One of the highlights when visiting Turkey is experiencing beautiful Cappadocia. One of the best ways to see it? In a hot air balloon. Our Flightie Chad Jackson did just that on his recent trip to Turkey with On the Go tours and he shares his experience with us:
A 5am wake up call, a wicker basket, and a giant balloon. This was a morning like no other; a morning spent 700 meters in the air. I recently took a trip to Turkey with On the Go Tours– to a place called Cappadocia. It resembles the Stone Age, something out of the Flintstones. Most homes and hotels are carved out of rock and look like caves and ancient cities.
One of the many highlights, and one that draws so many people year round to Cappadocia is Hot Air Ballooning. Everyday approximately 60 balloons covered in rainbow strips, Turkish flags and a giant Efes (Turkey’s Beer) take to the sky. Visitors can watch the sunrise over this prehistoric city from their soaring balloon.
At 5am in November, the temperature was a frigid -3 outside. I layered on the warmth: wrapped my scarf tightly around my neck, slipped on my boots and ventured into the dark morning. We arrived at the site and huge baskets perched on the ground were anxious for take-off. The sound of fire pumping air into huge nylon cavities awakened my excitement.
Our pilot, a Turkish man named Nashir and the rest of his team greeted us. The hot air balloons were made up of four individual baskets that hold approximately five to six passengers. As our balloon inflated to its enormous full size, we got a quick rundown of our landing procedure. The next thing I knew, we were 20 feet off the ground and climbing.
I’m not terribly good with heights and 700m in the air is extremely nerve racking. The only comfort is that the ride itself is extremely calm and slow. At some points I wondered if we were even moving anymore. As we reached our highest altitude we begun a slow drift across the peaks and landscape that make up ‘Pigeon Valley” and “Rose Valley.” As we reached each valley we descended low to coast from above. We slowly crept up the other side of the valley wall and returned to the open sky under the skill and precision of our pilot, Nashir.
Our total flying time was just under an hour and as we came in for a landing Nashir yelled, “break!” and we all quickly got into the landing position. This means crouching low in the basket and leaning backwards. When we touched the ground, the Balloon rose again. It seemed like we’re about to take off. Nashir’s team jumped onto the side of the balloon to anchor it down. I was safely on the ground again, but wow, what a view!
If you’ve ever wanted to go hot air ballooning, Cappadocia is definitely the place to do it!
Cappadocia, Turkey is highlighted on the Flight Centre Map