One of the famous things to do in Cappadocia is a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Christine and I had high expectations for this excursion and we can honestly say that those expectations were exceeded. It was really a magical experience. We had to get up at 4am on the day of the ride (which isn’t as bad as it sounds since we have generally been woken up at around 5am each day in Turkey from the muslim prayers that are blasted through the loudspeakers on the miniarets). After a bit of admin to pay and get sorted into groups we then were transported to the site where the balloons took off from. It was still dark at the time we arrived so seeing these massive balloons glowing as they were getting heated up was quite stunning.
With little ado, we then jumped into the basket of our balloon. There basket was divided into 5 sections. One for the “driver” and 4 other sections that fitted 4 people each. Our driver quickly explained what we should do for landing while he periodically released hot air into the balloon. Shortly after, we felt the balloon start to move, and then when we looked down we saw we were no longer on the ground but a few inches up. And then, very smoothly, we lifted up, up and up. Before long we were 700 metres up in the sky! I’ve done hot air ballooning once before in Melbourne (which I loved), but I have to say that this experience was a whole lot more special.
First of all, there are probably 50 or so hot air balloons that take off every morning, so the air is littered with all of these balloons. It is just breathtaking to see. I actually said to Christine at one point that I thought we’d been transported back to Tomorrowland because it had that similar Alice in Wonderland kind of magical feeling.
The other reason this hot air balloon experience was so special was because of the landscape. Cappadocia, with its other-worldly rock formations and cave homes is a truly incredible place to experience from the ground, and even more incredible from the air.
The ride went for a little over an hour before we softly touched down in a small field. We toasted the experience with a glass of bubbly (apple cider) and then were shuttled back to our hotels where we were able to get a quick nap in before getting on with the rest of the day.
If you’re ever in Cappadocia, I highly recommend doing the hot air ballooning. It’s magical.