Thursday, September 15th, 2016:
4.30 am – That’s how early the day started for me. I had to get up in the early and cool hours of the morning to get ready for my balloon flight. I should be picked up at 5 am in front of the hotel and then they brought us to the balloon base where the payment would take place and a breakfast was served. The breakfast room slowly filled up with many people from all over the world.
The breakfast was light with some sweet pastry and fruits, and coffee and juice for drinks. I finished quickly and couldn’t wait to finally go.
At around 6 we were supposed to get into the mini busses. After an approximately 10 minutes ride, we arrived at the place where all the balloons were blown up with fire. It looked magnificent with the bright warmth of the fire against the dark dawn of the morning.
For your information, I booked my flight via Butterfly Balloons. It is not as expensive as Voyager or Royal, but it offers everything that the other companies do as well. It was 100€ as opposed to 180€ or more from other companies. I booked the one for 16 people. There are 4 squares in one basket and there are 4 people in each square. It gets a bit stuffy, but it is fun getting to know all the people after landing.
We took flight before dawn, at abou 6.20 am. the flight lasts for one hour. Watching the sunset from atop the balloon was one of the most unbelievable things I have seen and done, especially against a moon-like fairytale landscape like the one in Cappadocia makes you immediately feel like living on a different planet.
I also took some photos, although they can never do justice to the real picture you get.
After landing, we had a champagne celebration with strawberries and some little cakes. We also got our flight certificates with our names on it :) That was a very nice gesture. I don’t regret any cent I spent for that flight, and I can really recommend anyone to take a balloon flight anywhere, especially in a place like Cappadocia.
Selfie with the pilot and the table with the refreshments
Group picture with our certificates
We were allowed to walk on the balloon after landing :D
After chatting with the other people and our pilot who was very nice and had a fun sense of humour, we were dropped off in front of our hostels again. It was only about 8 am. I had my second breakfast at the hotel and relaxed a bit before going for the next sight.
We wanted to go to the Göreme Open Air National Park. It is a good place to start when you want to admire the different stone formations and also wanna go inside some of the ancient caves that christians used to live in. It can be very interesting at the beginning, but I wouldn’t recommend you to stay there for hours. Göreme has many other sights to offer.
I was feeling very dizzy that morning, and needed another coffee and cake break at the exit of the park. Being sleepless is not a good condition if you wanna explore a place like Cappadocia.
Anyway, after the national park visit we wanted to see some valleys (love valley, red valley, fairy chimneys,…). They are all a part of the red tour as it was explained to us by our hotel receptionist. We asked a taxi driver how to get to the red valley, and he said that it was quite far away, a few kilometres and that we couldn’t walk there. So he offered us a deal: We should pay 50 lira (like 20 €) and he would drive us to all the stations of the red tour. We agreed and he drove us around. It was cheaper than a tour and we had more freedom to stay as long as we wanted, but of course, the background info was missing a bit, although the driver did know quite a few things. However, it was an advantage that we were turkish people. It would at least be 3 times more expensive if you were a foreigner.
Here are some pictures of the 3 stops we visited:
I would recommend the fairy chimney park that you can see on the last 3 pictures. You can walk around those huge stone formations and climb inside some of those.
After our tour, the driver also took us to a ceramic shop and then to a carpet shop. The latter one is way too expensive so we only had a short look. At the ceramic shop you can also find some cheaper pieces, as well as some expensive stuff. Everything is handmade and so beautifully delicate. Here are some snapshots:
When we returned to the hotel, the weather started to get a bit gloomy. Actually, we weren’t finished yet, we still wanted to see Uchisar Castle but we had to take a bus there, and by the time we arrived there, it had started to rain. It was also a bit cold, so it was quite gloomy, and the pictures didn’t turn out very well:
Looks like a face :’D
On top of the Castle, we could have a view over the vast little town of Uchisar.
Uchisar Castle was not as interesting as I had imagined. There are some small rooms you can see, but other than those few ones, it is only going up to the roof.
After exiting the castle, we found some street vendors, selling dried fruits and nuts. we bought a few bags and left to take the bus back to our hotel.
We rested a little bit in our room before heading out for dinner. We found a restaurant that also sold Pide and sat down there. Actually, the taxi driver recommend this and we wanted to try it out. They also had the beef pottery here, but since I had that the other day, I opted for my other favourite dish: Pide
After the meal, we were too tired to even go to another place to have dessert or a coffee. We slowly walked back and fell asleep immediately.
The next day should be our final full day in this beautiful place. It is gonna be full of activities though, so don’t worry :)
Thanks for exploring with me.