May 4, 2006
The clock hit 4:50am and the alarm went off. It was now time to arise from bed to get ready for our splurge in Cappadocia—a
hot-air balloon ride.
My physical condition was taking a backseat to just waking up and getting dressed. Once our shuttle picked us up, I was excited
that the weather was nice out (it was raining the night before). Everything was a quick process and then we headed out to the
field where our balloon was going to be. We opted for the ‘budget’ flight – this was 60-75 minutes vs. the ‘standard’ flight of two
hours. This was also keeping eighty more dollars in our pockets. I was definitely okay with this.
He blew up our balloon and off we went. Very serene. Very peaceful. And all of a sudden, very foggy. As we ascended, we were
face-to-face with the layers of fog. Alas, there were clear skies and sun. We were now flying above the cloud cover. All we could
see was a thick blanket underneath us. It was like all of those times when I would be in an airplane as a child and wish that they
could open the windows or door so I could feel the clouds. Being on this ride felt as if we were on the outside of an airplane. It
was just awesome. Then as we descended a bit so that we could take in the views of the valleys beneath us, we could see the
shadow that our balloon was casting on the clouds. Another incredible sight.
For the next forty minutes or so, we went up and down seeing the valley both from high and low. The Cappadocia landscape is
just amazing and this was a great way to take in even more of it.
Once we landed, reality sunk in and made me remember something. I had a hangover and I needed some Excedrin Migraine
and breakfast. Luckily none of this ever dawned on me while I was up in the balloon. But now I just wanted to go back to the
hotel and take care of matters. As we were walking to the van to take us back to our hotel, we were then told to turn around and
go back to the balloon.
It was time for the champagne toast.
They actually mixed it with some cherry juice and I have to admit that even in my state, it tasted quite good. We toasted, we
drank, we thanked Pilot Mike, we were issued our certificates and then we were on our way.
By the time I got back to our hotel room and had my water and Excedrin in hand, it was 8am. At the time I would normally just
be waking up, I had experienced one of the coolest things I would do in Turkey, if not one of the coolest things I would do
anywhere, already that morning…
Balloons over the valley.
On the balloon.
A balloon going into the clouds.