Ballon over Cappadocia

Trip Start May 07, 2010
Trip End May 22, 2010

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Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Hi Everyone,

    We arrived at Goreme without much incident. After reading all the horror story on Lonely Planet that people got dropped off unexpectedly in Nevsehir and had no mean of transportation to Goreme except rip-off taxis, I thoroughly mentally prepped myself for the worst. But we arrived in the right place and no Touts except a guy from tourist office whom I mistaken as tout..Oops. The tourist office guys was a bit pissed off at me for mistaken him as tout and refused to talk. Anyway I was able to get enough info out of him to find our tour office.

    After speaking to our tour comapny, we found out the Ballon tour is sold out for tomorrow and today's trip cancelled due to high winds. But luckly, there is a ballon tour available at 845 am and we must book it immediately. So I went for it, despite being tired as heck from overnight bus. We asked a bunch of questions and our tour operator showed me his license- Hmm Russian licensure.... interesting..... he mentioned the Ballon is ver safe and no problem. So he took us to the ballon launching site and we took off after just 20 minutes. The basket of the ballon can hold 24 people. Our basket was filled with French tourist and a family for 6 Turkish Americans who reportedly came from Detroit. The Ballon flight was the BEST/MOST SPECTACULAR thing I did this whole trip. As the Ballon rised, we saw the entire Cappadocia valley with strange stone formations. The veiw was just incredible.

    After an hour flight, we were told to get in the landing position that is duck, and grab on tthe rope. Due to high winds, our ballon operator was forced to land in the middle of the field and he had a very hard time raising the deflated ballon. Well, we sorted of "crash landed". Bunch of people in the ballon were complaining but I thought to myself that the ballon operator did his best not "Crash land" the ballon and it landed safe but on some weird empty field. Anyhow the tour company quickly got a van and car to pick us up. Upon arriving back at tour office, we took our bags to Pashahan Cave hotel to drop off the luggage. We got the nice Cave room with private bath and 3 large beds, TV, private bath all inside a CAVE !!! The hotel owner welcomed us and tried to sell us the ballon ride, but when Angela told him that we already did it, he was more than shocked that we barely arrive to Goreme and did the ballon ride already and at great price :) Efficiency baby :)

    Since we haven't had breakfast, we took the hotel owner's recommendation of a restaurant and tried the Turkish breakfast ans Grozeme pancake again.  We rested a bit in our hotel before we took off to Goreme Open air Museum, the star attraction here.
     Goreme Open air Museum hasa bunch of old cave Christian churches dating back to the 4-5 th century. This was a big Christian retreat. However, since the Ottoman took over and the religion switched to Islam, the local people started destroying the Christian artifacts and wall painting with rocks and stones. The remaining wall painting are not as well preserved as a result, but still spectacular. We took lot of photos of the area. The cave entrance sometimes get filled up with tourist groups complete with French tours, German tours, English tours, Japanese tours and Turkish tours. What amazed me is to see some Turkish tour guide speaking fluent Japanese, wow !!!
    In the afternoon, we walked back to our hotel, took a nap than dinner with clay pot and pide ( meat pizza ).
    At night, I we to the local Turkish hamam, Wow, it was great !!!  The attendant first let me sat in a sauna, the washed me with scrub to see all the dark dead skin I got then foam bath plus message, so comfy .......then he let me swim with a few Turkish friends before I finished for the night.
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