Cappadocia was added to the route plan as it seemed to be a “must see” part of central Turkey, and the map showed “real” campsites. We didn’t actually study it until we were in Polatli: As soon as Clare read about the hot air balloon flights available in Cappadocia she was set on going. “I’ll have it as my birthday present!”. Emails, texts follow, and we’re booked. We have one rest day in Goreme, Cappadocia, then the flight. The reason the flight is not, by definition, on a rest day is, it requires a 4am pickup. Groan….
Anyway, both us and taxi are at the campsite entrance at 04:20. As the activity is fairly expensive, both taxi and then breakfast are included. Soon we’re at the launch site, in a throng of balloons, minibuses, tourists, and great jets of flame.
We’re one of the last to set off, perhaps allowing our pilot to observe the wind directions better. One of the most impressive aspects of the flight is how he manages to take us around almost in a circle.
The baskets is quite big, with two or three of us tourists in each corner compartment, and the pilot in the middle. 11 souls in total.
The photos say more than words can. We expected great views. We didn’t expect the balloon to get so close to the clifftops, fairy chimneys and other things. A passenger from Saudi managed to pluck a leaf from a tree.
The objective when landing is to drop the basket onto the trailer. The pilot controls the height, rotation, and fine X position; the truck driver controls coarse X by snaking and Y. In our case it worked, with an error of perhaps 30cm in Y and 5 degrees of rotation, these corrected by heaves from the ground crew. Once clipped to the trailer, we climbed out, although Clare then fell off the trailer…
#VoyagerBalloons for more info (we got the “deluxe” package as a free upgrade when they consolidated flights; we booked via TurkeyTravelPlanner for an claimed discount).
Dear Clare, dear Gideon, great pictures again and great stories, especially the balloon flight. Hopefully, you do not have to get up that early again. I wish you all the best for the situation in Turkey to settle so you can soon get back on your bikes. Andy from Vienna