Whether to go on a hot-air balloon was actually a difficult decision for me. I knew the experience would be amazing but I couldn’t justify spending that amount of money on an experience that only lasts an hour. That takes a huge chunk of our spending money in what was supposed to be a budget trip in the first few days! My husband was adamant that we go and we treat it as an anniversary gift to ourselves. Fortunately, my husband is often right!
On our second day in Cappadocia we had a ridiculous 3.30am Wake-up call. We had pre-booked our trip through our hotel prior to our arrival. It is essential that you pre-book if you are only there for a short time. Believe it or not, those hundreds of balloons are actually filled to capacity most days. My brother went in winter and almost missed the opportunity to do it as he didn’t prebook (thankfully someone overslept and a spot opened up).
We booked with Urgup Balloon Company (because they were the cheaper of the reliable operators). The transfer was punctual at 4.30 am. The only thing that peeved us off was that the van waited almost 30 min for a family that overslept. I thought we would miss sunrise. Please be considerate to all the people who wake up super early to go on these trips.
We then had “breakfast” at the tour operators HQ. It mostly consisted of very bad coffee and some Simit and other breads.
On arrival to the take-off area, we were greeted by the amazing site of 100s of partially inflated balloons. That is the first time it strikes you just how massive they are. Most baskets take about 16-20 people and are seperated by compartments. If you are dreaming of a romantic trip where its just you and your partner, you will have to charter a balloon. The normal rides are spectacular but definitely not romantic.
You would think it would be freezing but the heat of the balloon keeps you pretty warm. Do dress warmly though and take a string attachment to keep your phone or camera as one constantly feels as if you might drop your device. It was a smooth ride. The balloons are very responsive (due to skilled pilots) and they fly pretty close to mountains.
It was pretty cloudy that day so our pilot took us up to 1000m. The views were amazing and the experience quite surreal.
I don’t regret the experience at all. It was one of the highlights of my trip and definitely something I can tick off the bucket list. I will however add that if you cannot afford the trip, don’t rule out seeing Cappadocia as there is really a lot to experience. You will be able to witness the balloons flying above your hotel if you wake up at sunrise. Or take a walk to the sunset point and watch from there. It is a beautiful sight to behold.
Goreme Open Air Museum
After a long sleep post-ballooning, we took a walk to the open air museum from our hotel. In all honesty, we thought it would be a quick walk but it turned out to be a few kms. So if you not up for the long walk to and fro, get a lift.
The open-air museum has a 25TL (R125) entrance fee and there’s an additional 12TL charge to see the Dark church which has beautiful preserved Frescoes.
These rock monasteries were constructed by early Christians and is quite an amazing site. Without a guide, I have to admit that they became a bit monotonous as you cannot fully appreciate the history but audio-guides are available.
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