As the hot air balloon slowly gains altitude, I float higher and higher into the red skies. Thousands of magical fairy chimneys poke out into the skyline of Cappadocia where green patches of plantations and red-rose valleys dominate its landscape. It is barely 6am and many other tourists like me have woken before dawn to enjoy this special experience.
Cappadocia is one of the most famous hot air ballooning spots in the world: partly due to its extraordinary and strangely unique landscape and the favorable weather conditions. The balloons can only rise in the early hours of dawn because of the colder temperatures, explaining why flights only occur in the early morning.
By 6am, the sun has already risen. The sky is still dim although radiated in a dark shade of red. I watch sleepily as thousands of balloons rise into the clear skies all at once. As our balloon pilot, Halis, pumps up the heat and gets us ready for the flight, our feet are all itching to take flight.
Soon enough, 18 of us gather into our basket and slowly inch our way up, towards the clear skies. The balloon rises at a languid pace, as we all wow in amazement. At times, the basket gets so close to the pointed tops of the conical-shaped fairy chimneys that we hold our breathes and watch in bewilderment.
At one point, we all gasp out loud as another balloon comes within inches away from us, but our pilot as usual steers us swiftly towards the clear skies. By the time we edge past the colossal cliffs and volcanic rocks, the sun is shining in its full grandeur, casting bright rays upon the landscape below us. The entire patchwork of slopes, valleys and meandering trails all seem to glow under the bright sunshine.
The flight eases slowly and relaxingly, so much so that we barely notice that we are reaching altitudes of almost 3,000m above the ground.
By the end of the flight, our pilot pops a bottle of champagne and celebrates! We all receive our flight certifications, already secretly planning our next hot-air balloon flight.
Address: Kagniyolu Mevkii 50180 Göreme, Nevsehir ; Tel: + 90 532 717 5050/ + 90 384 271 3030
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