briefing and then were ready to go. I was so excited as I felt our balloon gently lift in to the air - it felt like it was my birthday (I am 30 and still get excited about my birthday)! We could hear a very British voice (the other balloon pilot) on the walkie talkie. He was advising us of the current wind speed and direction. Both balloons went higher in to the sky and we could finally see the vastness of the area below. For well over an hour we would rise and fall in between the rock formations. I loved the sight of other balloons floating around in the air and enjoyed taking numerous photos of the rocks below. I am so glad that I had a digital camera as I am positive I took more than two hundred photos. To be fair, sometimes I can take over a hundred photos on a night out at the pub!
Hot air ballooning is so peaceful. Apart from the roar of the fire from the gas cylinder sporadically being set off to help us rise, it is wonderfully silent. Everyone was lost in the experience and you would occasionally hear some ‘wows’ and then silence again. Our pilot did an amazing job and brought us back to earth with a very gentle bump.
We got out of the basket and were all given a glass of sparkling wine. This is apparently traditional after your voyage.
I have been told that it is one of the best value commercial hot air balloon flights that you will ever get the opportunity to do, so my advice, do not miss it!
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