Official plan for the day: Weather permitting, your guide will take interested hikers on a scenic walk through a Cappadocia valley. Non-hikers can spend the morning in Mustafapaşa, or ride with our bus driver to the colorful weekly market in the nearby village of Ürgüp. After lunch, we’ll tour the ancient underground city of Kaymaklı — which once included churches, kitchens, metal shops and stables — before returning to our village for an evening on your own.
Entry below and photos are by Mark and Toni Seymour about the hot air balloon ride over the Cappadocian sky. Mark and Toni are from UK and they have been leading Rick Steves tours for a long time. Toni leads France tours and Mark specializes in tours of Great Britain and United Kingdom. Visit Mark’s blog: http://afootinbritain.
At 05:15 am the guides head down to the bus, leaving our warm beds behind us.
This is the big one!
We Rick Steves guides have all been looking forward to our time in Cappadocia, but this day is special. It’s a frosty dark morning and there is a sense of expectation filling the bus as we drive up into the hills.
Finally we arrive.
The sun has begun to light up the horizon. We have all finished a light breakfast and driven further up onto the plateaus of Central Turkey. Our miniature convoy of 3 minibuses turn a corner… And there they are, all lined up and partially inflated.
We have arrived at our destination and the guides are filled with awe at the beautiful sight of 3 hot air balloons slowly falling the dawn sky as they await their cargo of passengers.
We are hurried from the minibuses over to our allotted balloons and stand back in admiration at the spectacular age of the gas burners lighting up the dawn.
The moment arrives and we all climb into our basket.
This day was going to be very special.
Mustafa gave my colleagues and I, in balloon number 2, some brief safety instructions as our ‘Butterfly’ balloon kissed its twin on the way up. Slowly, however, the 3 aircraft began to drift freely over the rugged but intriguing plateau, beneath.
In my basket, Toni, Nina, Sarah, Mert, Cary, Virginie and Etelke looked at each other with that look that humans share when they experience the unimaginable…. It was amazing!
But it was peaceful. The sky was clear and we could see Mt. Argeus in the distance. The cave dwellings and villages littered the ground beneath us, and momentarily we saw a white tailed fox dash into one of the rock crevices.