Hot Balloon Ride !!

Trip Start Aug 26, 2011
Trip End Sep 04, 2011

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Where I stayed
Suhan Cappadocia
What I did
Hot Balloon Ride

Flag of Turkey  ,
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Today is one of my highlight of the tour, its HOT BALOON RIDE day!! It was actually not in the original itinerary, we need to have an additional U$200 / pax to have a hot balloon ride, since it was a lifetime opportunity we didn't think twice and sign up directly.

We all meet in the lobby on 4.30AM; yes it was THAT early as the objective was to catch the sunrise from the balloon. Compares to the day weather, at that time of the dusk it was FREEZIINGGG, it felt like winter in a hot summer day. We were asked to wear jacket and a hat to protect us from the cold, especially when we already up high in the air.

We got picked up and drove to the meet area; we re-registered our name there and received a pamphlet that shows us some info about the ride, mostly about safety instruction. The place has light breakfast like cookies, coffee and tea; it was too early I could only have a cup of tea.

After we were all set, we got back into the minivan and they drove us to this wide landscape field where we can see many balloons being prepared. The balloon was filled with propane gas; it took around 30min or so to make the balloon in its full form. The balloon can carried 21 people include the pilot; it was like a huge basket with 4 cubical. The trickiest part is to get on the basket where there was no door to access through it, we need to climb (yes like climbing a fence) the basket to get it, it was a challenge for my mom but she made it. Yay mom!

Before the lift off, the pilot briefed us on the safety instruction and what to do during an emergency landing. Then we finally lift off! We went slowly up to the sky, the world started to look smaller as we go higher. The view was breathtaking; I have never imagined I will be on that position looking down to the world which now looks like miniature. No words can describe the beauty of the view.

We floated above these rocks that formed like a cone head, which we later know that it was called Goreme Valley. Later on we finally meet with mr. sunshine, I think it was my first sunrise up in the air, we felt the contrast on the weather once the sun shine its light on us, the warmth of the sun washed away the cold that we had from this morning. It was amazing and so much worth the price.

Funny fact about the balloon was that it can’t land at the same spot of the lift off, once the balloons float up it will follow the wind current, the pilot can only control to get lower or higher. Pre-landing around 10 minutes, the pilot called the ground crew, they were speaking in Turkish and I assumed he told the ground crew where they should pick us up. Minutes later I can see the ground crew cars driving across the field chasing us to keep up when we land.

It was a soft and smooth landing, 2 ground crew cars were there stand by to get us back. I noticed there were also other groups for the next journey on the balloon. We can’t get off the balloon altogether, we need to do it in group of 4 and 'trade’ passengers with the new groups as the balloon need our weight to stay in the ground.

After we were all safely on the land, the crew opened up a bottle of champagne, then I knew that it was a tradition after the landing. I’m not a champagne person, so I mix it with lots of OJ and just zip it down a bit.

We got back in the minivan and they took us back to the hotel, where we straightly got our breakfast as we were starving from the cold!
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