We took a barely-more-than-an-hour flight from Istanbul out to Cappadocia and stayed in Goreme for 3 nights to fulfill a dream: take a hot air balloon ride.
And it was everything we dreamed it would be.
We stayed in a traditional cave hotel and had a fire in the fireplace to keep warm. Views from the restaurant were fantastic.
The next morning, we were up early for the van pick-up from the balloon company. We had to wait in the van since the transportation authority put a 30-minute hold on flights, due to weather.
Then, we were off to the site where the balloon was being prepared. Once it was ready, the 12 people in our group climbed into the basket with the 2 pilots, and we gently, barely noticeably left the ground.
There were even couples getting engaged and married with the balloons as the backdrop for their photos.
And now, I’ll leave you with the photos of our magical 1-hour flight.
From talking to people around town, there are normally 300-ish balloons flying on a given day. We had about 30. 10% of normal, due to massive reductions in tourism. Because of that, the tickets were much cheaper. Instead of $150 or more per person, we paid $75. Then, the company dropped the price to $60 (but wouldn’t let me have the new price, of course). Some agencies were booking for $50 if you showed up last-minute with cash in hand. Crazy.
We were supposed to have breakfast included after the flight, but that didn’t happen. Our balloon company seemed really disorganized about pretty much everything. As we were landing, 2 guys said they were late for a flight home and needed to get to the airport, due to the delayed start time. Maybe that’s why we didn’t have breakfast, but I also saw 0 signs the company had brought anything in the van…
The balloon landed directly on the trailer, making things pretty easy. We jumped out and were on our way.
Back at the hotel, we took a nap.
That evening, we walked around the town, which doesn’t have a lot to offer. Most of the stuff “to do” in the area is outside the town and requires a tour.
We did meet some nice street dogs though, and it’s really cool how people just let the street dogs and street cats be. No one tries to hit them or poison them. People even leave out blankets and food and water, people pet them (like us). And since it was really cold in the evenings, restaurants had fires outside while you waited for your take-away order.
The next morning, we got up at the time the balloons were flying to get some pictures of a few that passed over our hotel.
That afternoon, we walked around a bit without a real plan before our late night flight back to Istanbul.
We really liked our visit to Goreme in Cappadocia. The town isn’t that interesting in itself, but the hot air balloon experience is something we won’t forget.This entry was posted in asia, Cappadocia, Goreme, Turkey