Somewhere we read that the two best places for viewing from a hot air balloon are Cappadocia in Turkey and the great migration of animals in Africa. We were in Cappadocia for four days with our cousins. Here was our chance. It was now or never!
We had a reliable recommendation to go with Kapadokya Balloons, but we hesitated. The cost is high and we’d never spent close to this much money on any activity – ever. Should we do it? Also, we’d be getting up really, really early. What if the winds and weather were bad? How safe is this anyway? One by one we dispelled our doubts and decided to go for it, and ARE WE GLAD WE DID!
Our hot air balloon held nine people: the pilot, 4 young Japanese tourists and the 4 of us. A safety briefing came first on how to land, and, then, in an instant, we’re off the ground. Wow!
The balloon easily climbed to drift over the rocky hills and seemed to effortlessly jump over a tree and rocky crag or two. (Actually, our pilot’s skilled efforts made it all possible.) Up we went over fairy chimneys, and soon we looked over an ancient cave church that we’d visited a few days earlier. The overcast sky and the very still air made for perfect photography conditions. The only sounds we heard were birds chirping and the occasional whooshing of the propane flames heating the air in the balloon.
We marveled at the early morning sky filled with hot air balloons. At first there were a handful of balloons, and later we counted at least 80 of all colors drifting across the sky.
Too soon it was over, and our pilot started a very slow descent. We prepared to land and to our utter amazement the skillful pilot, with his ground team, eased the basket not on to the open ground but right on to the back of a flatbed trailer. It was such a smooth landing we hardly knew we were actually down. Total flight time? About an hour and fifteen minutes.
Champagne with cherry juice, cake, and some playing in the folds of the deflating balloon marked the successful end to our first hot air balloon ride! The expense was worth the experience, and the risks we imagined were, in our experience, just that: imaginary.