The 4am wake-up call was worth it once we got down to the take-off point for the hot air balloon ride we bargained for in Cappadocia. I don’t think I ever realized just how big a hot air balloon was when I thought about taking one. These were exceptionally large with more than 30 passengers each per balloon. What a basket!
It was cold, but our internal excitement kept us warm as we waited watching the balloons fill up with blasts of hot air and get placed up right by a team of 4 men each. There must have been more than 60 balloons being assembled in this area this morning, all packed with customers like us eager for a chance to see the stunning city views from 1,200 km above.
Our captain bared a strong resemblance to musician Pete Francis, and spent the first few minutes explaining to us how the balloon works and that we could not predetermine what we would see, it would all be dependent on the way the wind was blowing that day. Valves of hot and cold air determined the height of the balloon and chords running from all sides helped with the minimal amount of direction he could provide.
As we took off the sky was a sea of balloon reminiscent of a jellyfish packed ocean slowly rising together as high as they could go.
As the sun was rising over the mountains it illuminated the rock structures below creating beautiful white, pink and green hues, not apparent from the ground, showing us the striations in the rocks and just how vast this city is. Here are just a few of my favorite shots from the 3 hour ride:
Our champagne toast to our accomplishment as certified Balloon Travelers make it even sweeter.
Wandering around town we went to the last touristic spot we missed the day previously and boy was it different that our past experiences. We were restricted from going inside of many of the buildings, had to pay to enter, then additional prices to see the best frescos, and there were swarms upon swarms of tourists everywhere. We spent as much time as we could stomach before moving on.
We ended our day even more touristy with a show of the Whirling Dervish. It was kind of comical, but often awe-inspiring to watch as they spent minutes whirling with no break in concentration and without falling over. I didn’t quite get the significance and it was not entertaining as I had hoped. The first 30 minutes included just music and singing, I was waiting for it to being, but when it did I wasn’t sure I have hoped for the right thing.
Postpartum syrup was offered afterward to taste, a very sweet, syrupy drink. I’m not sure where the name comes from and I’m not sure I want to know. We capped off the night with a small dinner and some drinks. Another very interesting day in Turkey, but our journey was slowly coming to an end. We would say goodbye to Cappadocia in the morning.