If you’re anything like me, you’re not a morning person. You struggle to wake up, especially when it is still dark outside. If that’s the case, you definitely won’t like the idea of being picked up at 4:30 am to go on the Balloon Ride! The pick up time and the cost initially made me hesitant to book, but then I decided that you only live once, and when was I going to get this opportunity again?? So we booked our hot air balloon tour through our hotel – the Kelebek Special Cave Hotel – and dragged our butts out of bed before the sun to go on the ride.
Our tour was with Goreme Balloons, and they came to pick us up right from our hotel. It was still dark out, and I found myself coming close to falling asleep sitting on the bench while we waited for the bus to come and get us. I felt like I was in a trance until we watched them start to turn on the flames to get the balloons inflated and the baskets right-side-up, and the excitement started to wake me up!
Some of the other balloons were starting to take off, and we were really starting to get excited! When our basket was righted, we climbed in…. a tip for my female readers: don’t wear a skirt or dress when you’re going on the balloon ride! It makes it much harder to climb over the edge of the basket. I wish someone had told A and I that before we went! I hadn’t even thought about how you get in or out of the basket! At least my dress was long enough and loose enough to climb in without anyone seeing up my dress, but still it felt awkward climbing in & out! But we made it into the basket, which was more crowded than I had expected, and very slowly, the heat started to accumulate in the balloon and we started to lift ever so slightly off of the ground.
As we started to rise, higher and higher, it was starting to get a little lighter out. The sun had not made its appearance over the horizon yet, but the sky was slowly starting to get brighter. And filling up with more and more hot-air balloons. Now, I will say that, as beautiful as the sky looked, filled up with colorful balloons of all different patterns & styles, I was a bit disappointed at how touristy and commercial this activity was. How could something I had no idea about until we arrived there be this popular?? I guess I’m late to this party!! And I’m glad it isn’t even more widely known, because if it were, imagine how many more balloons there would have been!! There wouldn’t have been much empty sky left at all, and maybe crashes like the one that happened here just slightly less than a year after my visit would happen more frequently, and nobody wants that.
The ride itself was smooth, quiet, and calm. A and I had both put on a Transderm Scop patch behind our ears. I use these regularly for when I will be getting onto a boat, and A wasn’t sure how she would respond to the hot air balloon and decided to try one. We were in the balloon for a while, enjoying the ride, and I noticed A’s patch was folded over in part, so she wasn’t getting the full dose of the medication. She decided that she didn’t need it, as the ride was smooth and calm, so she took it off, and we continued on our journey.
As the sun started to come up, the view kept getting better and better. Every time you thought you had seen the nicest view or gotten the best picture, you’d turn your head and see something else that would just take your breath away. We rose up high, then came back down closer to the rocks and trees – just to keep things interesting, I guess! I was amazed at how the pilot was able to change our altitude and catch the wind just right to move us this way and that.
After a particularly nice up & down bit, I looked over at A. She had her arms on the edge of the basket and her head was down. Hmmmm…. was she not enjoying the ride? I nudged her and she lifted her head to tell me that she wasn’t feeling so good, and maybe she shouldn’t have taken off the patch. I got a bit worried, because she was looking just about as gray as her dress…. She put her head back down a little bit, and assured me that she would be OK. I continued to watch the scenery, and snap a ridiculous number of pictures as the sky turned more and more blue. What a beautiful landscape, and beautiful colors!!
As we started to head back out over the town, I was still snapping pictures and turning to check on A from time to time. She still wasn’t feeling great, and was thinking that it might be that she hadn’t had much to eat yet, so maybe it was her blood sugar. She had just lifted her head back up for a little bit when she suddenly fainted and crumpled onto the floor of the basket in between people’s feet! I got a pretty big scare, but the basket was too full of people for me to even really be able
to squat down next to her because of the way that she had fallen. Luckily, there was a woman near her with a nursing background, who had a bottle of water. She passed the water down to A and we all told A to stay put on the floor of the basket instead of trying to rise to her feet again. A was all too happy to oblige us, and remained seated on the floor, looking a little confused about how she came to be there, for the remainder
of the ride, which was mercifully not much longer. I felt so helpless! There is really very little that you can do in that situation!! Thankfully, we were on the ground soon, and as soon as we were down, we all helped A get out of the basket, and she was lifted out by one of the men who worked for the Goreme Balloon company. They gave her some juice and put her onto the air-conditioned bus, while the rest of us remained in the basket while they wrangled the basket onto the back of a trailer that would be hitched onto the back of our bus to go back. A waited for us on the bus, while the pilot and his crew handed out participation certificates and mimosas to the passengers. Much to A’s delight, our ride was over, and it was time to get back to the hotel. We arrived back at the Kelebek, in time to see some of the balloons that were still in the air coming down near our hotel. We got some breakfast food and some juice into A, and in no time, she was feeling totally fine again. Maybe it was just blood sugar. Or dehydration. Who knows! Regardless, we were both relieved when she started to feel better!!
After balloon ride, A went to relax and take a nap for a while. I had gone to a store the day before to get some beautiful hand-made crochet style necklaces & other jewelry, at a little place that was run by women. It was a small craft shop, and I liked the idea of buying gifts for women from women, especially in a Muslim country, where women don’t always have the same opportunities to have their own businesses as men. I found the jewelry here very different from what I find back home, and pretty inexpensive, so I bought a few for myself, and some others as gifts. They didn’t have one style I liked in a color I wanted the first day, so after the balloon ride, I headed back to pick one up as they had made one for me overnight. I went back just in time to get my items before we had to get our ride back to the airport to go home. Luckily, by the time we got on the plane, A was back to 100% and had no problems on the ride back to Athens, where we would spend a night at the airport hotel before heading back home.
I left Cappadocia the way I prefer to leave a new city: still wanting more. My motto when travelling? Always leave something for the next trip. Taking that approach prevents you from over-extending yourself, trying to see EVERYTHING on your first visit somewhere. It allows you to take a much more relaxed approach to travel, and to really enjoy and savor your visits. As for Cappadocia? I want to see a lot more. I can’t wait to make a return trip someday. I don’t know when that will be, but I know that if all goes according to plan, someday it will happen. Until that day, Cappadocia, I’ll remember you fondly!
With love and affection,