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Hot air ballooning in Cappadocia

Up, up and away… ever fancied going up in a hot air balloon?

Well, if you ever find yourself in Cappadocia – I’d definitely recommend you do it there!

Cappadocia is in Turkey and is part of the Anatolia region. It is famous for it’s underground towns, rock houses and strange ‘fairy chimney’ rock formations. This strange landscape has formed over millennia as the softer volcanic rock has been eroded away to leave hundreds of spectacular rock pillars.

Over the centuries people carved whole towns out of the soft rock – even churches and monasteries.

The Goreme National Park is one of the best places to go and see this strange, but beautiful, landscape. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

I took my balloon flight over Cappadocia whilst I was staying in Goreme a few years ago.

The night before I’d been to an amazing cultural performance with dancing, food, beer, wine, and raki – a little too much raki judging by the fact that I got up and danced with the belly dancer, and tried to get a date with a Korean guide who lived in Instanbul!

Anyway enough of that… I mention this purely as a cautionary tale for any budding balloonists, you will have to get up very early for you balloon trip. So go easy the night before!

If you do manage to wake up on the morning of your balloon flight you’ll be picked up in a minibus and driven out to the take-off point. There will probably be quite a lot of other people around as ballooning is big business around Goreme. There must have been about 35 balloons go up when I was there. It was very interesting to watch the balloons and baskets being unloaded and then filled with hot air using the gas burners.

We were soon in the basket and airborne. I have done this before – over the Sonora Desert in Arizona, but this was far better and more balloons. There was a beautiful morning light and the fairy chimneys and landscape below looked amazing.

This experience was all the sweeter because I’d saved about $50 by shopping around for the cheapest deal in Goreme a couple of days before.

Here are a few photographs of this amazing hot air balloon trip over Cappadocia’s fairy chimney landscape.

Here are some more photographs of hot air ballooning near Goreme, Cappadocia, Turkey:

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Your pics and stories are just WOW, it inspires me to do something worthwhile with my 1000s of travel pictures. The places you travel to are so different to the run-of-the-mill destinations.

I also did a hot air ballooing trip in Goreme in Sept/Oct 2010, one of the most joy-bringing experiences I’ve had so far. Unfortunately we had a bit of an overcast day, which made for less amazing pics than yours. What a magical place!

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