cappadocia window seat

turkey balloon“I was on cloud nine in Cappadocia!”, is how Melissa Grima describes her sky high adventure in Turkey

“For years I’ve had a list of things in my head that I have always wanted to do, and through my travels I am gradually realising my dreams. From scuba diving in the Red Sea, to walking over the Sydney Harbour Bridge and rock climbing in Southern China. The next must-do was hot air ballooning.

A countryside blessed with mind-blowing natural scenery, Cappadocia is the perfect stage for a hot air balloon ride. We assembled in a field at 5.30am and whilst the balloon was being inflated, we were given our boarding instructions by Lars, our trusty pilot who is ranked amongst the top ten most experienced balloon pilots in the world. This is a non-smoking flight, all seats are first class and everyone has a window seat!

The landscape of Cappadocia was created from volcanic matter that, over millennia, has been shaped and eroded into amazing rock formations and deep valleys. Slowly we ascended high above fertile fields, ancient churches, cave houses and weird and wonderful rock formations. We floated over mushroom-shaped stones and the famous fairy chimneys. The colours were fantastic, hues of terracotta, yellow and shimmering white. Lars put on a spectacular show, taking us high into the sky for an unbeatable view of the valleys below, then bringing us down so that we were hovering just above houses built into rock.

We waved to some of the group who chose breakfast over ballooning, as they ate on our hotel roof-top restaurant. We greeted locals on their balconies and caught strawberries that a farmer tossed up to us from his field. It was such an incredible experience that when we landed two hours later, I still felt I was floating on cloud nine. Back on solid ground we celebrated our flight with champagne, like we needed the extra feel good factor, but it was the perfect ending to a perfect morning and the perfect 30th birthday gift to myself.”

Tour Turkey with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Comfort Turkey – 15 days
Turkish Delights – 15 days

* photo by Rachel Clark – Intrepid Photography Competition

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Sally Macfarlane / Reply

This was on eof the most exhilarating experiences I’ve ever had. We did it in winter when the area was covered in a light snow. It was truly amazing.

You can also go balooning in Yangshuo in China. One of the best days of my Roam China trip – sailing over the kasts and landscapes just like in a Chinese painting!'

Thanks for your insight into ballooning in Cappadocia. My husband and I are doing the trip Istanbul to Cairo in October – November. I have read about it and heard about it at the information evening held in the Carlton Intrepid Store . Like you I have had ballooning on my list for some time. I am sold, can’t wait. Watch this space when we get back late November'

I was there May 2007 and have some amazing photos of the Cappadocia valleys.
Lars was our trusrty pilot. He took us down to drift thru the valley with valley walls above us and other balloons directly above us. We spotted an owl purched on rocks and Lars took us so close that you could reach out to touch it.I was amazed how Lars could turn and direct the balloon.
The best was left to last when Lars landed the balloon basket onto the support vehicles trailer.
Cappadocia rock formation,we named it as penis valley for observious reasons.
I would recommend that if you go to Cappadocia,you must go with Lars and his balloon company.He does his home work each day to provide the best of his customers.I have been on other balloon flights and this is great.
“Truely amazing”

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