1000m high with a dude named Volkan

Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
Trip End Sep 26, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Turkey  , Cappadocia,
Sunday, September 5, 2010

Ahh yes. The dreaded overnight bus was upon me. Just have to man up. Just get through it. Look at the bigger picture. These were none of the thoughts going through my head. Hah!

Anyways, I digress. It is probably a good thing we left Olympos when we did, it was so relaxing and hanging out by the Mediterranean was the good life for sure. Anyways, leave we dıd, and I soon found myself (rather unfortunately) seated beside an extremely robust woman. What I mean by robust is that her window seat wasn't quite large enough for her and she was messy and spilling out over onto my seat. Folks, these were not small seats if you know what I mean. It wasn't ideal. An entire palm tree worth of coconuts of irony continuously landed on her head all night as she proceeded to complain on a regular basis that I was fidgety and disrupting her sleep. Like I said: not ideal. Anyways, made it through and 12 hours later we pulled into Goreme as the sun was coming up. We were also lucky enough to witness over 50 hot-air balloons rising out of the valley into the sunshine. Quite a sight.

Goreme, which is a small town located in the area known as Cappadocia is a wonderful place and is probably best described by the following word: magical. It is located in a little valley that is cut out of white rock. The rock has been formed into chimney shaped stacks over thousands of years because of wind erosion. Locals commonly refer to these shapes in the rock as fairy chimneys, and I must admit it does make sense. No other phrase would more accurately describe these formations. There are doorways and windows cut into a lot of the rock and houses have been built inside some of these chimneys. It is quite an amazing thing to see. You half expect some hobbits to pop out of one of the holes or a rampaging band of elves on horseback to rumble through town. What a strange and wonderful place.

After some breakfast I decided to go hiking. I spent a good 5 hours wandering around through the valleys and tunnels and into some of the entrances to the rock houses. It was super hot and tiring but definitely worth it. Eventually I walked back for some dinner and enjoyed the cooler night air. Dinner was good then a group of us found our way to a pub for some pool and drinks and shisha.

The next morning was the real highlight of my time here. I woke up at 5:15am. I was going in a hot-air balloon and we had to be up very early to get airborne for the sunrise. Our balloon guy/driver/pilot/captain was named Volkan and he turned out to be quite a character. He also turned out to be quite the magician with his mad skill piloting of our balloon. He took us through valleys and gullies and within inches of the rock walls. We got some amazing views of the scenery and rock formations. He also took us super high up to 1000 metres so we could be one of the first balloons to see the sunrise. It was truly spectacular looking over the valley at the hundred or so balloons all around us and the valleys and rock formations for as far as the eye could see. Watching the sun come up and the light starting to creep over the landscape was stunning. To top it all off, when the balloon ride was over, Volkan managed to set our basket down right on top of the trailer that transports it back. This is noteworthy because the size of the trailer ıs about one inch bigger than the size of the basket. So he literally nailed his landing perfectly. Volkan the guy. Air magician.

A nice glass of bubbly followed after an amazing and successful flight. I headed back to the hotel, tuckered out, but very happy. It was an amazing experience and I'm very glad I went. Well worth it. The rest of the day was spent napping and then puttering about the hotel and playing cards with some people.

I did manage to motivate myself to go get some tasty kebabs for dinner and explore a bit more before leaving. I also had a great find: baklava and ice cream. Treats!

Another dreaded overnight bus tonight. Hoping it goes a little better than the first!

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