“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.”
* photo by Rachel Clark – Intrepid Photography Competition