Thursday, April 9, 2015

Floating through the skies over Cappadocia

When I read in the tour dossier about the opportunity to take a balloon trip in Cappadocia my first reaction was "no".  Not that I was afraid of going in a balloon, on the contrary....I did my first balloon trip in 1982 over the Masai Mara game preserve in Kenya in 1982 and it was so absolutely perfect I didn't think any other balloon trip I did would compare.  I have resisted doing another one until now....

I initially said no when asked if I wanted to take the balloon flight but our tour leader Kiymet talked me into it by saying it was the highlight of most of the group members' trips.  Sold!  I didn't tell any of my family or friends I was doing it as I didn't want anyone to worry or else tell people and then have the flight canceled as of course it's highly dependent on weather conditions.  In fact our first attempt was canceled due to bad weather...however Kiymet worked her magic and we managed to get on the next day due to a group canceling. 

So the following is how I spent my Easter Sunday....we were picked up at 5:45 and taken to the balloon company's offices where we paid, had some coffee and a light breakfast and were handed a sheet with safety instructions on.  Then we were loaded into vans and off we went.  I think we were in more danger on those drives to and from the balloon sites (due to rough roads and fast driving) than we were on the balloon flight.  As we drove we could see a huge number of balloons in the sky - our pilot told us there were about 140 balloons up that morning.  Wow! (I have used that word a lot in these past two weeks...)

As we drove up this is what we saw...

Look awkward getting in the basket? should have seen me...not a pretty sight but I did it in my own unique way

And we were off! 

Pure quiet and peaceful up there...

looking up to the centre of the balloon....

There we are!!! 

Our basket held sixteen people and was divided into quarters,,,can you believe we landed up right on this platform?
Champagne after a balloon ride is traditional but this had a kick to it - pomegranate juice mixed in.  Delish!

And this folks is our balloon all folded away until the next flight....
I absolutely loved the flight despite the rocky beginning and ending due to my knees...damn them) We had to assume a higher squat position for landing and okay I squatted but ended up sliding down still in the squat position  - the pain was excruciating and then trying to get up when you are crowded and have nothing to hang on to....well if you have knee pain you will understand, if not...well just roll your eyes and read on.  Another humiliating moment but maybe this is the wake up call I need to lose weight which would help the knee situation at least a bit....anyway I managed to get up thanks to the others helping me. (and my knees were back to their normal grumpy selves a few minutes later)  Getting out of the basket was not quite as humiliating as getting in....done again in my own unique way.  Now that I've down it twice though I think that's it for me....thirty plus years ago of course getting in and out of the balloon basket was a piece of cake. 
How did it compare to Kenya?  Not even close but still wonderful....I am so glad I did it and if you ever find yourself in Cappadocia, Turkey (and you should) you must do the balloon ride!!!  Thanks again to our awesome leader Kiymet for getting us on the flight. 

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