Location: Göreme, Turkey
The rude morning call
Today was the day of our hot air ballon ride. For me, it’d probably be the highlight of the trip to Cappadocia because HOT AIR BALLOON needs no reason.
I set my alarm for 4:20 am since our itinerary said our balloon tour was from 5:00 am.
About 2 minutes after I woke up, there was rude, loud banging at our door. Someone yelled that we need to come out.
It was a little disorienting but I figured that it was the hot air balloon company person. I shouted to the closed door, “We’ll get ready and be out.”
“I’ll come back in 10 minutes. Be ready in 5 minutes,” the man shouted back.
The shuttle bus didn’t come until after about 15 minutes. Even when on the bus, the driver asked, “What time did your tour company tell you?”
“5:00 am,” I said.
“We told them 4. Next time, we’ll just leave without you,” he said and continued complaining about how we made the others wait.
What on earth was that for?
Thankfully, that was the only bad part to the morning. The rest of the trip was FANTASTIC.
Small meal before the voyage
The hot air balloon company that our travel agent signed us up for was Rainbow Balloons. (That’s Rainbow Balloons, by the way, in the color of the rainbow.)
Before the trip, we were brought to Rainbow’s HQ for a small meal. At 5:00am, there wasn’t much that I could eat but I did nibble on a cookie and drank some of the coffee.
Every one was divided into groups based on who their pilot was. Our was Arturo.
A very friendly Australian girl was at our table. Through her, I learned about the “Green Tour” in Cappadocia which brings people to an underground palace. (I later found out that mom and I will be going on a similar tour on Wednesday.)
After our meal, we were shuttled to the site where the hot air balloons. Along the way, we didn’t see much hot air balloons that were up in the air.
When we reached our spot, I was pleased to find that the balloons for Rainbow Balloons were the prettiest since they had a stripe with the colors of the rainbow spiralling up the white canvas.
Our balloon was hot and ready for us. Instead of having to wait for our pilot to get the balloon pumped up, the balloon was already in the air when we reached.
Everyone climbed into the basket which was divided into 5 sections. In the middle, there was a narrow section where the pilot and air traffic control person stood. On both sides of the narrow section, there were two baskets, each with a maximum of 5 passengers.
When everyone was in, we were ready for take off. The pilot switched on his gigantic bunsen burner and we lifted slowly.
It was still a little dark when we started flying. I peered at the ground and felt that it was pushing away from us.
Soon we were mid-air and it was amazing to see the place from the top. Cappadocia has many funny rock formations and cave houses. Our pilot gave us a guided tour while we floated along.
Even more amazing was the view of tens of hot air balloons floating around:
The best ending to a tour
Our flight was about an hour but I got restless halfway during the tour. We finally landed in a patch of grass far away from where we began.
The landing was a little difficult since mom and I had to share one rope for the Landing Position. We did manage to land safely so that was good enough, I suppose.
At the end of the tour, we celebrated our landing with a glass of champagne mixed with cherry juice. I depleted my champagne mix so fast that my refill was pure sparkling wine. Yummy!
Every tour should end with glasses of Champagne. Seriously.
PS We spent the rest of the day walking in the town for half an hour before retreating to our room for a lot of reading. This is life!