The alarm seemed to have rang forever before I could finally bring myself to shut it off. The morning hadn’t quite started yet in Cappadocia, the street outside my window still dark, the land still silent. This trip to Turkey had definitely worn me out, so getting up this early was definitely a challenge. Finally, I reached over to the bedside table and grabbed my phone, looking at the time.
4:48. Oh, crap, I’m running late.
I jumped out of bed in the cool Cappadocia air and put on layers of warm clothing. I forgot about my fear of heights as I excitedly grabbed my camera and winter coat. Today was the day when I would, for the first time in my life, fly in a hot air balloon, hovering over the world-famous landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey. After a few car rides and a delicious breakfast, I finally arrived at the landing area, a few kilometers into the flatland where the balloons take flight. Endless numbers of balloons speckled the fields, all preparing to take off.
Our balloon was just beginning to inflate when we arrived. The men working alongside it looked so small compared to its massive, air-filled fabric. It was almost ocean-like. Inside the ballon, a giant flamethrower of sorts heated the air, eventually lifting the balloon’s fabric off the ground and into the sky. Its pure size blew my mind. Once the balloon had mostly inflated, my small group hopped into the tiny basket, eagerly and nervously at the same time. Our pilot, Halis, guided us on the safety procedures in perfect English, a rare treat in rural Turkey. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel scared, despite the fact that I’m rather terrified of heights.
As he was talking, our feet slowly lifted off the ground, the basket taking full responsibility for supporting our entire flight group. At first, I didn’t notice that we have even taken off, the ride was so gentle and subtle that I could barely feel the movement. It stayed this way the entire morning, the movement of the balloon maintaining its fluidity throughout the entire trip. We flew over Cappadocia’s giant rock formations, the dry, yellow landscape contrasting the deep blue of the early morning sky. The sun had yet to rise as the balloon slowly ascended into the lightening clouds.
It turned out that we chose the best flying day yet this year – barely any wind, not too cold, and not cloudy enough to block the sun’s rays over the horizon. If I thought that Cappadocia was magical before, I definitely wasn’t thinking about what it would look like from above. The fairy chimneys looked like crayons in a crayon box, the rocks like piles of sand in a sandbox. At our highest point, the landscape looked like a never ending painting, the sun’s rays just beginning to stretch above the rocks, greeting us good morning to the sound of the light breeze.
My ride with Cappadocia Voyager Balloons was absolutely incredible, but not something that I can necessarily describe in words. So, instead, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
Thanks to Cappadocia Voyager Balloons for sponsoring our flight! As always, all opinions expressed here are 100% Kay (aka my own).
Have you ever gone on a hot air balloon? Have you ever wanted to? Share your thoughts in the comments!