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CAPPADOCIA HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE WITH ISTANBUL BALLOONS
If you are in Cappadocia on your 16th birthday, a hot air balloon ride is a must!
This was the case with my daughter so I talked to my friend, Mehmet, at Istanbul Balloons and set up a time to float.
Their breakfast/waiting area is not far from our house in Çavuşin so at 5am we showed up with cameras in hand ready to ride.
The tables were set when all of us arrived for a light breakfast of tea or coffee and poaçalar (breakfast rolls). Once everyone was ready the staff ushered us out to the comfortable minivans and drove us to an open space in Rose Valley where the balloons were being filled. Standing in the last moments of darkness before sunrise we all took pictures of the inflating process.
A few minutes later the balloon was standing tall, we climbed in, listened to the safety instructions, and without warning the basket started moving and then was up in the air.
I have flown a few times and every instance is different. On this day the winds were almost non-existent which meant that we did not cover much ground in the hour we were in the air. But that was not a problem as the light wind was sending us in circles. We went in and out, up and down, and all around Red and Rose valleys. The views were spectacular and the rising sunlight hitting Uçhisar was captivating (we like that word here).
Our pilot took us up to 800 meters to give us a wide view and then we landed near Ortahisar. A few more pictures and a sparkling fruit juice* celebration with nice certificates for all participants ended our time. The vans took us back to our residences, and we were home in time for second breakfast!
We had a wonderful experience with Istanbul Balloons and are excited about their offer of a free Cappadocia hot air balloon ride for one of our readers. This is a 150 Euro value (as of October 2013)!
ISTANBUL BALLOONS FACTSHEET
+ Main office in Göreme
+ Started in 2011
+ Pilots speak Turkish, English, German, and some French
+ Many of their pilots also work as pilot instructors
+ They also offer safari tours through the fairy chimneys & valleys of Cappadocia
+ You can make a reservation at www.Istanbulballoons.com
* Note: Real champagne is not allowed, as I understand it, since none of the balloon companies have liquor licenses. I do not think this was always the case so you may remember having champagne if you went in years past. Maybe others who read this can give clarifying comments below.
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